For quite a few people, there’s nothing like a hot shower to start the day. Even though that may be a great way to wake up and start the day, experts say you should be careful not to set your water too hot.

Setting your water heater to a temperature that’s above the recommended degree can waste power and cost you money. It also can pose a safety challenge for members of your household. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply adequate hot water for your household.

So, what number should you set your water heater? In this article, we’ll determine the most effective temperature to use, when there could be reason to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your personal water heater.

What Temperature for my Water Heater Is the Most Energy Efficient?

Although many manufacturers encourage setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a better temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say 120 degrees strikes the right balance between safety and energy usage.

The U.S. Department of Energy states that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on energy costs. Energy waste is a frequent challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models continuously heat a tank of water in case it is demanded. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is forever heating a tank full of very hot water.

What’s the Right Temperature for My Hot Water?

More often than not, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is a good setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is heated enough to meet the desires of most residents, but not so hot there’s a danger of burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer option, especially in homes with younger children or elderly men and women. Lower temperatures also minimize mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacement.

Should You Ever Set Your Water Temperature Hotter Than 120 Degrees?

While many plumbing and heating experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it OK to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are some situations where it could be wise to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Higher water temperatures can be a good way to eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause or aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be helpful if you know your home has trouble with bacteria, or if any members of the household are sick.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined to use a lot of hot water simultaneously—showering while also running the dishwasher and washing machine, for example—a greater water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s sufficient hot water to go around.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is old and doesn’t heat water on its own, you may need to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work properly.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

While some people like their water exceptionally hot or like to blend hot and cold water to create their perfect water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Plumbing and heating specialists say any temperature higher than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residence. At 150 degrees, which is considered way too hot, it takes just seconds for the water to lead to third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is considered very unsafe in homes with children or the elderly.

Call Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc. for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Sussex County

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the skilled specialists at Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc. know these appliances extremely well. They’ve fixed many brands and designs of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to tackle your water heater repair in Sussex County.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so give us a call at 862-345-6896 if you think you need water heater installation in Sussex County. We are happy to take a look at your system and produce a complimentary estimate!