For quite a few people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to start the day. Although that may be a perfect way to wake up and start the day, experts say you can set your water too hot.

Setting your water heater to a temperature that’s scorching can squander electricity and cost you money. It also can create a safety challenge for members of your home. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not provide adequate hot water for your property.

So, what number should you set your water heater? Here, we’ll identify the most effective temperature to use, when there could be cause 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 companies encourage setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more economical temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say 120 degrees provides the right balance between safety and energy usage.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save approximately 22 percent on a home's utility bills. Energy waste is a frequent challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models always heat a tank of water in case it is needed. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is constantly heating a tank brimming with very hot water.

So What Temperature Should My Hot Water Be?

More often than not, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is the right setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is heated enough to meet the needs of most homes, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer choice, especially in homes with young children or elderly individuals. Reduced temperatures also cut down on mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

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

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it alright to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are a few situations where it could make sense to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Increased water temperatures can be beneficial in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be practical if you know your home has an issue with bacteria, or if any residents of the house have a compromised immune system.
  • High usage: If your home tends to use a significant amount of hot water at the same time—showering while also running the dishwasher and washing machine, for example—a higher water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s enough hot water for everyone.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is old and doesn’t heat water as part of its process, you may need to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work properly.

What Temperature Is Too High?

Although some people like their water exceptionally hot or would rather blend hot and cold water to obtain their desired water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Plumbing and heating specialists say any temperature hotter than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residential dwelling. At 150 degrees, which is definitely way too hot, it takes just seconds for the water to cause third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is especially unsafe in households with children or the elderly.

Call Fire & Ice HVAC for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Manassas

Water heaters can be a little mysterious, but the skilled specialists at Fire & Ice HVAC know these appliances extremely well. They’ve fixed many brands and models of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Manassas.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so reach out to us at 703-595-4157 if you think you need water heater installation in Manassas. We are happy to take a look at your system and provide a free estimate!