For lots of people, there's nothing like a hot shower to start the day. Even though that might 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 above the recommended degree can squander energy and cost you money. It also can pose a safety issue for members of your household. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can enable growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not provide adequate hot water for your dwelling.

So, what number is ideal for your water heater? Here, we’ll establish the most cost-effective temperature to use, when there could be justification to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your personal water heater.

What Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

Although many companies suggest 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 reports that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on energy bills. Energy waste is a particular challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models always heat a tank of water in case it is demanded. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is constantly heating a tank filled to the brim with super-hot water.

What's the Right Temperature for My Hot Water?

In many instances, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is the right setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is warm enough to meet the desires of most homes, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer choice, especially in homes with small children or elderly men and women. Lower temperatures also decrease mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacement.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the preferred water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? Apart from personal preference, there are a couple of different circumstances where it could be a good idea to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Higher water temperatures can be helpful in eliminating 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 immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home has a tendency to use a lot 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 all the household's needs.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is getting up there in years and doesn’t heat water itself, you may need to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work effectively.

What Temperature Is Too High?

Even though some people like their water very hot or prefer to 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 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 especially unsafe in households with children or the elderly.

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

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the skilled specialists at Fire & Ice HVAC know these appliances inside and out. They’ve repaired many brands and styles of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Manassas.

We also offer water heater replacement, so contact us at [[phone]] if you think you need water heater installation in Manassas. We are happy to take a look at your system and produce a no-cost estimate!