For quite a few people, there's nothing like a hot shower to start the day. Even though that may be a fantastic 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 energy and cost you money. It also can cause a safety challenge for members of your family. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not produce sufficient hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temp should you set your water heater? Below, 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 manufacturers suggest setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more efficient temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Industry 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 bills. Energy waste is a particular 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 consistently 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 hot enough to meet the requirements of most homes, but not so hot there's a danger of burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer option, especially in homes with young children or elderly men and women. 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 industry experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re trying to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are some scenarios where it could be a good idea to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Increased water temperatures can be helpful in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or exacerbate certain health conditions. This also may be helpful if you know your home has a problem with bacteria, or if any residents of the house are sick.
  • High usage: If your home has a tendency to use a large volume 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 for everyone.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is getting up there in years and doesn’t heat water as part of its process, it may be necessary to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work correctly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

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

Call Dave's Diversified Services for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Front Royal

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable pros at Dave's Diversified Services know these appliances extremely well. They’ve fixed many brands and models of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Front Royal.

We also offer water heater replacement, so give us a call at 540-636-3396 if you believe you need water heater installation in Front Royal. We are happy to examine your system and produce a no-cost estimate!