What Is the Best Temperature for a Water Heater?

best water heater temp

Although there are many recommendations about the right temperature to set your water heater, the truth is more complicated. Here are a few scenarios in which you might want to turn your water heater’s temperature down or up.

Turning Down the Temperature for Energy Efficiency

If you have a water heater with a tank, you are paying to keep the water in the tank hot around the clock. Even at 3 a.m., when everyone in the house is fast asleep, your hot water heater is warming the water for your use. You can save a little energy and money by decreasing the water heater’s burden. The standard temperature for many water heaters is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you drop the temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, energy experts claim that you could potentially save hundreds of dollars in a lower energy consumption.

Avoiding Burns for Vulnerable People

Saving energy and money is not the only reason you could consider dropping the temperature on your water heater. When your water heater is set to 140 degrees, the hottest water that could come through your tap may be very close to that. Some of the heat is lost through the pipes as it travels to the tap, but the vast majority of the heat arrives intact. Vulnerable people, especially children, are susceptible to scalding burns from water that is too hot. If you turn down the temperature of the water, you reduce your risk. You can also install scald-prevention devices on faucets and showerheads to make it easier for small hands, or anyone who struggles with motor coordination, to use a faucet without burning themselves.

Turning Up the Temperature for Sanitation

Of course, there are also reasons that you may want to keep the temperature at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria love a warm place to grow. If the water gets too hot, the bacteria will die. A water heater set to 120 degrees may be just fine for most people. However, if you have a compromised immune system or are prone to respiratory conditions, you should consider setting the temperature higher than 120. Bacteria, such as the strains that cause Legionnaire’s Disease, thrive in water with a temperature less than 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Your dishwasher also needs a higher temperature to fully clean and sanitize your dishes. If your dishwasher model does not have the ability to increase the water temperature, you should keep the water heater temperature between 130-140 degrees for proper cleaning.

It turns out that the correct temperature for your water heater is somewhat subjective. If you have a lot of children in the house, you could turn it down to 120 with some benefit. If you suffer from respiratory problems, a higher temperature could help to protect you from certain diseases. To get expert advice on the use of your water heater, contact Ace Plumbing for professional water heater repair and maintenance.