For many people, there's nothing like a hot shower to get the morning started. While that may just be a great 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 issue for members of your residence. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can permit growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply adequate hot water for your household.

So, what temperature is the right one 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 home's water heater.

What Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

Although many companies suggest setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a better temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Industry experts say 120 degrees hits 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 a home's utility bills. Energy waste is a particular challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models continuously 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 brimming 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 heated enough to meet the needs of most members of the household, but not so hot there's a danger of burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer option, especially in homes with small children or elderly men and women. Reduced temperatures also minimize mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

Should You Ever Set Your Water Temperature Higher 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 OK to set it higher? Apart from personal preference, there are a few circumstances where it could be wise 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 worsen certain health conditions. This also may be useful 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 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 adequate 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 correctly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

Even though some people like their water extremely hot or prefer 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 above 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residence. 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 dangerous in homes with children or the elderly.

Call B & B Heating & Cooling for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Florissant and St. Charles

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the skilled pros at B & B Heating & Cooling know these appliances like the back of their hands. They’ve repaired many brands and designs of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to tackle your water heater repair in Florissant and St. Charles.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so call us at 314-325-7552 if you suspect you need water heater installation in Florissant and St. Charles. We are happy to take a look at your system and produce a no-cost estimate!