Water Heater Temperature: How Hot Should It Be?
- Water Heaters
No one likes a cold shower, but no one likes a shower that’s too hot, either. However, there’s more to properly setting your water heater temperature than staying comfortable and safe. There’s debate on just how hot your water should be. A lower (yet still comfortable) temperature can help you save money among other benefits, but the default temperature is useful is killing certain bacteria. Let the experts at Water Heaters Now tell you about how your water heater’s temperature can greatly affect your home.
First, how do I adjust my water heater temperature?
Depending on your water heater’s type and model, the interface for changing the temperature will be different. Luckily, they all tend to be relatively similar. As an example, most newer electric and gas models have their thermostat behind an insulated access panel. Keep in mind that electric models have a thermostat at the top and another at the bottom of the tank. As for tankless models, they tend to have a display featuring a temperature readout and controls for it. Whatever model you have, make sure to test your water’s temperature before making any changes. To do this, turn on the water, let it run until it’s fully hot, and then hold a thermometer under the water to get a reading.
How hot should it be?
There are two main schools of thought on water heater temperature: 120°F or 140°F, which is the default temperature. According to the US Department of Energy, 120°F is the best setting for your water heater. The main reason for this is that 120°F isn’t enough to cause scalding unless you’re exposed to it for a minute. It’s especially useful in homes with young children or seniors, who are more vulnerable to scalding. Other benefits of 120°F is using less energy for heating water (good for the environment and your wallet) and minimizing the effects of hard water. Don’t set it any lower, however, or you risk facing bacterial growth.
However, OSHA suggests that 140° is preferable for bacterial safety. While most bacteria can’t survive 120°F, Legionnaire’s disease bacteria, which can cause a serious pneumonia-like sickness, is more resistant to heat. LD is more likely to show up in older water systems and water storage systems that let water stagnate outside or for long times.
Overall, we’d suggest turning your water down to 120°F for the overall benefits. However, if you know your system is prone to LD bacteria or you have a sensitive or compromised immune system, keep it at 140°. If you have the risk of LD and young or old family members, stick to 140°F, but install an anti-scald device. However, what if your water heater isn’t hot enough, no matter how you set the thermostat? Call us to arrange a replacement!
Why should I choose Water Heaters Now for my new water heater?
At Water Heaters Now, we’ve spent over a decade helping people with their water heaters. Since day one, we’ve followed a simple philosophy of specializing in water heaters. By doing this, we home to become the local expert in a single topic instead of a master-of-none. Call Water Heaters Now if you want to learn more about water heaters or arrange an appointment!