For quite a few people, there's nothing like a hot shower to get the morning started. While that may be a great way to wake up and start the day, experts say you should be careful not to set your water too hot.

Setting your water heater to a temperature that’s too hot can squander electricity and cost you money. It also can create a safety issue for members of your residence. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply enough hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temp should you set your water heater? In this article, we’ll establish the most cost-effective temperature to use, when there could be reason to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your home's water heater.

What Is the Most Efficient Temperature for a Water Heater?

Although many brands encourage setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more economical temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say 120 degrees strikes the right balance between safety and energy use.

The U.S. Department of Energy states that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save up to 22 percent on energy costs. Energy waste is especially a challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models continuously heat a tank of water in case it is demanded. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is consistently heating a tank filled to the brim with super-hot water.

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

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 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 alternative, especially in homes with younger children or elderly men and women. Cooler temperatures also decrease 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 plumbing and heating experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it OK to set it higher? In addition to personal preference, there are a few circumstances where it could make sense to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Higher water temperatures can be beneficial in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be recommended if you know your home has an issue with bacteria, or if any residents of the house are immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined 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 sufficient hot water for all the household's needs.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is an older model and doesn’t heat water on its own, you may have to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work effectively.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

Although some people like their water quite hot or like to blend hot and cold water to achieve their ideal water temperature, there is such a thing as water that is too hot. Plumbing and heating specialists say any temperature higher than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residential dwelling. At 150 degrees, which is definitely way too hot, it takes a few seconds for the water to lead to third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is considered very dangerous in residences with children or the elderly.

Call Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Des Moines

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the qualified pros at Kohles & Bach Heating & Cooling know these appliances extremely well. They’ve repaired many brands and designs of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Des Moines.

We also offer water heater replacement, so call us at [[phone]] if you think you need water heater installation in Des Moines. We are happy to examine your system and provide a free estimate!