Contact Us 24/7 for Fast and Reliable Plumbing Services

Ask John Water Heater Main Image
Ask John Water Heater Main Image

What Temperature Should I Set My Water Heater To?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Learn How Hot You Should Set Your Water Heater To

How many times is it now that you’ve accidentally burned yourself when you turn on your hot water? It sucks if this keeps happening, so you should probably check your water heater as soon as possible and see if something’s wrong with it.

Not that this automatically means that something’s wrong with the water heater. You might just have to adjust the water heater temperature setting. Maybe you set it too high, so the water isn’t hot but scalding instead. The question is, “What temperature should the water heater be set on? Read on to find out.

Don't get burned by excessive hot water heater settings
This article discusses the ideal temperature for your hot water heater.

What Temperature Should the Water Heater Be Set To?

Most manufacturers set water heaters at the recommended temperature between 120 and 140°F. Setting the temp at 120 degrees helps you save on costs and prevent scalding, which is what most people follow. But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises to set the water heater to at least 122 degrees.

This is to help prevent harmful bacteria from growing. However, keep in mind that this is only a general recommendation. Deciding the temperature you what to set your water heater to depends on various factors, such as safety, energy efficiency, and cost. We’ll tell you more about these factors in the rest of the article.

How to Decide the Right Temperature for Your Water Heater

Deciding on how hot your water heater temperature should be depends on various factors. Some of these factors include your personal preferences, the climate in your area, the type of water heater you have, and the needs of your household. If you’re still wondering about “What temperature should I set my water heater to?” here are some guidelines that can help you:

Check the Manufacturer’s Recommendations

Your water heater’s user manual or manufacturer’s website may recommend the ideal temperature setting. If you’re unsure about the general recommended temperature, you can consult either of the two, which offers information based on the make and model of your unit.

Consider Safety

Setting your water heater too high can be dangerous, especially if you have young children or elderly individuals. They may be more susceptible to burns, so setting the water heater’s temperature too high is not ideal. We suggest following the recommended maximum temperature for household water heaters, typically 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Energy Efficiency

Lowering the temperature on your water heater can also help reduce your energy bills. According to the Department of Energy, water heaters set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit can help you save up to 10% of your energy costs. This makes energy efficiency a big consideration for households shopping for water heaters.

Hot Water Needs

Of course, your household’s hot water needs are a big factor to consider when deciding the right temperature to set your water heater to. If you have a large home with high hot water usage, you’ll want to set the water heater temperature higher to meet your needs. But a lower temperature may be sufficient if you live alone or with a partner.

Get the most out of your hot water heater
Factors to consider when setting your hot water heater temperature.

Benefits of Setting Your Water Heater Hot

As mentioned before, setting your water heater too hot can be dangerous. But, there are some notable benefits to setting the water heater within the recommended temperature range. If you do, you have the advantage of:

Reduced Bacteria Growth

Water that is too cold encourages the growth of harmful bacteria like Legionella. Setting your water heater to a safe and appropriate temperature can reduce the risk of bacteria growth and protect your health.

Improved Hot Water Supply

Setting your water heater to the appropriate temperature can help ensure that you have enough hot water for your household’s needs. This is particularly important if you have a high hot water usage or have a large family.

Saved Energy and Money

Lowering the temperature on your water heater can help reduce your energy bills. As we said before, it can help you save up to 10% of your energy costs.

Extended Lifespan of Water Heater

Setting the water heater to an appropriate temperature can help prevent the buildup of sediment and other minerals. They damage your unit over time, but with less chance of them occurring due to high hot water setting, you can extend the life of your water heater.

Overall, finding a temperature that balances your safety and comfort while also being efficient is important. There are several factors to consider, but the answer to the question, “What temperature setting should the water heater be?” it’s between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, discusses the most ideal settings for your hot water heater.

Setting Water Heater Temperature

If you’re unsure how to set your water heater’s temperature, don’t worry because it’s easy. Setting the water heater’s temperature depends on the type of water heater you have. The process varies slightly based on the type, make, and model of the water heater. However, the general steps are as follows:

1. Turn Off the Power Supply

Before adjusting the temperature, turn off the power supply to the water heater. If you have electrical water heaters, you must turn off the circuit breaker. If you have gas water heaters, you need to turn off the gas valve.

2. Locate the Temperature Control

You will usually find the temperature control on the front of the water heater, near the bottom.

3. Adjust the Temperature

Use a flathead screwdriver, or the temperature adjustment dial to set the temperature. Keep in mind the factors mentioned earlier, such as safety, energy efficiency, and your hot water needs. You can also follow the general recommendation of setting the water heater temperature between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Turn the Power Back On

Once you have set the temperature, turn the power back on by switching the circuit breaker or turning the gas valve on.

5. Wait for the Water to Heat Up

The water may take several hours to reach the new water heater temperature setting, so be patient. You can check the temperature at the tap with a thermometer to know how hot the water is already.

It is important to note that some water heaters may require a professional plumber to adjust the temperature. If you’re uncomfortable with changing the temperature yourself, it’s best to seek the help of a professional.

Selecting the right temperature
How to set the hot water heater temperature.

Water Heater Settings FAQs

Can setting my water heater to a lower temperature save me money on my energy bills?

Yes, setting your water heater to a lower temperature can help you save money on your energy bills by reducing your energy consumption. But then this means you will have to deal with a little less warm water for your everyday use.

Will setting my water heater to a lower temperature reduce its lifespan?

No. Setting your water heater to a lower temperature won’t reduce its lifespan. It can help extend your water heater’s lifespan by reducing the risk of damage from overheating. If you can handle slightly less warm water, lowering the temperature to extend the water heater’s lifespan is a good idea.

How do I adjust the temperature of my water heater?

How to adjust your water heater’s temperature depends on its make and model. You should check the manufacturer’s instructions or consult a professional if you are unsure how to adjust the temperature of your water heater.

Hire a Local Plumbing Pro

Ultimately, it’s best to experiment with different water heater temperature settings to find what’s best for your household. Just adjust the temperature gradually and remember that unusual fluctuations are a good indicator you should consider scheduling an inspection with a plumbing professional.

Get a Quote

Let’s connect you to a top-tier local service professional

Contact Us Today for a Quote

or Call (833) 933-1722

Thank You!

Your project has been sent to a top-tier local service provider who’ll be in touch soon to take the next steps.

or Call (833) 933-1722