AugerPros Plumbing Blog

What Temperature Should a Water Heater Be Set At?

No one likes to get burnt by scalding hot water -Heck, I’d almost rather get hit by a blast of cold water. Do you wonder what temperature your water heater should be set at? Are you unable to get a Goldilocks”just right” water temperature, no matter how high you turn up the faucets? Your water heater may be operating perfectly, but your selected temperature may not be right for your needs. A water heater that’s set improperly can have a broadly-reaching impact on your life, including in ways that aren’t expressly related to your plumbing. Your water heater accounts for about 18 percent of your home’s energy bill. If your water heater is set too high, you will be paying more than you should with your energy bill each month. On the opposite side, if your water heater is set too low your water may not get hot enough or worse, be at risk of growing bacteria such as Legionella. Don’t set your water heater to anything below 120 degrees, as diseases can develop in the stagnant water inside the water heater which are quite dangerous.

How do you make a decision on what to set your temperature when there are so many negative factors if it isn’t just the magic number? There is no set or straightforward answer, and some of it does indeed come down to personal preference. But Auger Pros Plumbing has a few tips that can help you decide what’s best for your household.

What does the EPA recommend?

The EPA recommends 120 degrees because it’s hot enough to keep diseases at bay, it’s not hot enough to cause scalding and it will supply enough hot water for most small families and is relatively energy-efficient. But, you may want to consider some other factors as well.

Do You Have an Energy-Efficient Appliance?

These days, Pre-heating dishwashers are the new trend. Their systems take in water and then raise the temperature to even higher levels for a more sanitary clean, and they do so without requiring you to increase the temperature coming from your water heater. We strongly recommend looking for a dishwasher that has a pre-heat system in it the next time you’re looking to upgrade. However, if that won’t be for quite some time, you may want to bump your water heater temperature up to 140 degrees. This will keep the water sanitary for your dishwasher and still remain safe to use for most of your family members, provided you also use enough cold water to balance it out.

Do you Have Elderly Or Small Children in Your Household?

Elderly homeowners or those with small children may want to keep the temperature at the EPA-recommended 120 degrees. It takes just two seconds for a child or elderly adult to receive third-degree burns from water that is 150 degrees and five seconds if it is 140 degrees, the standard temperatures at which water heaters often leave the factory.

Are there immunocompromised people in the house?

Those who suffer from suppressed immune systems or who deal with respiratory diseases may want a hotter water temperature to kill off bacteria and create a higher concentration of steam in the air when showering. For these populations, as long as there are no younger children or elderly in the house, we recommend a water temperature of no higher than 140 degrees.

Are there many people with different preferences in the home?

Everyone fine-tunes their shower preferences with the hot and cold water knobs. We all know to adjust the hot/cold water ratio till you are in bliss. However, the temperature of the water that comes out of your water heater will also influence this. If the water that comes out of your heater is hotter, people will need less of it and more cold water to reach their ideal temperature. For cooler water heaters, people will need more hot water and less cold water to reach their perfect goal temperature.

This means that those who set their water temperature lower will also tend to run out of hot water faster. If you have a large home with several people living there, you should set your water temperature higher to make your hot water supply last longer. Smaller homes with fewer people living there can get away with a lower temperature, as they’re less likely to run out due to excess water usage.

Still unsure? Set it at 120 degrees, to begin with and increase the temperature in small increments until you find the perfect shower temperature.

What’s Your Current Temperature Setting?

You can find your current temperature setting by looking at the dial on the water heater (if equipped) or taking a temperature reading from the faucet. Turn on the hot water tap and allow it to run for a few minutes before taking the temperature.

Maybe you are experiencing temperature regulating issues no matter what you set the dial to. If you need help , call Auger Pros Plumbing at (214) 206-6580.