For many people, there's nothing like a hot shower to get the morning started. While that may just be a fantastic 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 above the recommended degree can waste electricity and cost you money. It also can cause a safety concern for members of your family. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can allow growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not provide enough hot water for your household.

So, what temp is ideal 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 Temperature for my Water Heater Is the Most Energy Efficient?

Although many manufacturers encourage setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more efficient temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Experts say 120 degrees strikes 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 energy costs. Energy waste is a frequent challenge for water heaters because traditional tank models continuously heat a tank of water in case it is required. If you have the water heater temperature set too high, your water heater is constantly heating a tank full of extremely hot water.

What's the Right Temperature for My Hot Water?

More often than not, 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 desires of most residents, but not so hot that it could cause burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer option, especially in homes with younger children or elderly men and women. Lower temperatures also minimize mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacement.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Higher Than 120 Degrees?

While many energy experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re trying to save money, is it acceptable to set it higher? Apart from personal preference, there are a couple of different scenarios where it could be a good idea 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 worsen certain health conditions. This also may be useful if you know your home has an issue with bacteria, or if any members of the household have a compromised immune system.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined to use a significant amount of hot water simultaneously—showering while also running the dishwasher and washing machine, for example—a higher water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s enough hot water for everyone.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is an older model and doesn’t heat water itself, it may be necessary to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work correctly.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

While some people like their water quite 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 hotter than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residence. At 150 degrees, which is regarded as 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 especially unsafe in households with children or the elderly.

Call Everest Heating & Cooling for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Lansing

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the qualified pros at Everest Heating & Cooling know these appliances extremely well. They’ve serviced many brands and models of water heaters over the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Lansing.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so call us at 913-845-9463 if you suspect you need water heater installation in Lansing. We are happy to take a look at your system and provide a no-cost estimate!