For many people, there's nothing like a hot shower in the morning. Even though that might be a fantastic way to wake up and start the day, experts say it’s possible to set your water too hot.

Setting your water heater to a temperature that’s scorching can throw away energy and cost you money. It also can create a safety concern for members of your family. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can enable growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not provide adequate hot water for your dwelling.

So, what temperature is ideal for your water heater? Below, we’ll determine the most effective temperature to use, when there could be justification to set it a little higher and how hot is too hot for your personal water heater.

What Is the Most Efficient Temperature for a Water Heater?

Although many manufacturers advise setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more efficient temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Industry experts say 120 degrees hits the right balance between safety and energy consumption.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that setting a home water heater temperature at 120 degrees could save roughly 22 percent on energy bills. Energy waste is a frequent 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 forever heating a tank brimming with super-hot water.

What's the Right Temperature for My Hot Water?

More often than not, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is an effective yet cost-saving setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is heated enough to meet the requirements of most members of the household, but not so hot that it could cause burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer alternative, especially in homes with younger children or elderly individuals. Lower temperatures also minimize mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

Can I Raise My Water Temperature Hotter Than 120 Degrees?

While many plumbing and heating experts say 120 degrees is the ideal water heater temperature if you’re wanting 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 helpful in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or worsen certain health conditions. This also may be useful if you know your home has trouble with bacteria, or if any residents of the house are immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home is inclined to use a large volume of hot water all at once—showering while also running the dishwasher and washing machine, for example—a hotter water heater temperature may be necessary to make sure there’s sufficient hot water for everyone.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is an older model and doesn’t heat water on its own, it may be necessary to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work correctly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

Although some people like their water exceptionally 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. Energy officials say any temperature hotter than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a residential dwelling. At 150 degrees, which is regarded as way too hot, it takes only seconds for the water to cause 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 Classic Air for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Columbus

Water heaters can sometimes feel a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable technicians at Classic Air know these appliances extremely well. They’ve serviced many brands and models of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Columbus.

We also offer water heater replacement, so contact us at 614-210-3041 if you suspect you need water heater installation in Columbus. We are happy to check out your system and provide a no-cost estimate!