Technician performing water heater service

For many people, nothing feels quite as good as a hot shower in the morning. Even though that might 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 above the recommended degree can throw away energy and cost you money. It also can cause a safety challenge for members of your home. 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 household.

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

What Temperature for my Water Heater Is the Most Energy Efficient?

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

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

What Temperature Should I Set My Hot Water To?

In most cases, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is a good setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is warm enough to meet the needs of most homes, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer choice, especially in homes with younger children or elderly people. Lower temperatures also cut down on mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need to be replaced with a new one.

Can I Set My Water Temperature Hotter Than 120 Degrees?

While many industry experts say 120 degrees is the best water heater temperature if you’re looking to save money, is it OK to set it higher? Beyond personal preference, there are a couple of different situations where it could be wise to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Increased water temperatures can be helpful in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be recommended if you know your home has a problem with bacteria, or if any residents of the house are sick.
  • High usage: If your home has a tendency 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 to go around.
  • 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 properly.

What Temperature Is Too Hot for my Hot Water Heater?

While some people like their water extremely hot or would rather 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 hotter than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a home. At 150 degrees, which is definitely way too hot, it takes just seconds for the water to create third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is especially hazardous in homes with children or the elderly.

Call Bishop’s HVAC for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Sacramento

Water heaters can be a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable pros at Bishop’s HVAC know these appliances inside and out. They’ve serviced many brands and designs of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to take care of your water heater repair in Sacramento.

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