When you install a hot water heater in your home, the unit will usually be placed at a specific temperature that’s dictated by the manufacturer. However, just because your water heater is installed at a certain temperature doesn’t mean you can’t change it.

Is your water temperature making you uncomfortable? Maybe the water is too hot, and you scold your skin every time you wash your hands. But, on the other hand, perhaps the water is too cold — leaving much to be desired.

It can be helpful to know the recommended water heater temperature for homeowners so that you can adjust it as you see fit. Below, we’ll discuss what temperature a water heater should be at and how you can go about adjusting the temperature setting.

What Is the Recommended Water Heater Temperature?

There are a few conflicting options regarding the recommended water heater temperature. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to set your water heater between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the maximum temperature for a hot water heater? In most cases, you’ll find that these important plumbing fixtures won’t exceed 140 degrees. It’s also worth noting that 140 degrees tends to be the most common default setting.

Of course, as we mentioned above, you don’t have to leave your water heater in the setting it came with. In fact, there are some instances where you might find that lowering the temperature is the best decision for you and your needs.

How to Find the Best Temperature for Your Water Heater

Now that you have a general idea of what temperature a water heater should be set at, it’s time to find the right setting for your water heating needs. There are some cases where a lower temperature might be the best solution. However, there are also some circumstances where a higher temperature might be the safest and most appropriate option for your household.

140 Degrees

In general, 140 degrees is the recommended water heater temperature in a household where someone has a compromised immune system. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has said in the past that water temperatures below 120 degrees Fahrenheit can pose a risk for bacterial growth, such as Legionella.

Although there are various benefits to setting your water heater at a higher temperature, there are also some concerns worth noting. For example, water heaters set at 140 degrees can potentially lead to second and third-degree burns, so be careful when using your hot water. These burns can happen in as little as five seconds.

120 Degrees

120 degrees is thought to be an ideal temperature if you’re looking to save money on your energy bills. The Department of Energy has mentioned that switching from 140 degrees to 120 degrees can help homeowners reap great energy savings.

Energy efficiency is certainly not something that you should overlook. When your water heater is energy efficient, it will get the job done while wasting less energy.

Of course, there are also other reasons to lower your water’s temperature, such as the age of your home’s occupants. If you live with young children or the elderly, setting the temperature to 120 degrees could be the best option since they will be less likely to burn themselves.

How to Adjust Water Heater Temperature

As you can see, there isn’t one cut-and-dry answer for what temperature a water heater should be set at. The temperature you choose can vary depending on several factors, such as the age of your home’s occupants and your desire to increase energy savings.

Now, you’re probably wondering how to adjust the temperature of your water heater. Fortunately, this task isn’t too tricky. Most tankless water heaters have LED panels where the temperature can be changed. If you have a tankless water heater, simply use the digital control panel to increase or decrease the temperature.

Traditional tank water heaters are a little different from tankless units. The temperature of some traditional water heaters can be adjusted on the unit. However, to adjust the temperature of most tank systems, you’ll need to remove the access panel.

Once you’ve located and removed the access panel, you’ll have to peel back the insulation. Then, you can adjust the temperature with a screwdriver according to your needs. If this sounds too complicated to DIY, just remember that we’re always available to help!

Schedule Water Heater Services With Our Certified Experts!

So, what temperature should a water heater be set to? This question can have various answers based on who you ask. While there are two recommended water heater temperatures, the choice you make will depend on your specific situation.
Do you need help with your water heater? The experts at Fast Water Heater can help! We specialize in everything from hot water tank leak repairs to routine maintenance services. If you need to replace your water heater, we can help you with a reliable water heater installation in San Jose, CA, or the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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