For quite a few people, there’s nothing better than a hot shower in the morning. While that may just be a perfect 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 above the recommended degree can squander power and cost you money. It also can pose a safety challenge for members of your family. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can permit 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 efficient 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 Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

Although many companies encourage setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more economical temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Industry experts say 120 degrees strikes the right balance between safety and energy use.

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

So What Temperature Should My Hot Water Be?

In many instances, 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 requirements of most homes, but not so hot that it risks burning skin on contact. This makes it a safer choice, especially in homes with young children or elderly individuals. Lower temperatures also cut down on mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacement.

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 trying to save money, is it OK to set it higher? Apart from personal preference, there are a few scenarios where it could be a good idea to set your water temperature a little higher, between 130-140 degrees:

  • Bacteria: Hotter water temperatures can be helpful in eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause or exacerbate certain health conditions. This also may be practical if you know your home has a problem with bacteria, or if any people who live in your home have a compromised immune system.
  • High usage: If your home tends to use a lot 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 sufficient hot water for all the household's needs.
  • Old dishwasher: If your dishwasher is getting up there in years and doesn’t heat water as part of its process, you may have to set your water heater to a higher temperature for it to work effectively.

How Hot Is Too Hot for a Water Heater?

Although some people like their water exceptionally 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. Energy officials say any temperature hotter than 140 degrees is too hot for a water heater in a home. At 150 degrees, which is considered 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 dangerous in homes with children or the elderly.

Call Temperature Doctors Heating & Cooling for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Rockford

Water heaters can seem a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable pros at Temperature Doctors Heating & Cooling know these appliances inside and out. They’ve fixed many brands and models of water heaters throughout the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Rockford.

We also offer water heater replacement, so give us a call at (815) 914-6197 if you think you need water heater installation in Rockford. We are happy to examine your system and produce a complimentary estimate!