For quite a few people, there's nothing like a hot shower in the morning. Even though that might be a great 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 scorching can throw away power and cost you money. It also can pose a safety issue for members of your residence. But, if you set your water heater temperature too low, it can permit growth of potentially harmful bacteria and not supply adequate hot water for your property.

So, what temperature is ideal for your water heater? Below, we’ll determine 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 own water heater.

What Water Heater Temperature Is the Most Efficient?

Although many manufacturers advise setting the water temperature at 140 degrees, a more economical temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Specialists say 120 degrees provides 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 bills. Energy waste is especially a 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 consistently heating a tank filled to the brim with super-hot water.

What's the Right Temperature for My Hot Water?

In many instances, the suggested efficient temperature of 120 degrees is a good setting for your water heater. At 120 degrees, the water is hot enough to meet the requirements 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 small children or elderly individuals. Cooler temperatures also decrease mineral deposits in your water heater, which could cause it to break down or need replacing.

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 acceptable to set it higher? In addition to personal preference, there are some circumstances 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 a good way to eliminate harmful bacteria that can cause or aggravate certain health conditions. This also may be helpful if you know your home has an issue with bacteria, or if any residents of the house are immunocompromised.
  • High usage: If your home tends to use a large volume 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 adequate 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 need 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 quite hot or like to blend hot and cold water to achieve their desired 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 residence. At 150 degrees, which is considered way too hot, it takes a few seconds for the water to create third-degree burns. This is why a water heater temperature of 150 degrees is particularly unsafe in residences with children or the elderly.

Call Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating for Your Water Heater Service Needs in Kankakee

Water heaters can be a little mysterious, but the knowledgeable pros at Home Furniture, Plumbing & Heating know these appliances inside and out. They’ve serviced many brands and designs of water heaters through the years, so they have the experience to handle your water heater repair in Kankakee.

We also are skilled in water heater replacement, so give us a call at 815-933-8213 if you believe you need water heater installation in Kankakee. We are happy to examine your system and provide a complimentary estimate!