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How High Should I Set My Water Heater Temperature?

water heater temperature

It’s not fun to have your shower spray cold water, but it’s also bad to get a scalding spray. That’s why it’s important to choose the right temperature for your water heater. When choosing the temperature, it’s all about balancing your safety against two different water-based hazards. A lower yet still comfortable temperature can keep you from getting scalded, but a higher temperature is capable of killing certain bacteria. The experts at The Furnace Man can help you learn the best way to set your water heater’s temperature.

How to change the water heater temperature
The exact method for changing your water heater’s temperature depends on the model and type. Luckily, the methods are all pretty similar. Electric tank models and newer gas ones usually have the temperature control behind an insulated access panel. Electric models may also have temperature controls on the top and bottom of the tank. For tankless models, there’s a readout that features the temperature and controls to change it. No matter what you do to change the temperature, make sure you test the temperature after you change it. To do so, take a thermometer and hold it under a running sink’s hot water for a minute.

How hot should I set it?
If you ask the US Department of Energy, 120°F is the best temperature for your water heater. At this temperature, it takes a minute before the hot water can scald you. This is especially important in homes with children or seniors, who are both more vulnerable to scalding. It’s also worth noting that the lower temperature takes less energy to reach and makes hard water less damaging. Don’t set the temperature any lower, though; any lower and you’ll risk bacteria in your drinking water.

However, if you ask OSHA, you should set the temperature to 140°F (which is the default for most water heaters) to keep your water safe from bacteria. Most water-based bacteria will die off to water that’s heated to 120°F. However, the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease, which can cause a variety of flu-like symptoms, is more resistant to heat. 140°F is capable of killing off the bacteria, even if it makes the water more capable of scalding you. LD bacteria often shows up in older water systems and water storage systems that are outdoors or let water stagnate.

In the average home, you should set the water temperature to 120°F. LD bacteria are uncommon enough that the risk of scalding is what you should mitigate. If your home does have an LD risk or someone in the home has a compromised or sensitive immune system, 140°F is the way to go. Having an anti-scald device can also be useful if you set the temperature to 140°F in a home with children or seniors. However, your water heater’s temperature can drop if something is wrong with it. In that case, call The Furnace Man to have one of our professionals to help you!

Why call The Furnace Man to help me with my water heater temperature?
Here at The Furnace Man Heating & Cooling, LLC, we take special pride in our ability to come up with custom solutions to problems that our customers face with a heating repair. We have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to give you an accurate diagnosis of the problem, find its root, and then resolve it completely. When you call on us for service, you can count on our team members arriving in clean uniforms with clean shoe covers. We employ NATE–certified technicians, we are locally owned and operated, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on everything that we do. Call The Furnace Man today to learn more about caring for your water heater! (937) 427-4105

Written By Brian Renadette

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Our services are offered for both residential and commercial clients. We have been serving the Miami Valley for a decade. Our experienced staff & quality repairs has made us the areas most trusted and recommended heating and cooling contractors around. We provide installation, repairs, service, and maintenance on the following:

Heating Units
Water Heaters
Maintenance Programs
Geothermal Heating/Cooling
Radiant Systems
Air Conditioning Units
Commercial Services
Heat Pumps
Heat Pumps
Whole House Generators

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