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What Hot Water Heater Temperature is a Suitable Setting for Your?

What Temperature is Ideal for My Home’s Hot Water Heater?

If you are a homeowner, then you likely have some type of water heater in it. You will need to set a temperature for it, and unfortunately, there isn’t any universal degree you can use as a template. So what temperature should you set your hot water heater at? Keep reading to find out.

Your hot water heater makes up for approximately 18% of the energy bill you get every month. If the water heater temperature is set overly high, then you can expect to pay a higher energy bill. Conversely, if it’s set to a degree lower than it should be, then your water might not be hot enough for you. Your water should be hot enough to prevent bacteria from growing. As such, the lowest it should be set at is 120°. Diseases like Legionella are capable of developing in stagnant water within the water heater temperature.

What is an ideal water heater temperature range to set your hot water heater at, then? 120° is recommended by the EPA. This temperature will be hot enough that diseases will be kept at bay. The water won’t be scalding hot (comfortable), is fairly energy bill-friendly, and will be sufficiently warm for the average small family. With that said, the setting you choose will defer based on several different factors.

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Aspects That Impact the Water Heater Temperature Setting of a Hot Water Heater

The following factors aren’t impacted by the type of plumbing in your home (PVC, copper, or PEX) if your hot water heater is tankless, or the way the water gets heated (electric or gas).

  • If there is a dishwasher in the home that doesn’t preheat water, consider setting the hot water heater’s temperature to about 140°.
  • Senior citizens or parents with young children should consider keeping the temperature set at 120°. Here is what BabyCenter.com had to say on the matter:


“It takes just two seconds for a child to receive third-degree burns from water that is 150 degrees and five seconds if it is 140 degrees, the temperatures at which hot water heaters often leave the factory.”

  • Occupants suffering from respiratory disease or who have suppressed immune systems are encouraged to set their hot water temperature to 140°.
  • People who live by themselves can set lower temperatures that suit them, as hot water demand is minimal. Those who reside in larger households should set their temperature higher in order to accommodate higher hot water demands.
  • To save a little bit of money, remember that a 10° reduction in your water tank’s thermometer saves you between 3% and 5% on energy bills each month.


If you still have uncertainties, leave the temperature set at 120°. You can make increases to the temperature incrementally until an ideal shower temperature is found for water heater temperature.


Checking the Temperature of Your Hot Water Heater

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New Water Heater Installation with Recirculation System – Black Mountain Plumbing -San Diego CA

Many hot water heaters don’t come with readouts on their temperature gauges. Heating ranges or temperatures are marked on the thermostat instead. To find an accurate temperature for your hot water heater, you will require a cup, as well as some kind of cooking thermometer.

Let the hot water heater sit for at least 60 minutes without use. You can then turn the faucet on nearest to the hot water heater. The water should be allowed to keep running for 60 seconds or so in order to make sure that it reaches the maximum water heater temperature. The cup can then be filled. Your desired settings can be adjusted after the cooking thermometer is inserted.


You are concerned about pathogens lurking within the water heater in your home, and are concerned about scalding hot water, think about getting a tank booster. They can retain a 140° temperature in the hot water tank, as well as integrate cold water with it. The mixture lowers the temperature to about 120° well before the water comes out of taps.

If you reside in a home where hot water takes a while to get to the tap, then a circulating system may resolve this issue. Hot water will be slowly circulated by the system within pipes to stop it from getting cooled down prior to reaching the tap.

Expert Plumbing Services – Water Heater Temperature

If the water in your home is not hot enough for you, regardless of what setting you have chosen like water heater temperature, give Black Mountain Plumbing a call. We can troubleshoot all kinds of problems or make adjustments to your water heater. To book an appointment or get an estimate give us a call at (858) 536-4161

Serving San Diego and San Diego County for over 25 years with quality work and great service. We also service these cities – El Cajon, La Mesa, Lakeside, Poway, Ramona, Santee, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, University City, Tierrasanta, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Leucadia, Sorrento Valley, Miramar, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Vista, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Fairbanks Ranch, 4S Ranch, and Sabre Springs.

May 2024
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