As a homeowner, there may be multiple reasons that you are considering adjusting your water heater temperature yourself. Perhaps you are concerned about your energy usage, and want to cut down on your utility bill costs. Or, perhaps you have found the current temperature setting to be uncomfortable, whether it is too hot or too cold. Regardless of your reasoning, there are a few things to keep in mind before you go about completing this DIY project.
The great debate for recommended temperature depends on a few things. To start, 120ºF is the preset temperature on the majority of new water heaters. This is also the temperature setting recommended by the US Department of Energy. However, temperatures higher than this are more effective at killing off potentially harmful pathogens and bacteria. With this in consideration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that your water heater be set at 140ºF. There are pros and cons of each end of the temperature spectrum, and ultimately you should choose what you are most comfortable with for your household.
The top end of the recommended temperature spectrum, 140ºF, is effective at killing off the aforementioned pathogens and harmful bacteria. However, this temperature can also result in scalding water, or third-degree burns after only five seconds. In a household with younger children who are more susceptible to burns because of thinner skin and less likely to recognize a drastic temperature shift in a bath, setting your water heater temperature a little lower may be a good way to keep everyone burn-free.
On the bottom end of the recommended temperature spectrum, 120ºF is likely to keep everyone in your home safe from scalding water and burns, however, it may also allow for bacteria and pathogens to make their home within your water heater. If there is not anyone with a compromised immune system within your home, this lower temperature is likely to be completely safe, however, if this is not the case, then a higher temperature may be more desirable.
If you are worried about incurring burns, but also do not want to place your household at risk for bacteria and pathogens, there is a happy medium solution. Having anti-scald valves installed for your plumbing fixtures allows you to ensure that the hot water coming out of taps never exceeds 120ºF, even with your water heater being set to 140ºF. If this solution interests you, be sure to contact our team of experts to help get this install completed quickly.
Now that the great temperature debate has (hopefully) been settled for your household, you may be concerned about the energy usage, given that water heaters are known to eat up a lot of your utility budget. There are a few ways that you can cut your costs separate from the temperature your water heater is set at. Using less hot water in general is going to make the biggest difference in your utility budget. Opt for shorter showers when possible, and utilize your dishwasher instead of hand-washing, as this typically uses less water to get the job done. Investing in insulation for your water heater and your pipes can also cut down on how much energy is needed to achieve and maintain the desired water temperature.
Ultimately, it is best to avoid fidgeting with your water heater temperature as much as possible. If adjustments need to be made, or if you want to discuss other water heater options and solutions or inquire about anti-scald valves, feel free to reach out to our team of experts to see what we can do for you.