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    A Guide to What Temperature Should You Set Your Water Heater On

    December 1, 2018


    The water heater in your home is around 18% of the energy bill that you’re paying. If you set it too high, you’re going to pay a lot each month on your monthly energy bill. But if you set the temperature too low, it’s possible that you are going to have water that isn’t hot enough or that you’re going to grow bacteria in the tank. Your heater shouldn’t go below 120, because diseases often develop when there’s stagnant water in your water heater. This can be dangerous.

    What is the temperature that you should set the water heater in your house? It’s recommended by the EPA that it should be at least 120 since that’s the temperature that can keep the water healthy in the water heater and it isn’t hot enough that it will scald you. It’s going to give you ample hot water when you have a small family and it’s fairly energy efficient. But the water heater setting that’s good for you is going to depend on a variety of factors.

    Factors That Will Affect the Setting of Your Hot Water Heater

    The factors below aren’t affected by your type of plumbing, the way you’re your water’s heated or your type of water heater.

    • Homeowners with dishwashers that don’t preheat their water might want to take the temperature to 140.
    • Couples with small children or older homeowners might choose to keep their water heater at 120. A child can get a 3rd-degree burn in just 2 seconds when the water is 150 and 5 seconds if the water is 140.
    • Homes that have occupants who have a respiratory disease or compromised immune systems should have their water heater at 140.
    • Generally, those who live alone might want to keep their water at a lower level in a range that’s acceptable since they don’t have as much need for hotter water and they’ll save money.
    • In larger households, they usually will keep their heater at a higher level since there are more people using the water.
    • If you’re interested in saving money, when you decrease the temperature by 10 degrees, you’ll save 3-5% on your bills.

    Still, don’t know what you should choose? If you want to save money, every 10 degrees you turn down the water tank thermometer, you save 3 to 5 percent on your energy bill.

    Still can’t choose? Set your water heater at 120. Then gradually increase its temperature and stop when you’ve found the right temperature for your shower.

    What’s the Current Setting on Your Water Heater?

    It’s simple to find the setting your water heater is at right now. Just look at your water heater’s dial if it has one. You can also take a reading of the temperature from your faucet. Just turn on your hot water and let it run several minutes. Then take its temperature.

    As you can see, a lot goes into choosing the temperature for your water heater. Just remember that it shouldn’t be below 120, and use the above tips if you have special considerations.

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