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What Temperature Should My Water Heater Be?

Did you know that YOU control how hot (or cold) your water heater is? Unless your water heater is malfunctioning, the setting for heat is just a simple knob, switch, or arrow for you to toggle. As a homeowner, you can control where your water’s temperature sits.

The temperature for your water heater determines the maximum temperature that will come out of your faucets and shower heads. For most water heaters, it’s common to set them right at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Some believe that it’s better to adjust your water heater’s temperature to be 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s talk about the reasoning, and then you can decide for yourself.

120 Degrees

  • Go Green. Keeping your temperature lower means you’re using less energy to keep the entire tank warm, and lower temperatures mean less wasted power.
  • Savings. Because your electrical or gas power isn’t working as hard, you will pay less each month in your utilities.
  • Clean. In Utah, we have hard water with lots of minerals. Cooler water leaves behind fewer mineral deposits in your water heater, pipes, and equipment.
  • Safer. If you have young or old people in your home, it’s safer to lower the temperature. When it’s set at 120 degrees you will eliminate immediate scalding. You can still burn at 120 degrees, but it takes over a minute of exposure to burn you – at which point you can remove yourself or call for help. At 140 degrees, it’s a faster and more dangerous burn.

140 Degrees

  • Germs. At 140 degrees, your water is definitely able to destroy a strain of bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ disease and other germs. Your water heater and water system is very old and features rusty pipes, old water storage, and poor drainage, you may be at a higher risk for the bacteria which can make you and your family sick.

You need to assess your home, your water system, and your family’s needs. If you are unsure about what might be right for your water heater and home, we can help you at Low Price Water Heaters. We have everything you need to know, and can help you make decisions for your water system.

Once you have decided between these two temperature choices, see what your current temperature is running. Use a thermometer to measure the temperature of a glass of hot water directly from your tap. Then consult your water heater’s manual and locate the temperature switch or gauge. It may be hidden behind other panels or missing a label if it’s old. If you need assistance or repair, call us! We’re ready to help you with any water heater needs.

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