Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold – Finding The Ideal Temperature For Your Water Heater
Comfort is very subjective – especially when it comes to water temperature. What one person in your household considers a nice, steamy shower can be overwhelmingly hot (or cold) or someone else.
This leads to a very common question we receive from our customers, “What’s the best temperature to set on my water heater?” We’ll explain in this article.
Health risks to consider
First, we need to point out that finding the ideal temperature for your water heater isn’t just a personal preference – it’s also a health issue. That’s because having water too hot or too cold increases the risks of different problems.
When the temperature isn’t set high enough, it can allow certain bacteria to grow within the tanks and pipes. This can lead to serious illnesses such as Legionaries’ disease. The organisms that cause this illness, legionellosis, tend to flourish in temperatures between 90-108°F. Higher temperatures can prevent future growth or kill the bacteria. If you have a suppressed immune system or other health conditions, it may be more important to keep the water hotter to ensure the elimination of these bacteria.
However, hotter doesn’t necessarily mean better. When you set the water heater above 140°F, you increase the risk of scalding when showing, washing hands, or cleaning dishes. So homes with young children or elderly adults are generally advised to lower the water temperature for safety.
Hotter water can also be more expensive. By turning the water heater down just 10°F, you can save 3-5% on your monthly energy bills.
The recommended water temperature
When you factor in all the issues, the recommended water temperature for most households is 120°F. Now, the default setting on most new water heaters is 140°F, so if you haven’t adjusted the temperature since the unit was installed, you might want to take a look at it.
Once you find a setting near 120°F that keeps everyone happy and comfortable, you can be confident you have the right temperature for your home water heater. After you have the water heater set properly, look out for fluctuations in the water temperature coming out of the faucet. This can be a warning sign that there is an issue brewing with your unit.
Water heater service and repair
If you have a problem or question with your water heater, call the North Shore plumbing experts at Waldman Plumbing and Heating, Inc. We can diagnose and fix the issue so you can go back to enjoying your perfectly hot water. You can reach us at (781) 780-3184.