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To What Temperature should I set my Water Heater?

Your water heater already accounts for a significant amount of the energy your home consumes each month. If you accidentally set the temperature too high, you can expect to pay more than you have to, which will cost you a lot of money over an extended period of time. However, if you set the temperature too low, you’re going to have a hard time getting the water in your home warm enough for things like taking a shower or cleaning. In general, you should avoid setting your water heater temperature below 120 degrees, as the water could become stagnant at lower temperatures and allow diseases to form inside the tank. This is the temperature recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as it’s a hot enough temperature to prevent those diseases, but low enough to avoid issues with scalding. However, you may need to adjust the temperature for your own purposes, based on several factors that could affect your home. Here are just a few examples of some of those factors that could affect your optimal water heater temperature settings:

  • Health issues: If you have anyone in your home who has respiratory disease or issues with a suppressed immune system, you’re going to want to set the temperature a little bit higher. About 140 degrees should suffice.

  • Dishwasher: If you have a dishwasher that does not pre-heat the water as part of its operation, you will want to have the water set closer to 140 degrees.

  • Age: If you are an elderly homeowner or have small children in your home, you should keep the temperature lower, close to 120 degrees. Babies and small children are burned much more easily from hot water temperatures. Most water heaters leave the factory with a default setting of 140 or 150 degrees, so if you have small children or elderly members of your household, it’s recommended that you check the settings and adjust as needed.

  • Number of occupants: If you live alone, you’ll typically be able to get away with lower temperatures because there is not as much of a demand for hot water, and this will allow you to save money. However, if you have a larger household, you’ll want to be on the higher end of the temperature range (140 to 150 degrees), because you will need to accommodate more people’s demands for hot water.

  • Money: If your primary goal is saving money, you can save much more by going for a lower temperature (120 degrees). Consider this: for every 10 degrees you switch down the thermometer on your water tank, you’ll be able to save three to five percent on your energy bill. Those savings can add up over the long run.

Ultimately, you can experiment a bit with your water heater temperature and figure out the settings that work best for you and your family. For more information about how to get the best, most efficient results from your water heater, contact the team at ASP today.

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