What Temperature Should I Set For My Water Heater?

Despite being designed to endure hot temperatures, your water heater deals with some temperature ranges better than others. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should set your water heater’s temperature to these ranges.

The temperature you set depends on your household’s needs. Generally, however, you can find these needs met at temperatures between 120 to 140ºF. Read on to see why this temperature range is ideal for your water heater and home.

Water Heater Maintenance

The U.S. Department of Energy posits that setting your water heater’s temperature to 120ºF can lower maintenance requirements. This temperature slows corrosion and the build up of minerals in your heater and pipes. Generally, water heaters have to be cleaned once every year to get rid of sediment and mineral build-up. This recommendation is in light of most water heaters being set to a default of 140ºF. Adjusting your thermostat may save you future maintenance costs.


Lowering your water heater’s default temperature can save you money by reducing heat loss and excess demand costs. Heat loss refers to the heat dissipated from your water heater into its surrounding areas. Excess demand costs refer to the excess use of excessively hot water. For example, if you’re showering with water at 140ºF, chances are you won’t be bothered by a drop to 130ºF. You will notice it, but it won’t inconvenience your shower experience. By showering at 140ºF instead of 130ºF, you’re essentially paying more for the same shower experience. By adjusting your thermostat, you’ll shave a significant amount off your energy bill.

Hot Water Demand

While lowering your temperature may save you money, it is important to keep in mind other mitigating factors.

For example, the adults in your household may shower at similar times, because they come home from work at similar times. This will stress your water heater’s supply of hot water.

The lower the thermostat’s setting, the greater the stress on your water heater’s water supply. Consequently, if your home fits this description, you may benefit from raising your thermostat’s setting.

Children, the Elderly, and the Sick

Some people in your home may have different needs when it comes to showering. While you may boldly face a cold or hot shower, other household members may not be able to do so. You should leave your water heater’s thermostat at 140ºF for the immunocompromised and sick. OSHA recommends a temperature of 140ºF to prevent the contraction of Legionnaires’ disease, an intense form of pneumonia.

If you have children and elderly in the home, you should lower your water heater’s thermostat to prevent their skins from scalding. The skin of the children and elderly can scald quickly at 140ºF, so it’s best to lower the temperature.

Your thermostat is only as effective as the state of your water heater allows it to be. You may find your thermostat up, but the temperature of the water around your house pleasant. A host of problems could make your water heater’s behavior unpredictable. If this describes your water heater, you should get in touch with Pro Serve Plumber. We provide an assortment of water heater services, including repairs, in and around Fort Worth, Tx. Contact us at 817-244-0614 and let us take care of those issues.