Optimize Your Water Heater Temperature

Fullerton water heater inspections from General Service Plumbing

Did you know that you can change and optimize the temperature of your water heater? That’s right. You can change it. However, what you consider the optimal water heater temperature can differ from what others consider optimal.

Here at General Service Plumbing, we understand that people have different opinions on optimal hot water temperatures. In light of that understanding, we decided it would be a great idea to put together a guide on setting your water heater temperature to fit your needs. So, let’s get started!

Different Hot Water Uses Demand Different Water Heater Temperatures

The optimal water temperature varies depending on what tasks you plan to use hot water. For example, if you run a commercial kitchen, you’ll need your water hot enough to sanitize dishes. However, water hot enough to sanitize dishes (around 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit) is far too hot to use for bathing. Additionally, if you have children, you’ll want your water hot enough to kill most bacteria. However, you don’t want to set it so high as to scald yourself or your children. Water heater temperatures closer to 120 degrees Fahrenheit will do just fine for those situations.

When optimizing your water heater temperature, the only hard-set rule is never to set your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures lower than that provide an ample breeding ground for several harmful bacteria, mold, and mildew species. Additionally, for every ten degrees above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you will increase your overall energy usage by about three to five percent.

Specific Use Cases and Their Appropriate Water Heater Temperature Settings

Besides the examples we described above, several other use cases have water temperature requirements. Let’s break them down.

Dishwashers that don’t pre-heat

Some dishwashers (usually older models or ones in commercial settings) don’t pre-heat water to help sanitize and clean your dishes. If you have a dishwasher that doesn’t pre-heat, you should set your water heater temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures are far less effective at killing harmful foodborne pathogens and bacteria species.

Small children and the elderly

Suppose your home or business regularly visits or provides housing for small children or the elderly. In that case, the optimal water heater temperature setting is around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, higher temperatures are much more likely to injure children and the elderly than average-aged adults. In fact, according to the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

“The majority of injuries and deaths involving tap water scalds are to the elderly and children under the age of five. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges all users to lower their water heaters to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. ” – CPSC Safety Alert Publication 5098

People with respiratory illnesses or suppressed immune systems

Suppose you or anyone else in your home has a respiratory disease or suppressed immune system. In that case, you should set your water heater temperature to 140 degrees. Doing so will help prevent the sick from contracting other diseases that healthier people may ward off without medical aid.

How to Pick the Right Temperature for You

Let’s assume you’re a healthy adult living in a household with other healthy adults. To optimize the water heater’s temperature for this assumed household, start by setting the temperature to 120 degrees. Then, if you’re not satisfied, increase the temperature in ten-degree increments until you’ve found your optimal water temperature.

What is the Most Environmentally Friendly Water Heater Temperature?

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the optimal water heater temperature setting for a happier planet and safe usage is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, water heaters still account for about 17 percent of your home’s energy bill (DirectEnergy.com). Moreover, as mentioned earlier, for every ten degrees over 120, you will increase your energy consumption by three to five percent.

Still, Having Trouble? Contact General Service Plumbing

Suppose you have trouble either figuring out your ideal temperature or with the actual process of changing the heat for your water heater. In that case, you can always reach out to us here at General Service Plumbing. We employ some of the best water heater technicians in the state. So, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’re always here to help!

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