Should You Adjust Your Water Heater Temperature?

With rising inflation costs affecting everything from food to fuel, you may be looking at ways to tighten your household budget. But after reducing your grocery bill and nondiscretionary spending, you’re still needing to save more money. Before you consider adjusting your water heater temperature, here’s what you should know.

The Importance of a Water Heater

You may not think about it often, but your water heater plays an essential role in your home’s plumbing. This appliance provides a steady flow of hot water for bathing, cooking, cleaning, and space heating – but it does so at a cost. As the second biggest user, water heating systems consume almost 20 percent of your home’s energy. 

Optimal Water Heater Setting

You can adjust the temperature of your water heater but should not go any lower than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). If the temperature is too low, bacteria can form inside the tank that causes illnesses including Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia. Having a higher temperature helps kill these harmful pathogens quicker.

Setting your water heater temperature too high can also be dangerous. At 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius), water can create third-degree burns. Because their skin is thinner, children are more susceptible to water burns. Seniors are also at an increased risk due to reduced sensitivity, mobility, and reaction time.

If someone in your household has a compromised immune system or you have a dishwasher that doesn’t create its own heat, you may need to set your temperature on the higher end. However, it’s always best to consult your owner’s manual or check the stickers on the water heater before setting the temperature for your specific unit.

Energy-Efficient Water Heaters

If you have a water heater over ten years old, it may be time to consider replacing it. Although water heaters come with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, it’s usually better to replace them before they break down. If your water heater fails, you risk having major water damage to your home – and a potential large home insurance claim.

So instead of adjusting the temperature on your old water heater, consider installing a newer model. Today’s energy-efficient water heaters are quieter, come with a warranty, use significantly less energy, and save you money over time. 

Other ways to save on energy costs include using less hot water and insulating your water heater and pipes.

The Bottom Line

As one of the biggest energy-consuming appliances in your home, your water heater is a great place to start when reducing energy costs. However, if you decide to adjust its temperature, be sure to keep it set at an optimal setting. A professional plumber is the best person to consult when considering a temperature adjustment.

Completing regular maintenance on your water heater can help extend its lifetime and keep it in good working order. To schedule an inspection on your water heater, reach out to us today.