What Temperature Should a Hot Water Heater Be Set At?


During the winter months, a hot shower or warm bath is unmatched, and a hot water heater is a convenience that makes these simple pleasures possible. 

Hot water is a staple in the modern home, and most of the time we don’t give much thought to it. There is just the expectation that when we turn on the tap, it will be there. A little thought should go into what temperature your heater is set at, though, so here are a few things to consider.

How Hot Should Tap Water Be?

There are a few guidelines as to what temperature your water heater should be set at. There is actually a minimum range, because bacteria like Legionella can become an issue in stagnant water, potentially causing Leggionaire’s Disease. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that cold water should be kept cold, and hot water kept hot, as the ideal range for Legionella to thrive is between 77°F-108°F. For safety, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends setting hot water temperatures to a minimum of 120°F.

What is Considered a Safe Water Temperature for a Bath?

While 120 degrees is considered a safe minimum water heater temperature, there are other factors to consider when setting the temperature on your water heater. For example, if you have babies or small children at home, extra caution should be used when setting the temperature. BabyCenter notes that it takes only two seconds of exposure to 150°F water or five seconds of 140°F water for a child to receive third-degree burns. Likewise, the elderly are also susceptible to being burned from too-hot water. Setting your heater to 120°F ensures a safe bathtime for everyone. Swirl the water in the bathtub to make sure there are no hot or cold pockets, and aim for a safe water temperature of about 98-99°F.

How do I know if my bath is too hot?

If you have a thermometer handy, you can easily measure the temperature of the bath water. This is recommended when bathing babies and children, to avoid the risk of burning them. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the water by putting your arm in. If your skin turns pink or red, the water is too hot.

How do I make my hot water heater last longer?

Water heaters don’t last forever, but setting the right temperature for your water heater can definitely help extend the life of the appliance. Higher water temperatures can cause mineral deposits and corrosion to occur much sooner. Again, setting the temperature in the lower range of 120°F to 140°F is ideal. Regular maintenance helps extend the life of your appliance, and calling a quality water heater repair technician in Provo can help keep things running smoothly.

What is the Maximum Temperature for a Hot Water Heater?

The maximum temperature your water heater can supply may vary depending on the type of heater you have, and its age. While it may be possible to heat water to 160°F or beyond, this takes a toll on the heater and will significantly shorten its lifespan. It’s universally agreed that 140°F is the maximum temperature needed, and there is no reason to go higher than this.

Use Quick Quality Plumbing

For all your hot water heater needs and Provo plumbing services, turn to Quick Quality Plumbing. We are available 24/7 for any emergency needs, and boast years of experience. Contact us today for an estimate.

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