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How to set the temperature of your water heater

Nobody likes a cold shower. Even worse is scalding if you run the hot water . Proper adjustment of the temperature at your water heater is important not only for your health and safety, but also to save money on your utility bill .

How to Adjust the Temperature on your Water Heater Money and Your Skin

The Right Temperature Range

There are a number of reasons why your water heater should be set within a certain temperature range. If it's set too low, your hot water will not only feel lukewarm, it can also lead to bacterial growth at best, which can cause things like legionnaires' disease.

This can be prevented by adjusting the water heater to a temperature at which the Legionella bacteria can not thrive. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that water heaters be set to at least 60 degrees Celsius to minimize the growth of Legionella and other microorganisms.

While you might tend to crank up the heat, water that is too hot is potentially more dangerous, especially if you have children in the house. At 1

50 degrees Fahrenheit (66 degrees Celsius), it takes only two seconds to experience third degree burns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that the water heater be set to no more than 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) to prevent scalding. Not to mention that a too high water heater can unnecessarily increase your electricity bill.

Of course every house is different. The farther a faucet comes out of the water heater, the more heat will be lost as the water flows, especially if the pipes are not insulated. This means you may need to raise the temperature beyond the recommended 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius).

When setting the temperature, use the best of mind for your family and household. It is wise to stay in the range of 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (49 to 60 degrees Celsius). Make a setting, test and repeat until you have the perfect temperature setting for your home and water heater.

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Setting the water heating temperature

The interface for adjusting the temperature of a water heater varies depending on the type and model. Fortunately, most water heater types are similar.

For example, most newer gas and electric water heaters have a thermostat behind an insulated access panel. Electric water heaters often have two thermostats – one at the top and one at the bottom of the tank. And most tankless water heaters have a display with a temperature gauge and temperature controls.

Regardless of the type of water heater, you should test the water before making any adjustments. Turn on the water in the bathroom or in the kitchen sink and let it run until it is completely hot. Then hold a thermometer under the water to get an accurate reading.


Setting a tankless water heater is similar to setting the thermostat for your air conditioner. Use the digital control panel to adjust the temperature up or down as needed.

Gas or Electric Water Heaters

Some gas water heaters have a dial at the bottom of the unit that allows you to adjust tools simply by turning them. However, most newer tank water heaters (gas or electric) are a bit more complicated, but it's still easy and should only take a few minutes.

  • Start shutting off the water heater at the circuit breaker. [19659022] Find the access cover for the thermostat (s) and use a screwdriver to remove the cover.
  • Remove the insulation.
  • Use a flat head screwdriver to adjust the thermostat up or down has two thermostats, set both the same amount. The top thermostat should be a few degrees higher than the floor.
  • Replace the insulation and replace the cover
  • Restore power to the water heater.
  • For gas water heaters You may need to turn the light on again.
  • Wait at least three hours after the adjustment before re-testing the water temperature. You may need to make additional adjustments to reach the right temperature.

    If you have raised the temperature and are still experiencing cold showers, your water heater may need to be serviced or even replaced.

    Is your home energy efficient? Here are 5 ways to find out .

    CNET's Guide to Smart Living is a destination for tips, tricks and guides that will make your life smarter. 19659037]
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