Water Heater Temperature

Problems and Troubleshoot

What is the most Eco-efficient water heater temperaturewater heater manufacturers set the thermostats at around 140ºF OSHA recommended levels, also at around 140ºF as industry standards this is for both Gas and Electric (they can be adjusted with a few tools) this reduces any mineral buildup and corrosion in your water heater tank and pipe work. EPA suggests turning the thermostat down to 120 to reduce power consumption, and a booster heater to reach sanitizing temperatures. The Department of Energy also recommends you set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for efficiency. If once adjustments have been done and you have not yet achieved the required heat level you may have other issues and your heating element may need to be replaced. So what is a safe water heater temperature ?

The guide below we looks at temperature recommendations and how to check and adjust your temperature levels for both gas and electric water heaters.

How To Check Your Water Heater Temperature

Let the water in your tank to settle for an hour before checking. Run hot water from your tap for a few moments before checking and fill a cup with water and pop in the thermometer read the temperature you have and you can then decide on your options.

Water heater settings

Heat rises and the water at the top-level in your tank will more than likely be the warmest within the tank. This is typical in gas water heaters where the burners are at the base of the tank. So the temperatures will vary and the degree settings are only an indication.

Recommended Temperature Settings

There are two factors to consider when fiddling with the temperature:

  • Too high, you get scalded
  • Too low, and you risk pathogens, particularly Legionella, which causing legionellosis (Legionnaires’ disease)

My own personal opinion I feel the best water heater temperature is between 120 and 130 degrees will be fine for any household. You do need some level of heat as From the energysavers.gov website: to kill any bacterial growth. This is also true for tank or tankless water heater temperature.

Water Heater Temperature Range

Below you can see a small table from Legionella and the prevention of legionellosis, a resource I found from the World Health Organization website, temperature affects the survival of Legionella as follows:

  • Above 70 °C (158 °F): Legionella dies almost instantly
  • At 60 °C (140 °F): 90% die in 2 minutes
  • At 50 °C (122 °F): 90% die in 80–124 minutes, depending on strain
  • At 48 to 50 °C (118 to 122 °F): Can survive but do not multiply
  • 32 to 42 °C (90 to 108 °F): Ideal growth range

How Much Can I save by turning down my temp

So how much can you save by reducing your temperature? If you reduce your thermostat down 10 degrees you can save anywhere from 3-5 percent on your energy bill a total of $6 too $25 a year and it keeps you from getting burnt. So think about it during your winter season and try to save energy.

How to Adjust Hot Water Heater Temperature

Quite straight forward to adjust all you will need is a screwdriver and a small socket or wrench. Depending on your water heater type follow the steps below.

Gas water heater temperature

Gas water heaters have a setting knob that can be turned to adjust the temperature. Turning the knob towards the “HOT” setting moves closer to 140 degrees. The “Vacation” setting does not heat water, but keeps the pilot light ignited.

Adjusting hot water heater thermostat on a gas storage water heater is simple, near the bottom of the tank on the gas valve and should look like this, The warm setting will be in the 90 to 110 degree range. The hot setting will average 140 to 150 degrees.

Electric Water Heater Temperature

Below are instructions with images on reducing temperature for electric  water heaters unfortunately they are a little more complicated than a gas procedure. First thing is first turn off the circuit breaker safety first. image thanks too, water-heater-repair-guide.com

Remove the access panels.

Remove the access panels

Remove the access panels

Locate the thermostat adjustment beneath the insulation.

Locate the thermostat adjustment beneath the insulation

Locate the thermostat adjustment beneath the insulation

Using a straight screwdriver, adjust the thermostat control towards the desired temperature.

adjust the thermostat control towards the desired temperature

adjust the thermostat control towards the desired temperature

Replace the insulation and panels, then restore power. Electric water heaters, on the other hand, may have thermostats positioned behind screw-on plates or panels. For instructions on how to operate the thermostat always Consult your water heater owner’s manual. After adjustment to the thermostat have not yet given you the correct temperature, then you might need to replace the heating element. This should get your water heater temperature to your desired heat level.

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