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3 Reasons Why You Should Set Your Water Heater Temperature to 120°F

Have you ever thought about your water heater’s thermostat? Have you wondered if there’s one temperature that is more effective than any other temperature? Setting your water heater temperature is a bit like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. When she goes to try the porridge, the first is too hot, the second is too cold, and the third is just right.
The same is true for your water heater. The temperature can be too hot, which causes scalding and burning. It can be too cold, causing you to constantly shiver in the shower and causing the growth of bacteria. Or it can be set just right.
Believe it or not, there is an ideal water heater temperature, and that temperature is 120°F. But what makes that the perfect temperature? Let’s explore the three main reasons why it is best and why you should consider making a permanent switch on your thermostat.

Win The Fight Against Bacteria

fightsbacteriaWater at 120°F can fight bacteria. Because water heaters have standing warm water, it gives bacteria a great place to thrive. Temperatures between 68-115°F are great for bacteria to not only live but to rapidly grow, especially around the 100-115°F range.
Legionella bacteria are especially common, often living at the bottom of the water heater. This is an aquatic bacteria that can cause pneumonia and other serious illnesses. Gross, right?
But luckily, there’s a simple solution. When the water temperature is turned up slightly to 120°F and is set at this temperature all the time, it is too hot for this bacteria to grow and thrive.

High Temperatures Can Burn You in More Ways Than One

waterheatertemperatureMost water heaters are set to 140°F. Though these higher water heater temperatures can kill off bacteria and keep them from growing, as discussed in the first section, it can lead to scalding. Scalding is also a serious concern, as scalds can lead to severe pain and scarring.
Scalds are often considered to be first or second-degree burns, but they can become third-degree burns as well. Most people don’t need water quite that hot. If you have small children or elderly folks at home, always test the temperature of the water with your finger or hand first.
Not only does high water temperatures increase the chance of scalding, but it can also cost you an unnecessary amount of money. Water heaters can account for nearly 20% of your energy bills, and using a hotter temperature can cause your monthly bills to rise.

Available Water

availablewaterWith your water heater temperature set at 120°F, there will always be available warm water without having to wait a long time for it to warm up first.
If you have too high of temperatures, it will, of course, take longer to heat and longer for you to feel the warm water.
At 120°F, you have warm water when you need it. Now that’s something we can all appreciate! So check your water heater temperature tonight. Is it too high? Too low?
Go ahead and adjust the thermostat settings to 120°F and see the difference it can make. If you’re not sure how to adjust your thermostat, call The Plumbing Dr and we’ll ensure that your water is set to the ideal temperature.