Water Heater Temperature

In the guide below will find water heater temperature recommendations,
plus, how to check and adjust your temperature on both gas and electric
residential storage water heaters.

If you are having temperature problems such as water to hot or cold,
not enough hot water etc. go to  hot water temperature settings  for more help.

Water heater manufactures recommend setting your water heater
temperature at 120 degrees to help prevent scalding and to save energy.
Scalding is a real concern if you have small children or elderly in your

What Temperature Should Your Hot Water Be

You may be surprised to know that while the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recommends setting your water heater at 120 degrees. OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) recommends setting your water heater thermostat at 140 degrees under certain circumstances.

 If you would like to read more about OSHA's recommendations go to www.osha.gov/SLTC/legionnairesdisease/control_prevention.html. This is a very long page. Click on Domestic Hot Water Systems to jump down the page.

If you have an older dishwasher that doesn't preheat the water, recommended water heater temperature is 140 degrees. This is to ensure clean sanitary dishes.

Basically you'll need to adjust the temperature to suit your needs or your budget.

I know a gentleman that lives alone and keeps his water heater set at 110 degrees and only allows it to heat one hour a day.

How To Check Your Hot Water Heater Temperature

Allow your water heater to set an hour unused before checking the temperature.

You can use a candy or cooking thermometer to check your water heater temperature. Go to the faucet nearest the water heater. Run the hot water for one full minute ( this will heat the water pipes and give you a more accurate reading ). Fill a coffee cup from the faucet and read the thermometer.

About water heater settings

Because heat rises (yes, even in water) the water in the top of a water heater can be much hotter than the water in the bottom. This is especially true of a gas water heater where the thermostat and burner are located at the bottom of the tank.

Water heater settings or temperature settings are not exact
temperatures.  The degree settings on a thermostat are approximate.

Gas water heater Adjustment

If you have a gas water heater
you are in luck as far as adjusting
the temperature.

There's nothing to remove or replace.Simply turn the dial located
on the front of the gas control

The warm setting will be in the
90 to 110 degree range.

The hot setting will average 140
to 150 degrees.

Electric Water Heater Adjustment

Turn off the water heater breaker.
Remove both access panels (upper
and lower) if you have a double
element water heater.
For single element water heaters
remove the lower panel.

Pull the insulation to the side
or remove it so you can see the

Remove the plastic cover if
it doesn't have an access hole
for the adjustment screw.

The thermostat adjusting screw
is located at the bottom of the
thermostat, just above the element.

As you can see you'll need a
small flat blade screwdriver.

Replace the plastic cover(if you removed it). Place the insulation
back over the thermostat and element. Replace the access panels
and turn the power back on.

If you are adjusting your water heater temperature because of a lack of hot water, you might want to check the water heater elements page and/or the water heater thermostat page.

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