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Person I Bathroom Is adjusting the temperature in the water heater

Should I Adjust the Temperature Setting on My Water Heater?

By Daniel Burke, 9:00 am on December 12, 2020

Though occasionally taken for granted, a water heater is among a home’s most vital components. This device is needed to supply the warm water needed to perform crucial everyday activities, such as cooking, washing dishes, clothing, and other important items, and, of course, bathing.

The specific temperature at which the water heater is set could determine how well these daily tasks are completed in addition to the comfort, health, and safety of those using the water. Some homeowners wonder if they should ever consider adjusting the temperature settings on their water heaters. The professionals from Burke Contractors, the experts in house plumbing San Diego residents trust for exceptional service and 24/7 availability, offer the following advice.

Reasons to Consider Adjusting Water Heater Temperature


When the temperature setting is too low, the water heater might not produce enough warm water for comfortable showers or baths. While cold showers may have the same cleansing capability as warm baths, few people enjoy stepping under cold water on a frigid morning or like being awakened in such a manner.


Exceedingly low settings could render the water inside a heater’s tank a potential breeding ground for various harmful pathogens. The United States Department of Energy suggests the temperature of water heaters inside homes or multifamily dwellings should be set no lower than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

That said, representatives of another federal agency—the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—maintains temperature settings must not fall below 140 degrees.

As a general rule, officials suggest settings can be at lower temperatures, provided the home’s residents haven’t been diagnosed with any underlying illnesses that could possibly suppress their immune systems.

Temperatures above 140 degrees could place residents at risk of serious burns or even scalding incidents. Those concerned about such dangers are advised to install anti-scald valves.

Energy Efficiency

The water heater accounts for a significant percentage of a home’s energy usage. That said, many plumbing industry insiders believe energy efficiency has more to do with personal practices than the water heater’s temperature setting.

Experts suggest homeowners may be able to cut expenses by adhering to practices such as cutting down bathing time, using the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand, insulating the water heater and surrounding pipes, and replacing aging water heaters with new ones that are more energy-efficient.

Why a Professional Plumber Should Adjust Your Water Heater’s Temperature

Although there are many instructional videos and how-to articles on how to adjust the temperature settings on water heaters, professional plumbers caution against doing this because water heaters contain numerous intricate parts. Inexperienced operators could damage these features or possibly become injured if parts are broken or incorrectly utilized. Moreover, during the adjustment process, experienced plumbers can perform system checks and detect any potential problems before they become more expensive issues.

If you need advice on how to safely operate any of the plumbing fixtures in your home, call on the pros from Burke Contractors. Because we contract with only experienced licensed plumbers, our Southern California clients receive nothing less than high-quality service delivered with exceptional professionalism. When they need outstanding residential plumbing services, San Diego residents trust us to connect them with the finest professionals available. If you need plumbing services of any kind, call us right away at 858-208-7765.