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Water Heater Maintenance 101: What Temperature Is Best for a Hot Water Heater?

If you have a traditional tank-type water heater, you need to make sure the water heating setting is not set too high. When the water heater is set higher, you will notice that your energy bills increase because the water heater has to work harder to maintain the desired temperature setting.

Conversely, if you have your water heater turned down too low, you may run out of hot water much faster and not have enough for showers, running the dishwasher, and doing loads of laundry. Furthermore, at temperatures below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, bacteria and disease can start to grow in the water stored inside the tank, such as Legionella, a bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease.

What Temperature Setting Is Best?

An ideal setting to set the water heater to is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The water is not too hot that it could burn and scald your body and yet it is high enough to kill bacteria. This setting is well-suited for individuals, couples, and families with two children or less. Additionally, setting the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit is considered an energy-efficient setting that could help reduce your water-heating energy costs

How Can I Maintain That Temperature Setting?

Leaking Water Heater

There are several things you can do to ensure you have plenty of hot water without having to turn up the temperature setting. For every ten degrees, you increase the setting, your water heating energy costs will increase between 3 and 5 percent.

One viable option is to have your water heater repair plumber install an insulation blanket around your water heater. Adding this insulation will reduce and prevent heat loss and help maintain the water at 120 degrees.

Another option is to avoid using multiple sources of hot water at the same time. For instance, you should not run the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the shower at the same time. Instead, stagger these activities to avoid running out of hot water.

Upgrading your showerhead to a water-conserving model is another way to help reduce how much hot water you use and to maintain the desired temperature setting. When brushing teeth and shaving, shut off the water between rinsing your teeth or fill the sink with hot water for shaving, rather than just leaving the faucet running.

What if My Hot Water Heater Isn’t Keeping the Water Hot?

One common problem with tank-type heaters is the heating elements can slowly start to fail. As they do, they are not as efficient at maintaining the desired hot water temperature setting. To keep your hot water heater operating efficiently and optimally, it is recommended to schedule an annual hot water maintenance service with your plumber.

Your plumber can flush the water heater to remove sediment, as well as inspect the heating elements to ensure they are working correctly. If your water heater is nearing the end of its useful lifespan, new water heater installation could also be beneficial.

When considering a new water heater, you may want to look at a tankless water heater. Tankless heaters provide on-demand hot water and can help save even more on water heating bills. Plus, you do not have to worry about running out of hot water since the heater constantly makes it while the hot water is turned on.

If a tankless heater is not right for your hot water needs, you may want to consider upgrading to a larger storage tank to meet your home’s hot water demands.

For further assistance in setting the temperature on your hot water heater, for water heater maintenance, for water heater repair, or for help selecting a new water heater for your home, please feel free to contact MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-599-3336 today!

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