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Thursday, June 20, 2024

How to Adjust Proper Water Heater Temperature for Each Season

Do you get burned every time your hot water runs? Can’t get comfortable water temperature no matter how high the tap is turned up? Your water heater may be set at the wrong temperature if you notice these signs.

A water heater set improperly can negatively impact your life, not just in plumbing-related issues. For example, your water heater consumes around some percentage of your household’s energy. The wrong adjustment of the temperature may cause a significant rise in your monthly energy bill. It also has impacts on your and your family’s safety.

The Correct Temperature for a Water Heater

Your water heater operates effectively when the temperature is between 120°F (49°C) and 140°F (60°C). A little higher setting in the winter makes up for heat loss in colder pipes. In the summer, lowering the temperature helps save energy use while maintaining comfort.

Winter Setting

In colder months, setting the temperature towards the higher end of this range (around 140 degrees) ensures that the water remains hot enough by the time it reaches your faucets, considering the heat loss in cold pipes.

Summer Setting

In the spring and summer, reduce the temperature of your water heater. You should set it to around 120°F – it is usually enough for most needs and saves energy costs. In this way, the water heater won’t be under pressure. Besides, this lower setting will protect the appliance from overheating and use less energy.

Benefits of Lowering Your Water Heater Temperature

Adjust your water heater’s temperature if you want to make your home more eco-friendly or save money on your energy bills. However, reducing the temperature of your water heater brings multiple advantages:

Reduced Risk of Scalding

Lowering your water heater’s temperature ensures you and your family are safe. Keeping the temperature lower decreases the risk of burns, which is especially important in homes with children.

Energy Savings

Heating water can consume a significant portion of household energy. By maintaining the temperature low, you will reduce the number of burner cycles that your water heater performs. Lowering the temperature reduces this consumption, translating to lower utility bills.

Longer Lifespan

When you set the water heater to a high temperature, it wears out quickly and requires more maintenance. Less heat will cause less pressure in the water heater. Operating the water heater at lower temperatures reduces wear and tear, extending its service life and reducing the likelihood of costly repairs.

Reduced Hard Water Minerals

Low water heater temperature eliminates mineral deposits, which can cause corrosion in your appliance and affect its performance and lifespan. Maintaining a low temperature prevents these minerals from accumulating and keeps your water heater in top shape for years.

How to Adjust a Water Heater Temperature

Modifying your water heater temperature is a simple process but requires careful attention to safety and detail.

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker – Before any adjustment, ensure the water heater’s power source is turned off at the circuit breaker to avoid electrical hazards. This step is crucial for both electric and gas heaters.
  2. Disassemble the access panel and remove the insulation – Locate the thermostat, usually hidden behind an access panel on the water heater. In order to reach the thermostat, take off this panel and peel off the insulation.
  3. You can set the thermostat by using a screwdriver – Most devices display the temperature range clearly. If you have two thermostats, set the top one a little higher than the bottom one.
  4. Enclose everything and restart the water heater – After adjusting, you should reattach the insulation and the access panel securely. Reset the circuit breakers to restore the water heater power. For gas heaters, re-ignite the pilot light if necessary.

How to Measure Your Water Temperature

To verify the accuracy of your adjustments, you should measure the water temperature directly from a faucet:

  1. The first step is to run the hot water – Let it flow for a while to reach its highest temperature.
  2. Use a thermometer – You should put a kitchen thermometer under running water to measure the exact temperature.
  3. Make adjustments if necessary – Adjust the thermostat again if the temperature value is not within your desired range.

Seasonal Adjustments

Different seasons may require different settings for optimal performance:

  • Spring and fall –These transitional seasons require minor adjustments, typically around the 120-degree mark, balancing comfort with energy savings.
  • Winter considerations – In winter, increase the temperature slightly to offset heat loss in cold pipes, but be cautious not to exceed 140 degrees.
  • Summer adjustments – Lower the temperature during summer to save on energy as the demand for hot water typically decreases.

Water Heater Maintenance – Additional Tips

  • Insulation – Insulating your water pipes can reduce heat loss, allowing you to maintain lower temperatures even in winter. Experts suggest wrapping old water heaters in insulation.
  • Regular maintenance – Annual checkups by a professional plumber can ensure your plumbing system is running efficiently and help you avoid any unexpected issues. Once a year, test the temperature relief valve. You should also clean your water heater annually.
  • Safety first – Always prioritise safety, especially when adjusting temperatures in households with vulnerable individuals.

Adjusting Water Heater Temperature by Yourself vs Hiring a Professional

It is easy to set the temperature of your water heater; however, safety concerns exist. If you are not confident enough to work with gas or electricity water heaters, you can call a reliable plumber to check the appliance. Leaving the job to professionals will give you peace of mind.

A good plumber will also help fix any issues with the water heater and provide advice on maintaining it. Remember, such appliances need regular maintenance to function properly.


Adjusting your hot water temperature when needed is an efficient way to manage your household’s energy efficiency and ensure comfort and safety. Whether you handle these adjustments yourself or enlist plumbing services, remember that a well-maintained water heater is key to efficient home heating.

Regular consultations with a professional plumber can provide additional insights into optimising your water heater temperature for each season, ensuring your system operates at its best year-round.

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