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7 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Water Heater Temperature

Ideal Water Heater Temperature Setting Guide
Ideal Water Heater Temperature Setting Guide

What Temperature Should a Hot Water Heater be Set At?

Who doesn’t tinker with their valve at least a couple of times to get that perfectly-hot shower? It makes sense too. Hot water at the right temperature can be soothing. At the wrong temperature, it can be downright unsafe.

Setting the right outlet water temperature for you water heater is not just about enjoying hot showers. An incorrectly set water heater temperature can lead to higher utility bills or risks like scalding. In this article, we will look at seven factors that you must consider when setting your water heater’s outlet temperature. Factor #5 and factor #6 are specifically geared towards water heater temperature setting for restaurants and hotels respectively. We recommend considering these seven factors every time you decide to change your set temperature. 

#1 - High Water Heater Temperature Can Lead to Burns and Scalding

Water with a very high temperature can pose safety risks like burns and scalding. Direct contact can lead to physical injuries like scalding. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): 

  • It only takes two seconds of exposure for 150 degrees Fahrenheit water to cause third-degree burns.
  • Water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit = six seconds of exposure for third-degree burns
  • Water at 130 degrees Fahrenheit = about thirty seconds of exposure for third-degree burns
Ideal Water Heater Temperature

#2 - You Can Reduce Your Utility Bills By Changing Your Water Heater Temperature

The set-point temperature of your water heater impacts your utility bills. A higher set-point temperature would result in higher utility bills. Lowering your water heater’s set point temperature can help you save 4-22% on your utility bills and possibly an amount above $400, according to the Department of Energy

Water Heater Temperature Costs

#3 - Water Heater Temperature Can Hamper the Performance of Your Appliances like Dishwashers

Some appliances’ functioning is linked to the hot water temperature that they receive. For instance, dishwashers operate most optimally when the hot water they receive is above 130 degrees Fahrenheit. According to dishwashing products manufacturer, Finish, “an average dishwasher temperature runs its main cycle at about 130-140°F. This is because the temperature of water in the dishwasher needs to be hot enough to ensure that the detergent is fully dissolved and activated, while also dislodging any leftover food and grease.”

#4 - Ideal Water Heater Temperature Can Help You Fight Against Pathogens Like Legionella

Water temperature is also linked to another form of safety. Water in your homes and piping can provide the ideal thriving conditions for harmful pathogens like Legionella bacteria. If water is above a certain temperature, it can usually combat such contaminants. Hence, you should ensure that your water heater temperature is capable of mitigating commonly found aqueous pathogens. There might be a small risk of Legionella contamination even when your water heater’s temperature is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Department of Energy.

#5 - Your Water Heater Temperature Will Impact Your Perfectly Hot Shower

So, let’s clear one thing: the water heater’s temperature setting only controls the maximum temperature that the water is being heated to. Valves/knobs (controlled by you) in your hot water fixtures determine the actual temperature of hot water you receive from that fixture. So, your water heater will only deliver water at the temperature it is set to. Your fixtures will mix that hot water with cold water to meet your desired outlet temperature. However, if your water heater’s set point temperature is too low, your fixtures might not have enough hot water to provide you with the temperature you desire. 

#6 - Restaurants Need to Set Their Water Heater Temperature According to Local Regulations for Different Fixtures

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires all commercial facilities to ensure that their water heater delivers hot water at a temperature more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit to sinks in public restrooms. Several regulatory bodies also recommend commercial dishwashers to use hot water with a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact regulation will differ based on the region. Such regulations must be kept in mind when selecting the ideal water heater temperature for your restaurant. In many cases, external equipment like anti-scald valves might be needed to ensure a different maximum temperature for different fixtures.

#7 - Hotels Need to Set Their Water Heater Temperature According to Local Regulations

Similar to restaurants, hotels and hospitality facilities also have strict government regulations to follow when it comes to the temperature of water exiting their fixtures. For instance, the state of California requires that any tap delivering more than 125 degrees Fahrenheit in a public space should have a warning sign prominently displayed at least 5 feet high. Moreover, several hotels and hospitality facilities also include commercial kitchens and restaurants. In such cases, regulations concerned with dishwashing temperature need to be followed as well.

One Infographic to Summarize It All

How to Select a Tankless Water Heater Based On Any Set Temperature Instantly

Now you know some factors to consider when setting your ideal water heater temperature. However, the next step involves picking the ideal tankless water heater based on your set temperature and hot water demand. You can conduct some complicated calculations and guess your hot water usage patterns. Or, you can use our instant sizing calculator.

Simply input your basic fixture and property details to get three different options of tankless water heating systems instantly. Based on historical data and advanced models, our calculator guarantees accurate results. If our recommendations fail to meet your hot water demand, we pay for any additional equipment charges. You can conduct an infinite number of calculations. So you can use this tool to experiment with your set temperature and compare different system designs too.