how to adjust the water heater temperature

If the water coming out of your faucet is hot enough to make coffee, there might be a problem with the temperature your water heater is set to. Properly setting the temperature of your water heater matters because it directly impacts your health and safety at home. The temperature of the water heater will also affect your heating costs. So if you need to know how to adjust the water heater temperature, read on.


The right temperature for your water heater 


You might not want a cold shower during winter, but the risk of getting scalded, especially when you have children and senior adults at home, is even worse. Many experts recommend setting the water heater to 120 degrees F to avoid scalding, although the common default setting is 140 degrees.  Setting the water heater below 120 degrees will make your warm water feel lukewarm, at best. This temperature may also lead to bacterial growth. The bacteria causing Legionnaire’s disease will thrive at this temperature, among other organisms.


How to adjust the water heater temperature 


Fortunately, it’s possible to make temperature adjustments on most water heaters similarly, no matter the type. 


For tankless water heaters:


To adjust the temperature in a tankless water heater, use the digital control panel. It’s easy and pretty straightforward.  Every tankless water heater has a LED panel that you can set to any temperature you desire. 


For electric water heaters: 


Using a screwdriver, remove the cover panels on the front side of the unit, so you can access the thermostat. Remove the added insulation to reveal the temperature controls. The temperature dials may vary, but they should be easy to locate. The dials can be numerically and alphabetically set. Adjust the dials accordingly.  You’ll have to set both of the thermostats to your desired temperature. Both thermostats should have the same settings. 


For gas water heaters: 


Adjusting the temperature in a gas water heater is closely similar to setting the temperature in an electric water heater.  However, you may have to relight the pilot light in gas water heaters.


How long should you wait after adjusting the water heater temperature?


We recommend waiting for at least 3 hours before checking the temperature of the water again.

You may have to do more adjustments until you’re satisfied with the temperature setting for your home. 


Hot water problems? Contact us! 


When all you want is a bubble bath or a warm shower, but your water is unusually cold, it may be due to sediment buildup,  insulation issues, or faulty heating elements, rather than the water heater temperature.  If you’ve adjusted the water heater temperature and the water is still cold, the water heater may require replacement or repair.  A qualified, experienced plumber can properly diagnose a malfunctioning water heater and provide the best solution. 


For all your water heater needs, CONTACT US! From installing a water heater that’s right for you to getting your system ready for issues before they arise, our plumbing and heating experts can help. 

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