How to Reset Water Heater Temperatures for Summer


How to Reset Water Heater Temperatures for Summer

Savvy, energy-conscious homeowners are always looking for ways to save money and conserve natural resources. According to the Department of Energy, water heating is the second largest energy consumer in the average home after the costs to heat and cool a home. The water heater accounts for around 18 percent of utility costs. One easy way to save on water-heating costs is to reset water heater temperatures. Once the summer weather rolls around, most people don’t use very hot water anyway.


Manufacturers typically preset water heaters at 120ºF. There are a number of advantages to the preset standard, including having very hot water for washing dishes and clothing and killing bacteria in the plumbing.

However, there are downsides to this temperature and upsides to lowering it:

  • With very hot water, the chance of scalding exists. A lower setting offsets this risk.
  • Some sources report a savings of 5 percent for every 10 degrees you can dial down the temperature setting.

However, people with compromised immune systems should maintain the 120 degree setting to avoid potential issues with bacteria at all costs. Additionally, if you decide to lower the setting, be sure your dishwasher operates with a temperature booster so the water will be hot enough to kill germs.

A Guide for Changing the Setting

A homeowner with solid plumbing skills may be able to change the water heater temperature without calling in a professional, but this should be reserved for those that feel confident in their mechanical skills. There should be a dial on the exterior that you can easily change. But of course, there’s a catch. Sometimes, these dials/thermostats aren’t accurate. Because you’ll deal with serious issues if the water isn’t hot enough, it’s best to use a separate thermostat to test the water, and then adjust the setting. Take the temperature at the water stream farthest away from the water heater. Adjust the dial, wait, and take the temperature again. It may take several tries to get the temperature to the setting you want, and you should be careful around high water temperatures.

Do You Need Professional Help?

You’ll feel much more confident in your temperature setting if you call in a professional to make sure the job is done right by someone with knowledge and experience. In fact, if you schedule annual maintenance for the water heater, part of the service includes tasks like calibrating the thermostat. In addition, you’ll benefit from other services included, such as flushing the system and cleaning the heating element.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons