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Water Heater Settings

April 21, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 135

My goal as a serviceman advisor is to save you money. How does you're your water heater relate to your wallet?

Save money through proper temperature settings.

Have I set my water temperature too high? Do I really need the water to be "That Hot"? Well, just think what a few degrees can save you when you pay your energy bill! By the way, many children in this country are burned by water coming out of an ordinary spigot. It is a great deal safer to have your water heater turned down a bit!

Ever hear that hot water gets things cleaner? Don't believe everything you hear. Most dishwashers have an element that will heat incoming water to the appropriate temperature as recommended by the dishwasher manufacturer. Most clothes washers will clean your clothes just fine with warm water. Detergents today are designed to work as well in warm water, as they would in hot water.

Let's look closer. Most water heaters have calibrations by individual hash marks and / or letters, and not temperature settings. Is this confusing? It can be but let's make it simple.

Some thermostat settings range from "Very Hot, decreasing down to "Vacation."

Others will go from "Hot" to "Warm" and down to "Vacation."

Still others have letter increments, with common settings like:


  • "Hot" = 120F
  • A = 130F
  • B = 140F
  • C = 150F
  • Very Hot = 160F

In a gas heating unit, you turn the dial to the preferred setting.

In an electric heating unit, you turn the dial with a small straight edge screw driver to the preferred setting. In electric tanks, be sure to first shut off the power supply before changing the temp.

Regardless, keep this in mind. Temperature on your water heater varies, as much as 25F. Water heater thermostats maintain a range, not a precise temperature. Residential water heaters are not designed to exceed a temperature greater than 160F. If you start at the maximum setting, knowing it is 160F, each increment, dot, hash mark or letter equals a difference of 10F. Simple...go from "A" to "B" and you raise the temp 10F. Change from "Warm" to the next setting, and you changed 10F. Look at your temp settings closely to see if you lower the settings to the left (counterclockwise) or to the right (clockwise). Both types do exist.

What about safety?

I suggest changing the temp half increments at a time, or by 5F increments. Try it, and see if the temp is suitable, before changing again. Why in half increments. I said keep it simple, look at it this way. You are perfectly healthy with a body temp of 98.6F. 10F more, or 108F, and you're probably dead. 10F according to skin temp is a lot. Try changing 5F at a time. Likewise, 120F might seem too warm, and 130F too hot, but 125F, or half an increment, just right.

Most water heater manufacturers use a chart like this:

"Time to produce 2nd degree burns on an adult"

  • 120F - More than 5 minutes
  • 130F - about 30 seconds
  • 140F - less than 5 seconds
  • 150F - about 1 1/5 seconds
  • 160F - about ½ second

Attempt to practice safety and economy by keeping your water heater temperature at safe level, as described above.

Raising the temp keeps the utility companies happy. The higher you set your temperature, the more cold water you will have to use to lower the faucet or shower to a temp that your body can tolerate.

Lowering temps from the start, just like your temp on your furnace will save you money. Industry analysts say that by reducing the temperature on your water heater by one increment, or 10F should result in an average savings of approximately 5% on your annual water heating budget. In dollars and cents, for example, if your annual water heating bill is $500.00, you just saved $25 by lowering the temp one setting.

Keep in mind, these figures are averages. There are always variables. For starters, like hot air, temperature rises. The water in your heater will be hotter on the top of the tank than on the bottom. Also, the amount of sediment deposits in your heater will directly affect the recovery and efficiency of your water heater. Imagine trying to heat water through a layer of sand. Why would you, it doesn't make sense. Well, by not properly and regularly flushing the sediment deposits out of your water heater, you're doing just that.

Adjusting the water heater thermostat to a suitable temperature means safety, efficiency and economy.

Everyone has heard that boiling water kills germs. If you set the water temperature too high, and risk getting scalded with 2nddegree burns, it's too late. You can't go back and lower the temp now, so be cautious from the start. Keep the temperature at a normal setting of around 125 degrees.

Any other questions about water heater operations or maintenance, please contact us at or you may visit our website at

Source: EzineArticles
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