How To Set Your Water Heater Temperature

Setting the right temperature for your water heater is crucial; water that is too hot may cause severe burns, especially for children and the elderly. But if the water is not hot enough, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cause contamination. If left unaddressed, this may lead to the risk of Legionnaires disease, a serious type of lung infection. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the recommended setting for your heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To check your water heater’s temperature and adjust it to the correct setting, here’s what you should do:

Determine the Water Heater’s Current Temperature

Before adjusting your water heater’s thermostat, it’s best to find out its current temperature to know how much you’ll need to change and get the preferred setting. To do this, fill a glass with water from the faucet closest to the heater and check its temperature with a cooking thermometer. Once you get an accurate reading, it’s time to calibrate the thermostat. 

Setting a Gas Water Heater Temperature

Of course, the first thing to do is turn off the machine’s power at the circuit breaker. After that, you must locate the thermostat dial, depending on the type and model of your water heater. For those with gas heaters, they typically find these near the bottom of the unit.

Here, all you need to do is turn the knob to increase or decrease the thermostat’s settings. Then, after three to four hours, you can recheck the water’s temperature. In case you haven’t achieved the desired setting yet, simply repeat the process.

Setting an Electric Water Heater Temperature

Compared to gas water heaters, most electric units have two thermostats found at the top and bottom of the machine. These are located behind access panels, which are sometimes insulated, that you’ll have to open with a screwdriver.

With the screwdriver, you can adjust the temperature accordingly. Since there are two thermostats, make sure they’re calibrated in the same setting. Once you’re done, replace the access panels and power up the machine. Then, check the water temperature using the previous method and repeat the steps if necessary. 

Get Reliable Water Heater Services

While these steps are helpful, it may still be difficult to calibrate the water heater temperature on your own. If you are unfamiliar with your unit and want the help of a professional, Contact HJ Pertzborn Plumbing & Fire Protection. We offer water heater installations, repairs, and maintenance services in Madison, WI.