Setting the Water Temperature on Your Water Heater

Adjusting the water temperature on the water heater depends on the type of tank. Lowering the water temperature by keeping it at 140 degrees to 120 degrees can cut water heating costs by 6% to 7%. 

Water Temperature Setting 

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that a water temperature of 120 degrees is sufficient for household use without the danger of scalding. The recommended water temperature is 130 degrees to prevent bacterial growth that can cause Legionnaires disease. 

Adjusting Water Temperature 

Adjusting the temperature on a water heater varies according to the type of tank. Look in the operating manual for specific instructions. 

Electric Water Heaters 

Water temperature is controlled by a thermostat. Turn off power, uncover the temperature control and turn the control to the desired water temperature. Most electric water heaters are equipped with two thermostats located at the top and bottom of the unit. Make sure both thermostats are set at the same water temperature. 

Gas Water Heaters 

Gas water heaters have on temperature control found at the bottom of the tank. Sometimes the control is exposed or it is concealed under a plate. Rotate the thermostat to adjust the water temperature. 

Oil water heaters 

The water temperature on an oil water heater is adjusted by using a knob on the side of the tank.