Lower the Water Heater Temperature and Save – Sobieski Services | DE, NJ, PA, MD

Lower the Water Heater Temperature and Save

Most homeowners are familiar with how to set their programmable thermostat for energy savings when heating or cooling your home’s air. Yet, you can also take advantage of setting water heater thermostats to save on energy usage. With a few simple steps, you can save significantly on your home’s water-heating bills.


While manufacturers often set water heater thermostats at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, most households only really require a temperature of 120 degrees for the great majority of hot water uses. By setting your water heater temperature a bit lower, you can:

  • Slow the buildup of minerals and corrosion in your water heater and pipes
  • Reduce standby heat lost into the surrounding basement area
  • Lessen consumption of heated water based on demand and use,
  • Lower the risks of household members being scalded by overly hot water.

Granted, in some situations, hotter water is preferable, especially for people with a suppressed immune system or chronic respiratory disease. Although there is a slight risk of promoting legionellae bacteria in water tanks, 120 degrees Fahrenheit is safe for most households.

Take Action

You can find the thermostat on gas-fueled storage water heaters near the tank bottom, while electric models may have multiple heating elements and thermostats. Electric unit thermostats may be concealed behind screw-on plates or panels, and you should turn off the electricity before opening.

  • Measure the current water heater temperature at the tap that is farthest away to avoid inaccuracy.
  • Mark the beginning temperature with a felt marker, then lower the temperature.
  • After a few hours, measure the water heater temperature again, and make adjustments.
  • Finish by marking the new temperature, in case of future adjustments.

Afterwards, remember to turn off the water heater or lower the temperature when you are away for at least three days. Electric units can be easily switched off by switching off the circuit breaker, and gas models should only be turned off if you know how to safely relight the pilot light.

For more expert advice on saving energy and home comfort issues, please contact us at Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues specific to HVAC & plumbing systems.

Photo Credit: kenteegardin via Compfight cc

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