What temperature should your water heater be set at?

Nobody likes cold showers let alone scolding hot ones. Finding the perfect medium for a safe water heater temperature can be confusing. The internet will tell you one thing but family members will say another thing. Instead of winging it, take this advice from our Omaha plumbers.

Why it’s important to have a safe water heater temperature!   

People make the mistake of either leaving their water heaters too low or high, and  both options can give you dangerous consequences. Turning temperature too high on your water heater can cause dangerous burns. But, leaving your water heater temperature too low can result in the formation of a bacteria called Legionella. This bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ Disease and pose a health risk.

What to consider when setting your water heater

Every family is different so it’s important to find the safe water heater temperature best for your home. These are factors you need to take into account before increasing or decreasing the temperature of the water heater.


Protect your bundle of joy from getting burned. A child’s skin is sensitive compared to adults. If your water heater is at 150 degrees, then it can take just two seconds for a child to receive third-degree burns. Even if you have the water heater on manufacture setting at 140 degrees, it can take five minutes for a child to get third-degree burns.  Professional recommend that the water heater should be set at 120 degrees.


Not everyone has the same immune system. Some people can withstand more than others. It’s recommended to set the water heater at 140 degrees if people in your home have a suppressed immune system or respiratory diseases. Water tanks that are left at 120 degrees have a slight risk of promoting legionella bacteria.


Believe it or not, but depending on the kind of dishwasher you have can mean a lot. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a preheat feature, then it’s recommended to keep your water heater at 140 degrees. The hot water will ensure your dishes stay clean and free of bacteria. If the water is too cold, then it won’t be able to kill any bacteria that’s growing inside your dishwasher.

How to adjust the temperature on your water heater.

Before you adjust the temperature on a water heater, you need to know what kind of water heater your home has. There are two kinds of water heaters-  gas and electric.

A gas water heater is simpler to adjust. Just turn the dial on the front of the gas control valve and set the temperature. A gas water heater has a range between 90 to 110 degrees.

An electric water heater is harder to adjust than a gas water heater. You have to turn off the breaker. If you have a double element water heater then you need to remove the upper and lower access panels.

If you have a single element water heater then you need to remove the lower access panel. The next step is to remove the insulation that’s behind the panel. Once you can see the thermostat you can adjust the temperature. Then just make sure to put everything back.

If you need need assistance adjusting the temperature of your water heater, give us a call. We can send one of our Omaha plumbers to check it and give you advice for the best safe water heater temperature you family needs.


With our team of qualified, courteous ServiceOne air conditioning professionals, we will keep your home or business comfortable year-round! For over 25 years, ServiceOne has been trusted to provide top-notch sales and service to homes and businesses in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area and in Dubuque, Iowa. With over 90 employees standing by ready to help, you can always trust us to deliver 100% satisfactory service. We also offer home warranty & service agreements, plumbing serviceselectrical services, appliance repair, and help with generators and home and business automation. For more information about our services, contact us today!

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