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How to Turn Up Your Water Heater

How to Turn Up Your Water Heater

No one enjoys a lukewarm or cold bath or shower, and if this is happening to you, you might be wondering about the possibility of turning up your water heater to increase the temperature. How do you turn up a water heater?

At Neighborly Plumbing & Services, we're proud to offer an extensive range of plumbing repair services to clients around Salt Lake City, Millcreek, Park City and surrounding areas, including everything from drain cleaning and sewer line repairs to important tasks like water heater services and more. In this blog, we'll discuss why water heater temperature is important and some basic steps on how to turn up your water heater if you desire higher temperatures. We'll lay out the basic steps for this task on a DIY basis, but always remember that you can contact our team of plumbers for assistance at any time if you're uncomfortable. 

Why Proper Water Heater Temperature Matters

The first and largest reason why water heater temperature is important is relatively apparent: Comfort. As we noted in the introduction, most people prefer their showers and baths to be nice and warm - not hot enough to scald, but certainly not lukewarm or cold either. If your water heater isn't generating the proper temperature level, it's simply not doing its job properly.

Another major reason why proper water heater temperature is important: Safety. Water heaters have a temperature limit for a reason - if the water gets too hot, it can pose serious risks to you and your family. Young children and elderly individuals are especially vulnerable to scalding accidents caused by overly hot water, so it's important to ensure that your heater is set at a safe but still comfortable temperature.

There are also considerations like bacterial growth to keep in mind. Some studies have shown that bacteria like Legionella grow more quickly in temperatures below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, for instance.

General Appropriate Ranges

While there are exceptions and specific cases that may call for slightly different settings, here's a general guideline for appropriate water heater temperature ranges:

  • If your household only has adults, 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit is often the ideal range. This will allow you to use hot water comfortably while mitigating risks.
  • If you have children or elderly individuals in your home, it's wise to lower the temperature to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit. This will still provide warm water for comfortable use, but reduces the risk of scalding accidents.

Turning Up Gas or Electric Water Heaters

For the vast majority of modern gas or electric tank format water heaters, turning the temperature up (or down) involves using a screwdriver to access the device's control panel and thermostat. Again, if you need assistance with any of these steps, simply contact our team for help.

The steps are as follows, with some exceptions that will be noted in your water heater's manual:

  • Power off: Before making any adjustments, make sure your water heater is turned off and unplugged from its power source. Also flip its circuit breaker off.
  • Access panel: Use a screwdriver to remove the access panel on the side of your water heater. This will reveal the thermostat and other controls.
  • Peel back insulation: Most water heaters have an insulating layer that covers the thermostat. Peel this back to access the temperature control.
  • Screwdriver to adjust thermostat: Using a flathead screwdriver, turn the thermostat to adjust it up or down. There will likely be a knob that indicates which direction is hotter and colder.
  • Second thermostat: Some water heaters come with a second, lower thermostat for the bottom of the tank. If this is the case for yours, adjust it as well using the same adjustments as the first.
  • Replace insulation and panel: Once you've made your desired adjustments, replace the insulation and access panel. Restore power to your water heater.

Turning Up Tankless Water Heaters

For tankless water heaters, which are becoming more popular in recent years, these steps tend to be much simpler. This process tends to mirror that of adjusting a heating and air conditioning thermostat - you simply locate the control panel, press a button or two and follow the prompts to adjust the temperature as needed. Consult your specific tankless water heater manual for exact steps.

If at any point during this process you feel uncomfortable or unsure, please remember that Neighborly Plumbing & Services is always here to help. We can assist with all aspects of water heater temperature adjustments and other repairs or replacements as needed. We also offer regular maintenance services to ensure your water heater is functioning properly and safely at all times. Don't hesitate to reach out to our team for any plumbing needs you may have in the Salt Lake City area, or around Millcreek and Park City!

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To serve our Wasatch neighbors in their plumbing, drain, and renovation needs. We are committed to giving you a reliable, fair, and ethical service with our local, experienced team. We strive to ensure that once our services are done, you will never need to call another plumber again.
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