4 Plumber's Tips for Raising Your Water Heater Temperature

Nov 07, 2022

If your water heater isn’t heating your water high enough to meet your preferences, you might be tempted to raise its temperature. While you can sometimes safely raise your thermostat’s temperature on your own, you should know a few tips from expert plumbers before you try it. With the right plumbing tips in your corner, you can ensure your water heater temperature is safe and your water heater is running at its best.

1. Avoid Raising Your Temperature Past 120 Degrees

While you can raise your water heater’s temperature past 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll typically want to keep it at this temperature. If you set it past 120 degrees, you’ll run the risk of scalding and burns. Those most at risk of scalding include children due to their thinner skin and the elderly due to their slower reaction times, reduced sensitivity, and more limited mobility. Based on these risks, most manufacturers, plumbers, and the Department of Energy recommend keeping most water heaters at 120 degrees

If you think your water heater should be set past 120 degrees, consult a trained plumber first to see if it’s safe or needed. For example, they might recommend adjusting your thermostat to 140 degrees if you have a chronic respiratory disease or suppressed immune system, as legionellae bacteria can grow in tanks maintained at 120 degrees. Though the majority of the population isn’t put at risk by this bacteria, those with certain health conditions will need to keep their water heater at a higher temperature. 

2. Check Your Temperature Before You Raise It

Though checking your temperature before you raise it might seem obvious, it’s something homeowners occasionally overlook. To check your temperature, first look at the temperature dial to see what your water heater is currently set to. Next, measure the water’s temperature by running a tap farthest from the water heater and using a thermometer. Once your thermometer identifies the temperature, see if your dial’s setting matches the thermometer’s reading.

If it does match your thermometer, you can go ahead and raise the temperature. However, if the dial isn’t the same as the thermometer, you may have a safety issue, as your dial isn’t heating the water to your exact specification. As a result, you could be at risk of receiving hotter water than you intended, raising the risk of burns. To fix this issue,  you can reach out to a plumber to inspect your thermostat dial and water heater before making any needed repairs.

3. Have A Professional Plumber Change an Electric Tank Water Heater’s Temperature

Though you can usually change a gas water heater’s temperatures with an easy-to-use dial, electric water heaters tend to be more complicated. Since electric water heaters usually hide their temperature dials under access panels, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to remove the panel and change the temperature for you. You can also have the plumber inspect your water heater during their appointment to see if your unit needs any repairs or maintenance.

4. Contact a Professional Plumber If Raising the Water Heater Temperature Doesn’t Work

If your water still isn’t hot enough after you’ve raised your water heater temperature, your water heater likely has something wrong with it that needs to be repaired. For example, too much sediment build-up in your water heater’s tank can cause it to clog, leading to reduced efficiency and the unit not heating your water to its set temperature. A trained plumber can flush your tank for you to get rid of the sediment and ensure your water heater works appropriately.

When sediment build-up isn’t the reason behind a water heater that’s not heating your water correctly, a plumber can perform a number of checks to spot the source of the issue. Your pilot light may have gone out, you could have had a power surge, or there could be something else that needs to be repaired. Whatever the reason, a trained plumber can perform a full inspection to locate any problems and fix them.

Choose Newcomb and Company for Water Heater Service in Raleigh

If you’re looking for water heater service and a plumber in Raleigh, North Carolina, Newcomb and Company has you covered. Our plumbing services include water heater inspections, repairs, and replacements. When your water heater temperature isn’t giving you the performance you need, our team can find the cause of the issue and repair it for you. We’re also happy to discuss water heater temperature safety with you if you’re not sure whether you can safely raise your water heater temperature. 

Learn more about our water heater services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

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