Should I Turn Up My Water Heater’s Temperature Over the Winter?

Dec 06, 2021

Over the winter, you might notice your home’s water not heating up as fast as it used to or not heating up at all. One of the primary reasons behind this issue is often cold weather affecting your water heater. While one of the simplest solutions is to turn up your water heater’s temperature, it’s not the best solution. Find out more about how cold weather impacts your water heater and why you shouldn’t turn up your water heater’s temperature during the winter.

How Your Water Heater Is Impacted by the Winter

When the winter hits, it doesn’t just make the outdoors colder, as extended periods of cold weather will lower the temperature underground. Since your home’s water has to pass through pipes underneath your home, the lower underground temperatures will cause the water in the pipes to be much colder than in warmer periods.

This increase in cold water causes your water heater to use more energy and work harder to warm your home’s water in the winter. While some water heaters can compensate for the increase in colder water, older or damaged units will usually be less efficient and struggle to heat your water properly.

Why You Shouldn’t Turn Up Your Water Heater’s Temperature

Since the winter can impact your water heater’s abilities to adequately warm your water, you might wonder if you should turn up your water heater’s temperature. While adjusting your water heater’s temperature can help you receive warmer water, it can also be dangerous and isn’t recommended.

One of the biggest reasons not to adjust your water heater’s temperature is because it can be a safety risk. Most water heaters are set to 120-degrees, as higher temperatures can cause scalding. Even though it might be tempting to turn up your water heater’s temperature in the winter, you’ll be putting yourself and others with sensitive skin, such as elderly people or children, at greater risk of burns. Due to this risk, you should always avoid turning up your water heater past 120-degrees.

Another major reason not to adjust your water heater’s temperature is if you don’t live in an especially cold climate. Since more temperate winters won’t cause your water to be as cold, turning up your water above 120 degrees won’t provide you with any benefit like it could in a colder climate and raises the chance you scald or burn yourself.

What to Do Instead of Adjusting Your Water Heater

Though adjusting your water heater’s temperature can give you warmer water over the winter, a plumbing professional can often help you find a safer solution than changing the temperature. For example, if you have an inefficient older unit, a plumbing professional could replace your unit with a more effective one. Regardless of why your water heater isn’t delivering warm water, it’s always best to call a professional for water heater temperature insight instead of turning up the temperature yourself.

Turn to Newcomb and Company for Expert Water Heater Temperature Insight

If you’re suffering from colder than normal water this winter, our team at Newcomb and Company can help. We proudly provide water heater maintenance and repair services to our clients in Wilmington, Raleigh, and the surrounding areas. When your water heater is outdated and won’t benefit from maintenance, we can also provide water heater replacement services where we’ll remove your old unit and install a new one meeting your home’s exact requirements.

Review our full range of plumbing services today. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment.

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