Water heating provides us with warm water for bathing, cleaning, and other household tasks. However, controlling the temperature on an electric water heater can sometimes be confusing.

That’s why we’ve created this blog post to provide you with the necessary information on adjusting the temperature of your unit.

How electric water heaters work

Electric water heaters are a common household appliance that heats and stores hot water for daily use. The main components of an electric water heater include the tank, heating elements, thermostat, and temperature adjustment knobs.

Inside the tank is a heater core, which is responsible for heating the water to desired temperatures. Energy from electricity passes through these heating elements, causing them to heat up and transfer the heat to the water.

The thermostat, which is usually located near the top of the tank, monitors and regulates the temperature of the water. The temperature adjustment knobs allow you to adjust this temperature according to your needs.

Why would you need to adjust the temperature of your water heater?

There are a few reasons why you may need to adjust the temperature of your electric water heater. The first is simply for personal preference—everyone has their own idea of what the perfect water temperature is for them.

Another reason could be energy efficiency. By lowering the temperature, you can reduce your energy usage and save money on utility bills.

Additionally, adjusting the temperature is important for safety. Water that’s too hot can cause scalding and burns, especially for children or elderly individuals with sensitive skin.

What temperature your water heater should be at

The recommended temperature range for electric water heaters is between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason: this range is carefully balanced for comfort and safety.

At temperatures lower than 120 degrees, there’s a risk of bacteria growth in the unit. Bacteria can thrive in warm environments, and if present in your unit, it can contaminate the water and potentially cause health problems. By keeping your water heater at a minimum of 120 degrees, you can prevent bacteria growth and maintain the health and safety of your household.

On the other hand, temperatures higher than 140 degrees pose a greater risk of accidental scalding. This is especially concerning for showers, bathtubs, and bathroom sinks. Hot water at temperatures above 140 degrees can cause severe burns on the skin, making it crucial to keep your water heater within this recommended range.

It’s important to note that different taps and faucets in your home may have varying temperatures due to distance from the water heater and other factors.

How to adjust the temperature on an electric water heater

Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step on how to adjust the temperature of your electric water heater.

Step 1: Turn off the unit’s circuit breaker

Before adjusting the temperature, turn off the circuit breaker to cut off the electricity going to the unit. This will ensure safety. You can find this breaker in your home’s electrical panel.

Step 2: Remove the access panel and peel back the insulation

The access panel will be attached to the body of the water heater tank. You’ll need to use a screwdriver to open it.

Afterward, peel back the insulation blocking the temperature controls. Be sure to be gentle and make sure you’re not bending or tearing it, as it’s an important component that ensures the unit functions as intended.

Step 3: Adjust the thermostat

You should see a plastic or metal dial labeled with temperature markings. Simply use a flathead screwdriver to turn the dial of the thermostat.

Step 4: Close everything, turn on the circuit breaker, and restart the unit

Once you’ve adjusted the temperature to your requirements, place the insulation back and re-screw the access panel shut. You can then turn on the unit’s circuit breaker and restart the unit.

Having problems with your water heater? Contact J. Blanton

If you’re experiencing any further issues with your water heater or plumbing, it may be time to contact a plumber. While you may be tempted to try do it yourself fixes, it’s best to have an experienced professional handle the job to prevent any further damage.

A plumber will be able to effectively diagnose the issue and efficiently address it. They can also perform regular maintenance on your system.

If you live in the Chicagoland area, consider J. Blanton Plumbing. We’ve been serving local homeowners and have been the preferred provider of plumbing services for over 30 years.

Get in touch with us by giving us a call or through our contact form!