How To Turn Up The Water Heater

Water heater temperature needs to be 120-140 degrees
August 15, 2023

Water heaters heat up the water in our home so we aren’t taking cold showers and can wash our clothes in a warmer temperature. They are an essential part of our home and need to be maintained. Also, it is important to know if your water heater is at the right temperature. Wondering how to turn up the water heater? This is determined by the type of heater you have, whether it is electric, tankless, or gas.

Temperature Range For Water Heaters

Maintaining the correct temperature in your water heater is crucial to ensure safety and energy efficiency. The recommended temperature range for most households is between 120°F (49°C) and 140°F (60°C). This temperature range helps prevent scalding while still being hot enough for everyday use.

One important consideration when setting the temperature of your heater is the risk of Legionella bacteria growth. Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause severe respiratory illness if it is inhaled through water droplets. To minimize the risk of Legionella growth, most experts recommend keeping your water heater at a minimum temperature of 140°F (60°C).

Tools Needed

The only tool necessary for this job is a screwdriver.

Adjusting the temperature on a water heater.

Adjusting The Water Heater’s Temperature

Depending on the type of water heater you have will determine what you need to do to raise the temperature. Let’s take a look.

Turn Up the Temperature On An Electric Water Heater

There are a few steps for adjusting the temperature of the electric water heater. You will see it is very similar to gas water heaters that we will talk about a little later.

  1. Go to the circuit breaker for your home and turn off the power. You may have two breakers since most electric units use 240 volts.
  2. Go to your thermostat and remove the access panel. Behind the cover may be a thin sheet of insulation. If there is, take that off to look at the thermostat.
  3. Using a screwdriver, you will adjust the water temperature. Keep in mind that if it is above 120 degrees, Fahrenheit you could burn yourself.
  4. Put the insulation back on the panel and flip the circuit breaker to turn the unit back on.
  5. Test the temperature after three hours and adjust it as needed.

Turning Up Tankless Water Heaters

To adjust the temperature on a tankless water heater, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you can access the temperature controls through a digital interface or control panel. Use the provided buttons or dials to increase the temperature as desired. Remember to take caution not to set the temperature too high, as it may lead to scalding.

Gas water heaters need temperature raised too.

Turning Up A Gas Water Heater

For gas water heaters, locate the temperature dial on the front or side of the unit. Use a screwdriver or similar tool to adjust the temperature dial to your desired setting. Be cautious not to set it too high to avoid scalding.

Best Temperature Setting for Water Heater

While the suggested temperature range for most households is 120°F (49°C) to 140°F (60°C), the best temperature setting will depend on individual preferences and needs. If you have young children or seniors in your household, it may be wise to lower the temperature slightly to minimize the risk of scalding accidents.

Check out the video below on how to turn up the temperature for an electric water heater.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about adjusting the temperature on water heaters, let’s take a look at a few other areas of maintenance.

One of those is how long it takes a water heater to heat up. It will depend on the type and it will range from 30 minutes to one hour. It is important to make sure you give your new water heater time to do that.

Next, while you are thinking about the water heater, you want to know why your shower is squealing. It could be due to an old shower head or limescale buildup on the shower head. Maintaining the shower head is important so you can have a nice shower as well as not hear a squealing sound.

Finally, if you have a gas water heater, you may wonder if it runs on electricity. Well, the pilot light runs on electricity, but the rest of the water heater does not.

When to Call a Professional

If you are unsure about adjusting the temperature of your water heater or if you encounter any issues during the process, it is recommended to call a professional plumber or technician. They have the necessary expertise to handle the task safely and effectively.


Having the correct temperature for your water is essential for safety and efficiency. Remember to consider Legionella concerns and adjust the temperature accordingly. Follow the provided instructions for turning up tankless, gas, or electric water heaters, and always prioritize safety. When in doubt, consult a professional to ensure the proper functioning of your water heater. If you are having other issues in the home, it may be time for a home inspection. Reach out to Edifice Inspections in Peachtree Corners, GA for a full home inspection.


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