How to Save Money By Turning Down Your Water Heater Temperature
Why Lowering Your Water Heater Temperature Saves Money
Turning down the temperature on your water heater is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to reduce my energy bills and save money every month. Here’s why it works:
- Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit from the factory, but that’s much hotter than needed for most household uses like showering, washing dishes, etc.
- For every 10 degrees you reduce the temperature, you can save 3-5% on water heating costs.
- Lower temperature water heaters work just as well for most needs and you likely won’t notice the difference.
- Less heat loss means your water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to keep water hot 24/7, saving energy.
So by turning the temperature down to 120 F or lower, you can make a significant dent in your energy use and monthly utility bills. The savings really add up over time!
How to Adjust Your Water Heater’s Temperature Setting
Adjusting your water heater’s temperature is a quick and easy DIY project. Here’s how to do it in a few simple steps:
Locate the Temperature Controls
- Gas water heaters have a dial or knob to adjust the temperature. It’s usually underneath the outer metal casing.
- Electric heaters have controls behind a access panel or insulating blanket. Consult the manual if unsure.
- Turn off power to the heater before adjusting electric models.
- Some heaters have a locking cover–you’ll need a screwdriver to unlock it.
Check Current Setting and Decide on New Temperature
- Note the current setting before changing anything.
- 120 F is a good starting point, then adjust as needed for comfort.
- Measure water temperature with a food or pool thermometer to double check.
Adjust Temperature and Confirm Changes
- Turn the dial or adjust controls to desired temperature.
- For electric models, turn power back on.
- Run hot water and check new temperature at faucet.
- Give it 24 hours to stabilize before making more changes.
And that’s it! With a lower temperature set, you can enjoy extra savings each month.
Maximizing Savings from a Lower Temperature Water Heater
Here are some tips to get the most from your water heater after turning down the heat:
- Install water-saving showerheads to keep showers hot.
- Add insulation around tank to reduce standby heat loss.
- Use timer switches so heater only runs when needed.
- Limit use of hot water to save energy further.
- Consider a tankless heater for greater efficiency.
- Set hot water central heating to low temperature too.
With some small adjustments, I’ve found I can hardly notice the difference in hot water comfort after turning down my water heater. But I sure notice the extra money I’m saving when paying utility bills each month!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to turn down my water heater temperature?
Yes, lowering the temperature to 120 F or above is completely safe for most household needs. Always check your dishwasher or clothes washer manual to confirm the minimum recommended temperature.
Will I run out of hot water faster?
Possibly, though most households have adequate hot water capacity for typical use. Try staggering showers instead of running multiple at once. Adding an insulation blanket can help too.
How much money can I really save?
Savings vary based on your current temperature setting, energy costs, and more. But most people save 3-5% per 10 degrees lowered. Turning down from 140 to 120 F could save $10-20 per month or more.
What if my heater doesn’t have an adjustable thermostat?
Consider contacting a plumber to add an adjustable thermostat or mixing valve. The one-time cost will pay back over time in energy savings. Or you may need a new on-demand or tankless model.
Adjusting your household water heater to a lower temperature is one of the fastest ways to start saving money each month. It only takes a few minutes, doesn’t affect comfort or use, and the energy savings really add up over time. Give it a try and enjoy the extra spending money or savings towards other green upgrades!