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There is a limit to how hot your water can run when you turn on the water from the faucet and crank it all the way to its “warm” setting. There is actually a certain temperature that water in your water heater can be set to in order to change how hot the water can get, and many homeowners are unaware that this aspect of their water can be “customized”, for lack of a better word.

There are usually two recommended temperatures that specialists from your water heater repair Sacramento, CA will suggest. These are 120- and-140 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are strong arguments for either of these temperatures. Which one do we suggest? It’s actually up to the homeowner. Here are the reasons behind both options for you to make a sound decision:

Why 120 Degrees?

120 Degrees is the recommended max temperature for water heaters, according to both the American Society of Sanitary Engineering and the US Department of Energy.

Firstly, setting the max temperature to 120 degrees prevents the water from scalding your skin. At 140 degrees, water can burn the skin in seconds. In comparison, it will take less than two minutes for water that is 120 degrees to burn your skin.

Slightly colder water will also prevent mineral deposits from building up in your pipework. This will keep water flowing without any issues such as turning into hard water later on.

Reducing the temperature to 120 degrees can also save you money; up to 60 dollars from your utility bill each year to be precise.

Finally, the reduction in temperature also uses less energy, thus making it better for the environment. Energy is used to heat your water, and using less will preserve that energy, so you won’t let it go to waste.

Why 140 Degrees?

140 degrees is scalding hot, but as a matter of fact, it is the recommended temperature for water heaters according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Their primary explanation is that scalding hot water that’s 140 degrees can kill a certain strain of bacteria. Water at 120 degrees can kill most types of harmful bacteria, but water at 140 degrees can kill a completely different strain known as Legionnaires' disease bacteria. When these bacteria enter the body, it can lead to an illness that is very similar to pneumonia. This type of bacteria is spurred on by aging water systems, rusted pipes, or water heaters or storage systems that let water stagnate outside for prolonged periods of time.

This is the lone argument there is for setting your max water temperature to 140 degrees, but it is one that can overall cause families to stay healthy. People who run water from the faucet however, would have to be very careful.

Which Is Better for Your Home?

Many homes can set their max water temperatures to 120 degrees with very little risk involved. If you are raising a family or have older relatives living with you, you’ll find it more important for somebody not to get burned over not get infected from a rare species of bacteria. However, if you have an older water system or one that stagnates water outdoors, the odds of getting sick from this rare strain will increase.


Water heaters can have a limit to how hot the water can get in your home that can be changed. Organizations recommend setting this limit to either 120 or 140 degrees and there are different arguments for each. Decide which temperature is best for you and your family and get assistance from your Sacramento plumber.

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