While we all enjoy a hot bath/shower, we must take care to ensure that our water temperature isn’t too high, especially when small children are part of the household.
There are two considerations when it comes to the temperature setting on a home’s water heater. First is disease prevention. According to OSHA, water heaters with temperatures below 140°F (and that contain scale and sediment) may foster the growth of bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease. OSHA recommends that domestic hot water systems be maintained at 140°F.
The second consideration is that some members of the household can easily be scalded by hot water. Small children and the elderly are more thin-skinned than adults, and along with special-needs individuals, may not reflexively pull away from hot water as quickly. CPSC recommends that water heaters be set at 120°F to lessen the chance of scalding.
Of course, every home and family are different. Some families must be concerned with small children, while others may not. Larger homes may have to increase the temperature at the water heater to accommodate for fixtures located farther from the heater.
Obviously, you should use your best judgement when it comes to setting the temperature on your water heater. It makes sense to stay within the range of 120°F – 140°F, making adjustments according to the needs of your family and your home’s design and layout.