What Happens If You Set Your Water Heater Too Hot?

What Happens If You Set Your Water Heater Too Hot?

While water heaters are designed to heat up water, doing this excessively can be dangerous. For instance, water temperatures that reach more than one hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit can easily cause skin burns that are so severe you might require surgery. Below are some additional consequences of setting your water heater too hot.

The Thermostat Can Become Damaged

The thermostat is responsible for controlling the off/on cycle for the heater elements, but if a malfunction occurs the safety feature might be activated when the thermostat doesn’t shut down power for boiler-based elements during its routine cycling. If your reset button activates, no power will be transferred to heating elements, culminating in hot water loss. However, in the event that the safety mechanism fails to do its job, elements will continue heating up the water, which can result in temperatures that are too high.

The Pressurized Release Valve is Blocked

The pressurized release valve enables steam that has accumulated to escape. However, should this valve become blocked for any reason, it will cause the water to become hotter than usual. If the issue isn’t addressed quickly, the tank can become damaged and seriously injure anyone in close proximity to it. Should you hear the sound of water boiling within the tank, the water heater should be shut down immediately, because if not you might have a literal explosion on your hands.

Excessive Mineral Content

It isn’t possible to filter out every mineral during the home-based purification process. This means that some minerals might conglomerate whenever your water is heated and then sink towards the containment housing’s bottom, settling near heating elements. If you own a gas-based water heater, it won’t work at the same level of efficiency since they heat up from the bottom. Once the bottom becomes covered in a hard sediment layer, it takes longer for the heat to be transferred to the water you use.

However, as the heated elements become coated due to sediment, they will be forced to work harder just to get the water hot, which can cause the sediments themselves to overheat. This will result in the water becoming far hotter than it needs to be. As you can imagine, it will also reduce the lifespan of multiple interior heater components which will require replacement sooner.

What Is The Ideal Temperature for Water Heaters?

Most water heaters utilize dial indicators that enable you to manage the temperatures and will be set from ninety to one hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit by default. While this might be okay for some residents, it may be inadequate for others. 

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends a water heater temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, while OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends a water heater temperature of about 140 degrees to minimize exposure to dangerous microorganisms such as Legionella. While this may be confusing to some, to be safe we recommend you test the water while keeping your heater temperatures somewhere between CDC and OSHA recommendations, which is about 130 degrees.