The Average Setting for an Electric Water Heater

According to the United States Department of Energy, your water heater is the third biggest energy-draining appliance in your home. The setting of your water heater contributes to the overall expense, but many people don't know what the average temperature is for safe and efficient operation.


The water heating setting is adjusted via the thermostat on the appliance.  The thermostat is a round knob, usually located on the side of the water heater, toward the bottom.

The knob markings vary by manufacturer, but usually include temperature ranges from 100 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Average Setting

The average electric water heater setting recommended by the US Department of Energy is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  Water at this temperature is hot enough for most uses, while still providing protection against scalding risks.


Lowering your electric water heater thermostat saves up to 5 percent in energy costs for every 10 degrees of adjustment downward.  However, if your dishwasher does not have a built-in heating element, it is advisable to keep your water heater set between 130 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

About the Author

Rosa Lyn has been a freelance writer since 2009. She has worked as a ghostwriter for companies such as eBay and was the editor-in-chief for the member newsletter at the websites SewingMamas. She specializes in subjects such as home and family, parenting, alternative health and crafts.