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How Do I Set the Temperature on an Electric Water Heater with Dual Elements?

Setting the temperature on a two-element water heater can be a bit tricky. The main question is at what temperature to set each thermostat. Everyone you ask will give a different answer to the same question. In my experience as a real world plumber, this is the correct way to set the Temperature on an Electric Water Heater with Dual Elements.

Find your homes electrical service breaker panel and look for the breakers marked Water heater. If your water heater has a cord plugged into an outlet on the wall, that is even better, however it is still a good idea to know where the breaker panel is located. Turn the breakers off or unplug the cord from the wall outlet to disconnect power from the unit while you set the temperature.

There should be two small access panels on the front side of your water heater. Each panel will have a small screw holding the panels shut. One at a time, remove each screw and panel, set them aside out of the work area safely. You do not want to lose the screws, use a piece of tape to stick them on while you are working.

You should see both the thermostats and the small adjustment devices that look like screws on each one. Using the small blade of you screwdriver turn each one to the desired temperature. The temperature you want to set is always a personal choice. You will achieve the optimal efficiency and longevity of each element by setting the upper thermostat temperature approximately ten degrees higher than the lower.

Replace each cover and insulation block if present. Turn breaker back on or plug cord back into outlet. Turn the hot water on in the bathtub and run at until all the water turns cold. You may want to save the hot water for something useful like taking a bath, doing laundry, or whatever you need to do.

Depending on your tank model, it will reheat in approximately 45 to 90 minutes. Check the temperature after an hour and a half. Follow each step again until you reach the desired temperature.

I can only tell you what I have done and seen work best in my experience.

As a safety disclaimer I must say that you should fallow any and all manufacturers instructions when using any and all appliances. There is always a danger of burning you or someone else if you set the max temperature beyond 120 degrees F.