I'm trying to test the temperature of the hot water coming out of my hot water heater but I'm very confused.

Can I use a meat thermometer or what should I be using?

Also, just to make sure my thermometer is accurate, what should a glass of ice water show?

1 Answer 1


Your best bet would be an IR or instant read thermometer. You should test it from the closest faucet to the hot water tank, and make sure to let it run for several minutes first.

If you do use a leave-in meat thermometer, it might take several minutes to get an accurate reading.

Ice water should be close to 0C/32F (and if you add salt, it would get even colder), which I doubt your meat thermometer can measure.

120F might be considered low, but it is also safer. 140F is a pretty typical setting.

  • Thanks! I didn't realize that IR Thermometers were pretty cheap so I ordered one.
    – SofaKng
    Mar 31, 2015 at 13:59
  • IR means infra-red, not instant read... though, that too. Infra-red is a type of light everything emits in proportion to its temperature. Most famously seen in those "green" military night vision scopes. Infra-red is not green, they use green to avoid hurting the user's night vision. Mar 26, 2016 at 21:18
  • I am aware and referencing either or. They just happen to have the same initials
    – Steven
    Mar 26, 2016 at 23:23

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