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I know that water benders can freeze and melt water/ice, but what is the limit to this?

Can a water bender heat water to boiling? Steam? I know that water benders can bend steam (Korra did when she went to the anti-bending rally), but can she create the steam if needed (without combining her fire bending)?

If not, why? If they can freeze water and then cause it to heat up again, what is stopping them from heating the water further?

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You can heat water vapor not only by adding heat, but by increasing the pressure. According the rules of thermodynamics, out of pressure, volume and temperature you can choose one to keep constant, and alter a second one by changing the third one. – vsz Dec 14 '12 at 7:11

They certainly can create steam/mist, which would probably be from temperature control; Katara does that when she does the Painted Lady thing. There seems to be a fair amount of debate as to whether she's changing the state of the water or the temperature; it's possible that the steam thing she did was just causing rapid evaporation or calling the steam from somewhere else or condensing the steam that was already in the air.

In any case, I don't think they must be able to make water hot on a whim, otherwise surely the waterbenders would sew tiny hot water bottles into their clothes to heat up and warm their toes living on the poles like they do. Plus being able to throw boiling water around would make waterbenders way more overpowered than they already are as the only ones with healing powers.

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Well, they should be able to, in theory. Water benders can manipulate water molecules to how ever they see fit. They can condense it, levitate it, spread the H20 molecules further apart and etc. To heat water and create steam, all a water bender would have to do is speed up the rate of movement of the individual H20 molecules, which in turn creates thermal energy/steam – Reiko96 Apr 20 '14 at 21:55

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