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Should You Turn Off Your Water Heater When on Vacation?

Should You Turn Off Your Water Heater When on Vacation?

For your water heater to serve all your water heating needs, you need to make sure you are taking good care of it to last for 10-15 years, depending on your model and usage. This entails maintaining it as well as using it properly.

An essential part of using your water heater properly is turning it off when you are going on vacation and when other factors are in play. Keep reading to learn why you should turn off your water heater while on vacation.

When should you turn off your water heater?

Here are the key reasons why you should consider turning off your water heater;

When the main water supply is shut off

It is not crucial to turn off your water heater when the main water supply is turned off. However, there are two reasons why you should turn off the unit to prevent too much pressure or heat from building up inside the tank:

  1. The tank is empty (or close to it) and won’t be refilled for a long period
  2. The main water supply loses pressure

When you go on vacation

When you go on vacation or plan on being away for an extended period, it is beneficial to turn off your water heater. You can set your water heater on “VAC” mode, a common feature on newer water heater models. You can also turn down the water temperature to 50 degrees. This will help you save energy without risking other issues.

When there’s a leak

If your water heater springs a leak for various reasons, such as corrosion or a valve malfunction, you should always turn off the unit and shut off the water supply until the issue is resolved.

Should I turn off my water heater when not in use?

Unless you’re going on vacation for a month or longer, you shouldn’t turn off your water heater. Shutting off the water heater when not used to save energy may not be as beneficial as you think. Additionally, it can be disruptive and hard for the unit to be turned on and off.

When you get home, you’ll be without hot water and might run into issues with turning the unit back on. Unfortunately, turning off the heat will not lead to significant energy savings. And you may create more problems by repeatedly turning your water heater off/on.

Should you turn off the water heater when the water is off?

It is unnecessary to turn off your water heater when the water is off. However, you should turn off your water heater if the water is off only if your water is turned off for an extended period, like during a vacation, and you have a tank-type heater. Also, you should turn off the water heater if the water is not running for more than 24 hours.

When your water line is shut off, cold water stops flowing into your home entirely, and if your water heater has a tank, the tank will stop filling with cold water. Therefore, if your water is shut off for long periods and you use your hot water heavily, this can create the risk of serious damage.

When your water is turned off, cold water stops owing into your plumbing system from the outside, meaning that a tank-type or hybrid heater stops being able to refill with more water. Therefore, if water is shut off for an extended period and all the water from the tank is emptied, you must turn off the water heater to avoid damage.

However, if your water heater is full or nearly full, you shouldn’t need to turn it off in a short-term water shutoff. Tankless and point-of-use water heaters do not need to be shut off to a water shutoff, as they do not run heating elements continuously or hold water in a storage tank.

Once the pressure is restored to a home’s electric water heater, you should turn the hot water on at any faucet and check that all the air is out of the lines. Turn the breaker back on once the air is gone and the water runs smoothly.

Each water heater has two elements, one at the top and one at the bottom, and if the water drains down and exposes the top element, it gets too hot and dry fires and shorts out, which would cause this element to no longer work.

Should I turn off my water heater when on vacation in winter?

When you go on vacation, it’s also best to turn off your water heater and the main water supply. Turning off the heat source (gas, electric) while you’re away will not damage your water heater.

Turn your dial back to its normal state when you return, and hot water will be available shortly. Newer models even can program your return date, so your water heater will resume heating one day before your arrival, so hot water will be available as soon as you return.

Note: If you choose this option, be mindful of the year you’re traveling. Suppose you’re traveling during the winter months. In that case, you mustn’t also turn off your residence’s furnace completely, as you then risk frozen pipes and irreparable damage to your water heater.

Should I turn off my water heater when on vacation in summer?

Most water heaters have a setting on their temperature dial labeled “VAC” or “VACATION.” Vacation Mode drops your water heater’s temperature to conserve energy while you’re not home to use your hot water. As a result, your water heater saves energy while using sufficient energy to keep water flowing and prevent frozen plumbing.

Should you turn off the water heater when on vacation?

Instead of turning off the heater, you should use the Vacation Mode while away from your home, which can be good for the environment and your wallet. Lowering the temperature of your water heater reduces your energy consumption, preserving natural resources and reducing your energy bill.

Shutting down the water heater for long disuse will help reduce your energy bill. Vacation Mode also lowers the risk of your water heater, lowering the chance of your water heater rusting or building up minerals while you’re away.

What if your Water Heater doesn’t have a Vacation Mode?

If your water heater doesn’t have a vacation setting, manually adjust your temperature to resemble Vacation Mode by lowering the temperature to 50 degrees Fahrenheit or your thermostat’s lowest setting.

Check this out: How Long Do Oil Filled Heaters Last?

You may also choose to turn your water heater off completely. For gas water heaters, shut off the gas supply to the tank. For electric water heaters, turn off the power to the machine in your breaker box. Then, restore the connections and relight the pilot light if you have a gas water heater when you return.