Hot Topics: What to Do With the Water Heater When You Escape for the Winter

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You’re leaving for an extended trip until it warms up, so it’s time to shut the house down. What to do with the water heater? Even if it’s not winter, what’s the safest way to leave this appliance unattended? The Forum helps you get out the door.

Original Post: Unplug water heaters on vacation

jameswil Member

We are going on a 4 week trip, and will be turning off the water. I wanted to know if I should also turn off the electric water heaters. Will they be OK if I don't? There should not be any water flow throughout the house.

Highlights from the Thread

chandler Forum Topic Moderator

Yes, turn off the water heaters. If you turn off the water and somehow it leaks down, the level of the water could possibly fall in the heater, exposing the elements, causing them to burn up. Definitely turn water heaters off.

jameswil Member

Thank you. That is what I thought, but since we hate coming back to cold water, I was hoping for something different. Again, thanks for all you do.

mitch17 Group Moderator

Have a neighbor you trust? Have them come over and turn the water and heater back on a few hours before you expect to get back home.

I turn mine off when I leave but it's gas and I have hot water within a half hour of getting home.

CasualJoe Member

Mine is gas too and when I am away for more than just a weekend I'll set mine back to pilot and shut off the water too. It's amazing how warm the water will stay with just the pilot. Almost warm enough for a shower.

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

When I leave for long periods I turn off the water heaters, turn off the water and bleed out the pressure by opening an upstairs faucet. It saves the energy of keeping water hot when not home and if a pipe bursts or leaks for whatever reason there won't be massive water damage.

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