Should You Turn Off Your Water Heater When on Vacation?

Our Expert Tips

You probably have a list of things you do before embarking on a vacation, from packing the essentials to planning all the fun activities you’ll do once you get to your destination. Part of planning a vacation is making sure your home is safe while you’re gone, and you might also consider turning off major appliances within your home, such as the water heater, to conserve energy and cut utility costs while away.

But should you turn off your water heater when on vacation, or is it a decision that may lead you to contact Rockville Centre’s emergency plumber? Our team at Pride Plumbing Services has the answer.

Why You Shouldn’t Turn Off Your Water Heater While on Vacation

Should you turn off your water heater while on vacation? The short answer is no. You might think this is a viable way to achieve energy savings, but you’re better off leaving things alone. A water heater that’s inactive for several days can produce more hardship than it’s worth.

The Cost Savings Are Slim to None

You might think that turning off your water heater while on vacation will save you money by reducing power usage and, by extension, energy costs. However, even when you’re away from home for a month or longer, the cost savings are often minimal. In fact, whatever savings you might make from leaving the water heater off will often be negated after powering it back on.

The Pipes May Face Freeze Damage

Leaving your water heater off in the middle of the chilly winter months is one of the worst things you can do for your home’s plumbing system. If you’re going on a winter vacation and nothing in your house is warming the water in your pipes, then they can freeze, crack, or burst as a result.

The Water Heater May Stop Working

Water heaters are one of those devices best left alone as much as possible. If you shut it off for an extended period of time, the best-case scenario when you power it back on is being without hot water for at least an hour. But some homeowners aren’t so lucky and end up causing issues that require water heater repairs, depending on how old the unit is or how much the strain of rebooting impacts the heater.

Alternatives to Shutting Off Your Water Heater While Away

Instead of shutting off your water heater while on vacation, consider some more practical options to conserve energy, like using vacation mode or adjusting temperature settings.

Set It to Vacation Mode

Don’t you wish your water heater had a vacation mode for when you leave the house for days or weeks at a time? Newer water heater models actually do have this mode! These heaters are usually tankless and sometimes give you the option to disable certain features, like a frequency setting that maintains the water’s warm temperature.

Lower the Water Heater’s Temperature

If you have a traditional water heater in your home and it lacks a vacation mode, you can potentially save some money by reducing its temperature. This decreases the tank’s operational temperature while retaining warm water in the system, so you don’t need to wait too long to enjoy hot water after returning from vacation.

The downside to reducing your water heater’s temperature is that bacteria, such as Legionella, might grow in the tank and pipework due to the more tolerable temperature. If you reduce your water heater’s temperature while away on vacation, then remember to increase it upon returning and wait two hours before using before you use hot water to ensure that the hot water kills any bacteria. 

You should also run the taps for a few minutes to flush out any bacteria or sediment from the pipes that accumulated while you were gone.

Get Water Heater Help With Pride Plumbing Services Today

Simply put, the answer to “Should you turn off your water heater when on vacation?” is a resounding no. However, if your water heater is giving you trouble, then it’s time to call the experts at Pride Plumbing Services. Our trained team enriches the lives of residents in Rockville Centre, NY, through our core values of safety, service, trust, and teamwork. We dedicate ourselves to providing the best plumbing services in the area to exceed your expectations.

Whether you need help with your tankless water heater or require a full inspection, contact Pride Plumbing Services at 516-528-3432 to get the quality service you deserve today!

Published: Jul 30, 2023

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