Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Troubleshooting, Anodes graphic

Tanklets > Vacant Houses

Q: If I turn the HW tank off when I go on vacation, how many days have to elapse before the energy used to maintain the temp is more than the energy needed to reheat the tank?

A: Think of it in a slightly different way. It takes a certain amount of energy to keep the water in the tank hotter than the surrounding temperature. The hotter the tank is compared to ambient temp, the more energy it takes to keep it there. If you let the tank cool down to ambient, it takes no energy to keep it there. So, any time the tank spends at a lower temperature is energy saved. Just from a nuisance point of view, I'd likely leave it powered if I were only gone a day or two and shut it off if I were gone longer. I would leave a big note to myself to turn it back on when I walked in the door, as I would probably want a hot bath sooner than later. -- Larry (12/6/07)

Q: I'll be leaving my house vacant for up to 6 weeks at a time. What temp setting is best to maintain my gas water heater? Can I turn the heater to "pilot" for this length of time or what?

A: As long as there is no freezing risk, turning the heater completely off might serve you better as it will help reduce the odor you'll likely have in the hot water on your retutrn. Something you could do to help would be to put a few pints of hydrogen peroxide in the tank just before leaving. One more thing on the "to do" list. -- Larry

Q1: Thanks for the information. I know almost nothing about water heaters so I have to ask a "dumb" question. Will I need to shut off the water also or just leave everything as is? Thanks again.

A1: No dumb questions though I'm sure I can help in the dumb answer department. Regarding shutting off the water when you're gone... If there is ANY chance of things leaking (any hoses/connectors are suspect) and water is not needed for anything in your absence and freezing is not a concern, then do shut off the water.. -- Larry (7/12/06)

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