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Turning off the hot water tank for a month

Teresa

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If you're gone for a month (or any length of time for that matter) - do you turn off your hot water tank? Or maybe you set it to 'vacation'?

If so, what do you save? I've got a vacation rental condo that is going to be vacant for the foreseeable future (heck - I'm open to offers and haven't gotten any) so I was thinking of turning off the hot water tank until the next renter comes in more than a month from now. Is there a significant savings to doing this or is it not worth the effort?

BTW, if I had someone who wanted to rent it, I'm guessing it would take about an hour for it to heat the water to 'regular' temp. Just a guess.
 

swift

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The only problem I have heard of with turning it off, besides taking a long time to heat back up, is that the water sitting in the tank grows bacteria since it is not regularly being cycled out or brought to a hot temp to keep it away.
 

vacationhopeful

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I turn mine off - if electric at the panel box, along with any other 220 volt appliances. HW heater to save money, other 220 appliances for safety. My favorite is the well pump - no floods from freezing or mystery leaks. I also shut the main gate valve for the water supply, if city water.

If it is a gas HW heater, then the vacation setting is better. Relighting the pilot light is beyond most people's skill level these days.

If you are concern with bacteria and will have vacancies regularly, consider a "on demand"/tankless water heater. My friend loves his - has had it for 3+ years.
 
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Passepartout

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Unless someone cleaned it off, there should be a sticker on the water heater that will tell you the annual cost to operate at various utility rates. Easy math to figure what you can save. I used to turn mine off when I left town. When I'd get back home, I could shower within an hour of turning it back on even with the house heat down below 50 in my absence. Obviously your savings will depend on what your utility costs are, but off saves more than running it.

My water never got skunky from leaving the heater off. Of course it was on a municipal water supply that would have been chlorinated, so no bacteria would grow. If you also turn off the water inlet to the house (condo), you will also have peace-of-mind that no leaks will occur when nobody's around.

Jim Ricks
 

Nancy

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We turn ours off

When we aren't using our condo, we turn ours off. Other people in our building do also. Never had a problem with it.

Nancy
 

swift

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Here is some info on it:

Gas and oil-fired water heaters have thermostat dials located on the outside of the tank. If the dial has numbers on it, turn the dial down to 49° C or 120° F. If the dial has words like Hot, Warm (or Medium), and Vacation, turn the dial to the Warm or Medium setting. That is approximately 49° C. (The water will still feel quite hot at your taps, but will not cause a scald burn in seconds.)
Do not lower the temperature of your water heater below 49° C or a Medium setting. A lower setting can lead to the growth of the bacteria that causes legionnaires' disease.
After adjusting the temperature, wait 24 hours and then test the temperature of your tap water again using a thermometer. Sometimes a heater requires several adjustments before you get the right temperature.
Water heaters may continue to pose scalding risks, even when turned down. Be sure to practice safe bathing and to supervise children closely.
If you have an electric water heater, do not lower the temperature setting below 60° C. The bacteria that causes legionnaires' disease grows more easily in some electric water tanks because of the way they are designed. You can still lower your water temperature by installing safety valves. Talk to a qualified plumber, the company that made your heater, or the rental company for your water heater.
 

rapmarks

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We have had a vacation home for over 20 years. we have a propane water heater. we turn it to pilot when we leave .
We just replaced the water heater after 20 years for a new one.
We also turn the well off when we leave. this has kept us from worse problems once or twice.
 

EJC

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I always turn my electric hot water heater and water supply off when I leave for any significant period of time. A relative of mine leaves her home for extended periods of time. She came home one time to find about a foot of water in it. The water heater had overheated, blown the safety valve, and flooded the home.
 

KCI

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We have been turning our electric water heater off for years when we leave the house for a few days or more. We also turn off the water. We have known of a few cases of water filling homes while folks are gone. A couple tips on turning it back on. Turn the water on first, then run the hot water for a minute to get any air out of the water heater tank. If you don't and the water has dropped below the heating rod it will distruct in minutes. Then turn on the water heater and run the cold water to clean out the lines. The water heater will heat the water within an hour. Ours has been turned on and off about a dozen times a year on average. We don't do this to save money, we just do it as a precaution. :wave:
 

Lee B

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The Japanese Way

In Japan, people seem to turn off the water heater whenever they leave home, even for a few hours. I think it's because of frequent small earthquakes, but maybe it's their long history of fires due to wood and paper homes. For this reason, the on-off control is easy to reach.
 

Fitzriley

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Winterizing your vacation home??

We have a vacation home that we visit most weekends in the summer and a few in the winter. I always turn off the hot water heater when we leave and have never had a problem. We are thinking now of shutting the house down for the winter but are not sure if we would be able to lower the thermostat much below 50. The house is in the Catskills, so it can get pretty cold. I have heard of people draining the water lines and putting antifreeze in, but I am more concerned with warping wood floors and cracking plaster walls if it got too cold.

Any thoughts?

Joan
 

vacationhopeful

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Not good to freeze plaster walls. And antifreeze in the pipes? Where is it going to go when you drain it out - septic field, then to your well water and everyone elses? Hire a contractor to blow the pipes with compressed air.

Your biggest enemy is MOISTURE which is why floors warp.:)
 
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