Shutting water off when I am not home

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by stevep111, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. stevep111

    stevep111 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    We just bought a new home as an investment that is about 100 miles away from our primary home. We only go to the house every other weekend so we turn the water off outside and shut off the Hot Water heater as well. When we return and reverse the process, sometimes we get rusty water for about 10 seconds when we first run the water. Can you tell me if this is normal or should we be doing things differently. The house was built in 2006 and we are the only people who ever lived in it so it is virtually brand new.
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Shutting off the water heater may lead to an increased risk of Legionella Bacteria growth in the water heater. The length of time spent in the prime growth temperatures is increased as the water slowly cools in the insulated tank.

    You may do well to invest in a automatic valve on the main with remote sensors that detect leaks and shut off the main.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    7,347
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The most likely reason for the rusty water is that there is some galvanized steel pipe somewhere in the hot water line. Replacing it may be as simple as changing nipple with brass or as complex as a re-piping job for the house. You didn't say if this is an electric or gas water heater, but you might consider this. Going green is the in thing to do nowadays, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. However, you should not risk your health and your family and friends health in the process. A modern water heater is very well insulated, and when unused it uses very little energy to maintain water temperature. Now you could shut the water and power (gas) off and drain the tank, and that might cut the health risk, not sure. But, consider the relative small cost of just leaving the heater on and consider the small added expense as part of the price you pay for having a retreat like this.
  4. stevep111

    stevep111 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    The water heater is electric and only a couple of years old. The reason we shut off the water is due to the possibility of a leak while we are gone. I would not want to return to a flood and a pipe running water for a week. If it is possible to leave the hotwater heater on with the water turned off I might consider that.
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would consider a system like this one.
    There are a few on the market...
    Research them and find one that works for your needs...

    http://www.thefloodstopper.com/
  6. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,347
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    When water heaters rust out, they do not just suddenly fall apart and dump 50 gallons of water followed by a steady stream from the inlet. It's a very gradual process giving you plenty of time to deal with it. Whatever you do, do not turn the water off and leave the power on. Whatever else you decide to do is up to you.
  7. stevep111

    stevep111 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    well what if a pipe breaks in the kitchen or the water pipe to the back of the washer breaks. That happened to my Sister in law. She was in Michigan and her other house is in Nevada. Thankfully they had a person going by because it would have been pouring water for about 3 months.
  8. stevep111

    stevep111 New Member

    Messages:
    14
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    21,990
    Location:
    New England
    Every washing machine manufacturer I've read says to turn the supply off to the washing machine when not in use...if you do that, you should never have the problem of a burst hose while away, at least not while you're using it since you'd not be too far.

    There are systems that utilize moisture sensors to shut off the main supply line when a leak is detected. This assumes you have power, but they may support battery backup.

    If the big concern is a leaking WH, then if you replumb the supply and install a wags valve www.wagsvalve.com, it will shut the supply off once it detects leaks. You have to have a drainage pan under the tank, but that can be retrofitted. You could use the switch on it (normally used to disable a gas valve) to possibly trip the CB, but you'd have to consult an electrician.
  10. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    South of Boston, MA
    We had rusty hot water
    Turns out it was an indication the WH was going
  11. stevep111

    stevep111 New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Well the water heater is new. I think because it has been rarely used since it was installed it may have sediment. I will drain it when I am next at the house. If it goes bad and pops it's ok because it is in the garage and will just drain out the door. I don't have anything on the floor that would be damaged. I think the builder took shortcuts and since I am a first time home buyer I didn't know this. My inspector didn't point it out either. At any rate I plan to first insulate it and if possible install leak detection measures and go from there. Eventually if we ever decide to live in the place I am going to go tankless and may be even put in a solar system to help save energy.
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