Water Heater and Vacation

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Bill MD, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Bill MD

    Bill MD New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Berlin, MD
    I'm Wondering what to do about my natural gas hot water heater when I go on vacation this winter. I' thinking about turning the dial to vacation so that it will not use much gas and the water will stay a bit warm so that it will not freeze if the heat goes off. Also, I plan to turn off the water supply to the heater so if it leaks only the 40 gallons in the tank will come out. But is turning off the water a good idea. If all the water leaks out will the gas still come on? I' worried that this could cause a fire.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Bill
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    It is not a good idea to turn off the water supply and leave the burner abel to come on. You have to decide between freezing and fire!
  3. Deb

    Deb Plumber

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Idaho
    Deb

    If the heat goes off and it is cold, the water pipes, the water in the p-traps, the water in the frig, washer and dishwasher's (and any other device that may hold water) water valves and pumps will have no protection and will freeze and probably break. So leaving the water heater on to try and provide heat in case of a power failure will only protect the heater itself and the water lines immediately after the heater--all-in-all it really does not accomplish much and is not a good idea. Do you loose power frequently? For long periods of time? Does it get that cold? I always have an incredible amount of work in the spring when we have had a long power outage during the winter where I live. I always advise everyone that it is very risky to depend on electricity to protect your plumbing.
    Deb
    The Pipewench
  4. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    When most folks go away for a week or two they set the heating thermostat at about 55-60F and some turn the water heater thermostat to very low or the vacation setting, some just leave it alone. There are devices available that get simply installed to your phone line that will call you (or someone else) if the house temp drops below a set level.
    ...It's always a good idea to have someone drop by every few days.
  5. Hube

    Hube New Member

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Ontario
    As was mentioned by E plumber,.... "its always a good idea to have someone drop by every few days"
    Read your Home Insurance Policy..... :) It may be an actual requirement in order to maintain your policy liability, etc. Hube
  6. Bill MD

    Bill MD New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Berlin, MD
    Thanks for the info. I have one more question. Do water heaters have any kind of safety switch that will turn the gas off if there is no water in the tank?
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