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Thread: Turn off water & gas water heater question

  1. #1

    Red face Turn off water & gas water heater question

    Is it okay to turn off the water at the main when going on vacation (5 days) if you have a gas water heater? Also, does the water company care if you do that or should they be notified?

    Someone told us it wouldn't be good if the water heater got a leak and then couldn't fill up.

    We have always had various leaks, etc. concerning our plumbing so I don't feel comfortable leaving for 5 days and leaving the water on.

    Thanks for help!

    Ruby

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There is always the possibility of the WH leaking. If it turns on while it is empty, it can create problems. Safer thing to do is to either turn the thing to pilot only mode (if it has a pilot) or shut it off, which would require relighting it (usually fairly easy if it has a standing pilot, should not be necessary if it has an ignighter). then you could turn off the water.

    The utility company shouldn't care one way or the other.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    Jim,

    I just looked and our gas water heater does have a pilot mode - so, if we turn it to this, there wouldn't be a problem IF the water heater happend to leak and the water was turned off at the main??

    Thanks, Ruby

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    In pilot only mode, the main burner won't light. When you get home, double-check the pilot is still lit, then move it back to the normal position if the thing hasn't leaked after turning the water back on. It wouldn't hurt to open a hot water tap somewhere to make sure the tank is still full as well. Never turn on a WH that isn't already full of water.

    www.taco-hvac.com makes a neat device especially designed for gas water heaters that will both turn off the gas and the water to the heater if it detects a water leak. This requires the WH to be sitting in a pan to collect the leaking water and to make it rise a little to activate the thing, but it is cheap insurance for this type of device. They have a separate website for it as well http://www.wagsvalve.com/.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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