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Thread: Shutting down natural gas water heater for 2 to 3 weeks

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member BobS0327's Avatar
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    Default Shutting down natural gas water heater for 2 to 3 weeks

    I have a GE Power Vent, Model GG50T06PVT natural gas water heater. I plan on going on vacation for two to three weeks and I will shut the water off to the house at the main shutoff. I also plan to turn the power off to my GE natural gas water heater.

    Thus, my question is: Will shutting off the water and electric to my natural gas water heater for two to three weeks cause any potential issues? Also, will I have any potential issues upon returning from vacation and turning the water and electric back on to the water heater?

    Thanx

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    None as long as the heater does NOT decide to start leaking while you are gone.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    None as long as the heater does NOT decide to start leaking while you are gone.
    hate to rain on his thread, but my question is similar: is is better to drain the heater or leave it full with the water off? I am renovating that house i am working on and hooked up a similar water heater and have it filled with water. i have turned it on once in awhile to make sure it still works, but i have been leaving it off, since i have no use for the hot water yet. is it better to keep water in the tank to stop it from rusting? would it be better to leave it on the vacation setting or have it shut off? thanks

  4. #4
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    If you are leaving for only 2-3 weeks, I recommend leaving it alone. Turning it off or draining it would be more likely to cause harm than good.

    The standby losses on the water heater are very small. With no water use, it costs very little to keep the water in the tank hot. There are several downsides to shutting things off. Anytime a system loses and regains pressure, it will loosen particles in the piping sytem. Tanks and piping with exposed iron will experience accelerated corrosion when drained. Turning the heater down or off can promote growth of bacteria and/or diseases such as legionnaire's.

    In most cases it is best to just close valves supplying appliances with hoses such as a washing machine.

    A good neighbor or service to check on things once in a while would be a better idea than shutting everything off.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 12-27-2011 at 03:45 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    I think if you drain the hot water tank before leaving for a week, you should start wearing a tin foil hat as well.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I have a GE/Rheem power vent and it has a vacation setting on the thermostat. As others have noted, it costs very little to keep the water hot when none is being used. I'd use the setting provided by the manufacturer for this purpose. Even if you didn't turn the 'stat down at all, the cost of maintaining the temperature would be so small I don't think you could buy a cup of coffee with the savings.

  7. #7
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    So lets leave our lights all on by the same philosphy. Parasitic losses in transformers and TV's etc. earthwide could heat Russia for a year.

    Since most water heaters have hot surface igniters or spark igniters, turning them off is the same as a light switch.

  8. #8
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Default leave it alone

    it would be wiser to just set it on low
    or vacation, even with the water to the house off
    it wont hurt anything...

    Ge powervents are not the easiest things to get parts for
    especially when you get home from vacation and want to
    take a hot shower.....

    So when you turn off something like a GE power vent
    you run the risk of it just decideing not to jump back
    to life when you come home.....then you are in for some fun.

    also, you would have to be nuts to drain it

    leave sleeping dogs lie......

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