technician repairing an hot-water heater

Do Plumbers Recommend I Turn Off My Water Heater When Leaving for the Holidays?

If you are going away for the holidays, you may wonder if you must turn off your water heater to conserve energy and stave off any emergency plumbing disasters. Contrary to what some may believe, turning your water heater off is a bad idea. Plumbing experts recommend that you leave your water heater on and take the following steps instead.

Put Your Water Heater in Vacation Mode

Modern water heaters have a setting called vacation mode, and this is usually labeled as VAC on the temperature dial. Vacation mode allows you to lower your hot water temperature so you can save energy while you are gone while allowing the water to remain warm enough to keep your water heater tank from freezing and bursting. On the day you are leaving, enable this setting.

Lower the Temperature

If your water heater is older, chances are that it will not have a vacation mode setting. If you cannot put your water heater in vacation mode, set the water temperature between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering your water temperature will enable your water heater to behave as though it is in vacation mode.

Disadvantages of Shutting Off Your Water Heater

Shutting off your water heater entirely comes with many disadvantages. You will have to wait for a significant period to take showers because it can take an hour or longer for you to have hot water. If your water heater is older, you may have difficulty restarting it because having to reboot this appliance can subject it to unnecessary stress. If you cannot get your water heater running again, you will have to call a plumber for repairs or to possibly replace your equipment entirely. And because Pennsylvania winters can be brutal, you may come home to a tank that has burst due to freezing along with substantial flood and property damage, which can cost you thousands of dollars to repair. If there is mold growth, you will have even bigger problems on your hands.

If you want to avoid any plumbing mishaps while you are away, you should have a full plumbing inspection before going on your trip. A professional plumber will let you know if there are problems with your plumbing system that can pose issues during your absence and work with you to make the necessary repairs so you can enjoy a stress-free vacation. Contact our highly experienced team at Jeff’s Custom Care for a full inspection and to get your water heater ready for when you leave your Waukesha, WI home for the holidays.