Hot water heater Turn off?

Old 12-06-08, 10:32 AM
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Hot water heater Turn off?

This might seem like a rather simple question, but I would rather ask someone who knows rather than spend half the day or even an hour trying to figure it out. Also, since this is all about conserving energy and my wallet is the reason why it is posted here:
I have a 40 gallon electric hot water heater upstairs in my house. Since kids are gone it is basically the guest area. I hear it running every so often and think it is a waste. Can I turn it off or should it keep heating to preserve the tank? Flip breaker? Do have very hard water around here. It would make sense to me to just turn it on a day before company comes. Before one asks, yes I have another separate one for the downstairs. Thanks!
Old 12-06-08, 11:16 AM
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You might consider a hot water heater timer as a happy medium.this would allow you to control how long and how often the heater is on while not completely shutting it down.they are not that difficult to install and work similar to any electrical timer.Sold at most hardware stores and big box home improvement stores etc.
Old 12-06-08, 11:35 AM
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Does it have a vacation position on the control? I've only had gas heaters for so long, I'm not sure.

Can't imagine turning it off would hurt...but you might want to turn it on more than a day before....would suck to have to replace/troubleshoot a problem one day before visitors.
Old 12-30-08, 06:57 AM
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Turning it off is the correct way to go. When you need it, if it has been off for a long time, flush it first, then turn the elect back on. I have many clients that switch from the hot water off of their heating system to an electric tank for the summer, less expensive than running an oil furnace all summer.

my 2-cents
Old 12-30-08, 07:22 AM
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From time to time I read suggestions that the pilot on a gas water heater should be left on to reduce condensation and corrosion at the burners - never found that any manufacturer's instructions though, so it may be an plumbing urban legend.

Other than the caveat below draining debris from an unused water heater (which mostly applies to gas heaters anyway, as the debris at the bottom of the tank acts as an insulator and can overheat this area and shorten tank life) I can't think of any reason not to turn off an electric water heater when not in use.

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