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Old 09-16-13, 11:57 AM
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Gone for 30 days

Hi, I'm going to be away from home for the month of November and am wondering if it would be safe to turn my water line off inside the house and turn the power off to my hot water heater. Thoughts?

If I do that, anything special I need to do when I get back other than turn on the water and let it be on for a bit before I turn the power on?

Thanks...
 
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Old 09-16-13, 12:48 PM
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Some people would recommend draining the WH since water left to sit for 30 days may have a tendency to grow things. Since it sounds like you are on city water, I don't think that would be as much an issue. You'll probably want to flush it before turning it back on though. Make sure you get it full before turning power back on. Last thing you want to be doing is replacing elements right after you come back.
 
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Old 09-16-13, 12:49 PM
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It would be foolhardy not to turn the water off for a prolonged stay, IMO. Yes, turn the power off to the water heater. I can go further and suggest you do a thorough winterization, but that's up to you. You will still have the heat on, presumably, but if it fails, or the power goes out, what is Plan B?? Frozen pipes.
Once you return, turn the water back on and run the faucets/tub furthest from the water heater to get water in the lines and fill the water heater to maximum. THEN you can restore power to the water heater.
 
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Old 09-16-13, 12:52 PM
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I'm assuming you live in a climate that November can get nasty and you have a typical house on a foundation (as opposed to a trail home).

I wouldn't turn off the heat. Keep it at a minimum of say 50 to 65 degrees. I don't see the need to turn off the water main unless you think there will be a leak or a pipe bursting. However I would turn off any outside hose bibs. If any of your pipes run up outside walls then you might want to turn them off. Remove washing machine hoses.

Get timers on your lights that will go on and off at random times. Better still have a trusted friend or relative check on the house once or twice a week. Have them flush the toilets on each visit.

If you have a hot water tank DO NOT turn off the water supply but keep the thermostat on VAC (vacation) setting. Turning off the power to it will not save any significant amount of money.
 
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Old 09-16-13, 01:26 PM
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I don't see the need to turn off the water main
You would if you see what I see on a continuing basis of people leaving residences for the winter to return to Florida, and return to a complete mess of water damage. I can't urge people enough to turn the water off before they leave. Turn it off at the meter, not inside the house.

Turning off the power to it will not save...
Many water heaters don't have "vacation" settings. I recommend turning off the power. You have to deal with "what if", every time. What if a water line siphon causes the water in the heater to go below the elements.....pop. Why chance it, when the breaker can be turned off completely. Vacation settings don't help any that I can see.
 
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Old 09-16-13, 01:39 PM
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I don't think I've ever seen an electric WH with a vacation setting. Thats normally for gas WH which doesn't normally have a power CB anyway, unless it's a power vent type. the vacation setting on a gas WH keeps the pilot on (if it has one)...but never kicks in the burner.
 
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Old 09-16-13, 05:39 PM
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Thanks everyone!

My house is on a foundation and the weather could get below freezing but it's a bit early for that. I do plan to leave my thermostat high enough to keep the house around 65, I also will have my hose bibs turned off.

I have a friend who will stop by once a week, but still would like to turn off the water and water heater just in case (I don't see a vacation setting). I don't know how to turn it off outside the house. Why isn't it ok to just turn off inside the house?

I also don't know how to flush a water heater so would it work to just run the water in the bathtub for a long time to flush out the old stuff?

Thanks all...
 
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Old 09-16-13, 05:51 PM
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Yes....if city water...thats all I meant, flush the old water out by running each of the lines for a while.

There should be some sort of valve near the water meter...do you know where that is?
 
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Old 09-16-13, 06:08 PM
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water meter

The water meter is in the yard somewhere. I've never turned it off there but am pretty sure I have a wrench the correct size to do it. But since I've never done that, I'd rather do it inside unless there's a compelling reason to do it outside, as I wasn't planning to drain all the lines.
 
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Old 09-17-13, 03:33 AM
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Even if you don't plan on draining all the lines, turning the water off at the meter is your best bet. You won't encounter any more water than is in the lines should there be a problem of freezing. Turning it off in the house still puts water in the house at that point, and IF the problem is inside the house you won't have any protection behind that valve. Water will still enter the house. I know it is a highly unlikely scenario, but I make a living at it, and it isn't pretty in most cases. When a simple turn of a valve stops it all.
 
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Old 10-08-13, 07:29 PM
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I've always turned off the water and gas heater if I'm gone for more than a weekend. But have always wondered if that can cause a problem with temperature variations causing water expansion/contraction against a closed main valve. I am less worried now since, as of a few years ago, I installed PEX which is presumably much more accomodating to expanding/contracting water. But I still open a faucet for 10" after closing the water valve to release the pressure. Never got around asking if this is a wise thing to do, but since I saw this post...
 
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Old 10-09-13, 03:03 AM
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The closed main valve at the street or at the well will not be affected by expansion or contraction, especially if you open that faucet.
 
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Old 10-13-13, 08:25 AM
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We too will be gone for longer periods of time now that my husband has retired to stay at our vacation house in FL.
We have good friend who has watched our house in past and will do so again.
We live in DFW TX area--have two NG water heaters in our attic. Our HVAC is also located there.
We have talked about turning off the water heaters in past, but weather here doesn't usually get as cold as "deep freeze" areas. Plus the guy who came out to replace a water heater last year said that in our area it is just about as bad to turn off the water because then you run risk of having sewer gas come up through the plumbing if there is no water in the toilets.

Plus if we turn off water at the street we can't use our irrigation system to water yard/flower beds...we still need to do that in my area since we are in drought situation and can't depend on rain to keep our grass alive...

Doesn't your "weatherization" plan depend as much on where you live as the house systems you have?
 
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Old 10-13-13, 09:43 AM
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having sewer gas come up through the plumbing if there is no water in the toilets
How does he propose the water getting to the toilets? Unless they are flushed, the water is not renewed. During a winterization process, RV antifreeze (Propylene Glycol) is put in the bowl after the stop valve is closed and the tank flushed. Even if you don't flush your system and winterize it, I would turn the water off at least in the house. Irrigation system or not, you don't want to come home to a flooded house. If you have someone taking care of your house, you are better off than most.
 
 

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