Should You Turn Off the Water Heater When on Vacation?

It is logical when someone wants to turn off the appliances that use electricity while going for a vacation. The energy-using home devices can increase the bills when left on for a long time without significant use. However, not all appliances bring a significant change of energy savings when turned off.

When planning to go on a vacation, most people wonder what they should do to save on energy when the home is vacant. Most of the home appliances are always turned off. For example, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is set in higher or lower temperatures depending on the climate change or the season. Other appliances are turned off or unplugged from the sockets. However, the big question is whether the water heater should be turned off when going on a vacation.

Should you turn off the water heater when on vacation?

should you turn off water heater when on vacation

In most cases turning on the water heater when going for a short vacation-for example, a week- is not necessary. A short period of turning it off will not give any notable energy savings. The only savings that you will see are only a few pennies that will depend on the type of unit used. Going for a more extended vacation, like a month and more, turning off the water heater is necessary since it will have significant energy savings.

However, turning off the water heater may mean problems in your home when coming back from vacation. For example, it will take you a lot of time to warm the water again since there will be no hot water available. It will be a problem when doing the post-travel showers because of the lack of hot water. If the unit is older, there might be some difficulties turning the water heater on since it has been off for a long time.

It is advisable to keep the water heater on ‘vacation mode’ when going for an extended vacation instead of turning it off. Some heaters do not have a vacation settings option. It is advisable to change the temperature settings manually to a range of fifty and seventy degrees in such a case. These settings help avoid the damages that can occur due to switching off the water heater for a long time.

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The reason why you should not turn off the water heater

The reason why you should not turn off the water heater

There are several advantages to keeping the water heater on while going on a vacation. Below are some of the reasons.

  • Turning on the water heater keeps the water from freezing

Water heaters are mainly used at home to provide warm water for laundry, showers, and many more. During the winter, when the climate is too cold, the water in the pipes might freeze. The water heater will always help keep the piped water warm, thereby avoiding the freezing and blockage of the pipes. Apart from the pipes breaking, the frozen water may cause leakages, bursts, or total damage to the pipes. It is advisable to keep the water heater on even when you are on vacation to prevent the occurrence of such problems.

  • Reheating the water costs more money

Keeping the water heater on when going for a vacation will cost you more bills. However, reheating the cold frozen water after vacation may cost even more money because it does not take a few minutes to heat the water to the required temperature.

  • The water heater might be used by someone else

Most people always look for someone to leave in their houses if they are going for an extended vacation. These people may be either a relative’s kid or any other house sitter. The purpose of these people is to keep watch over your house so that it cannot be invaded while you are away. With that, the house sitter may need to use the water heater for laundry or a shower. If the water heater is left off, you might have a hard time giving them instructions on switching it on without damaging it.

  • So that you don’t have to remind yourself to turn it on

When going for a vacation, most people make a checklist of the things they will do or deactivate before they leave. However, only a few of them will make a checklist when coming back after the vacation. If you are not the kind of person who switches the water heater on and off each time you want to use it, you will most likely forget how to turn it on.

After the vacation, you might forget to turn it on only to remember when you want to do some laundry or post-vacation showers. Leaving the heater on might be a great favor to yourself to avoid struggles.

  • To avoid unnecessary risks

Most of the home appliances must be left undisturbed as long as they are working correctly. You might have experienced a scenario where you turned off something and didn’t turn it on the back even after forcing. Similarly, such a thing can happen to the water heaters. If it’s working correctly and you do not want anything to happen to it, leave it on rather than risk it. It’s better to pay an extra energy cost than replacing the whole heater.

Circumstances when you should turn off the water heater

There are different scenarios when it’s necessary to turn off the water heater at home. These include the following:

  • When the main water supply is turned off, prevent a lot of pressure from building up in the tank
  • If there is water leakage
  • If you are going for an extended vacation and you don’t want costs to rise


Nobody wants a disaster or damage to happen in their houses when they are away. However, they will always happen, but there are ways of minimizing them before you go for your vacation. The water heater is one of the appliances that can help reduce some damages at home when acted on appropriately. For example, they can prevent the water in the pipes from freezing, bursting the pipes, and many more.

The only solution to all these damages is leaving the water heater on all the time. However, leaving the water heater on while going for an extended vacation can lead to tremendous additional energy costs. If you will be away for several weeks, ensure that you follow the user manual for the proper steps to switch off.

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