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Higgy 01-20-15 08:17 AM

Turning off water when going on Vacation
I know we've had this conversation before, but it's been a while and I'm curious of what everyone thinks.

Going on vacation, do you turn the hot water tank to pilot and shut the water off to it, or just leave things alone? I've heard people say different things. Some say not to touch anything because if you do turn things off/down, that's when things go wrong and you're better off leaving things alone. Others say turn off the water and put it on pilot so that if the tank bursts while you're away, your basement doesn't flood.

Keep in mind that I'm in a very cold climate and I'll be turning down the temp in the house while I'm away.

So, what do you all do?

sunspot 01-20-15 11:01 AM


Originally Posted by Higgy (Post 43328)
Going on vacation, do you turn the hot water tank to pilot and shut the water off to it, or just leave things alone?

I put the pressure pump on a switch. It gets turned off.

pinballlooking 01-20-15 12:23 PM

We have a weekend place at the lake and in the winter I turn the water off at the road. I always turn off the hot water tank. In the summer I turn off the water at the main shut off in the house.
I leak when we do not get back there for a couple weeks would be so bad.

MN Renovator 01-20-15 07:07 PM

If I'm leaving on vacation for a week, I shut the gas valve for the water heater completely off. My pilot burns 4 therms(400,000BTU) per month. If I was leaving for a month in the winter, I'd shut off the main water supply and open all the taps including flushing toilets with the water off to try to prevent the pipes don't burst if they freeze.

If I was to turn the heat off, which I would do if I would be out for two of the coldest months or more of winter. I'd turn off the main valve, cut the copper, drain the hot water tank, open all the water valves in the house and blow things dry. Drains will need 'RV antifreeze' added to the traps including the toilets. Resolder the cut section, refill the hot water tank, and turn the heater back on when I get home.

wuck 01-20-15 11:38 PM

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My wife's cousin left home for a couple of weeks once, on arrival back home there was a stream of water cascading down from the living room above the garage . Apparently shortly after their departure a toilet tank broke (1930's LA area home), the water ran for days. Couple hundred thousand in damage to the entire house, insurance covered it, but man . . .

My house is in Northern/coastal California, moderate climate not too much concern about frozen pipes. When we leave, I either shut the house valve off (well and irrigation on), or turn off the power to the well in the winter when irrigation is off. Water heater goes to pilot (~3 therms/mo), recirc pump off, along with most electronic stuff (power strip or timer switch).

Our vacation house is at 4000 ft in the Sierras, not too far from Lake Tahoe . Most of the year, we shut off water at street and switch off the electric water heater. From November through February, we winterize by shutting off water at meter, opening all valves and draining all lines. RV antifreeze is used in traps, toilets and dishwasher to protect them. The heat pump is left in standby, I have a wifi thermostat to turn it on in advance of our return. I don't drain the water heater.

I had to add a valve to manually drain the dishwasher supply line, having been awarded a frozen/busted valve once after a particularly cold snap - causing a bit of excitement after turning the main valve on and finding our kitchen filling up with water on entry.

Pretty warm up there now, as our water woes continue out here :(


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