Should You Turn Off Your Water Heater When on Vacation?

Specialist fixing AC panel
If you’re going on vacation soon, you may be wondering what steps you should take to save energy while your home is vacant. For example, most homeowners turn their HVAC systems on at a lower or higher temperature, depending on the season, or turn them off entirely before leaving. Appliances can be unplugged, and lights can be turned off, but should you turn off your water heater when on vacation?

Turning Off Your Water Heater Does Not Provide Significant Energy Savings

For an average week-long vacation, turning off your water heater will not provide any significant energy savings. In fact, you’re likely only to see savings of a few cents a day depending on the make and model of your unit. Unless you’ll be vacating your home for a month or longer, turning off your water heater is unnecessary.

Shutting Off Your Water Heater Can Cause Problems

Turning your water heater off while on vacation could mean you'll come home to problems. The most obvious issue is that you won’t have any hot water. It could take up to an hour for any hot water to be available for those post-travel showers, and this is only if you’re able to turn your water heater back on. If you have an older unit, you may have some difficulty turning it back on after being shut off for several days. The stress of rebooting the system of an older unit could lead to water heater repairs or a full replacement.

Should You Turn Off Your Water Heater When Not in Use?

Instead of turning off your water heater before you head out, put it on “vacation” mode instead. If you don’t have a vacation setting on your unit, manually change the temperature to between 50 and 70 degrees. Although the energy savings will be minimal, you can still save a few pennies while ensuring your water heater will still be working properly when you return from your getaway.

If you are leaving for an extended vacation and will be draining and shutting off your water heater before you leave, be sure to consult your unit’s manual. Follow the instructions word for word when turning your unit back on to avoid any issues. If you’re having trouble getting your water heater back on, contact your local Aire Serv. Happy travels!