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Old 03-26-2012, 11:06 AM   #1
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Turning off water before vacation


I'm sure there are several threads to this topic, but I wanted some input on my situation. Three days ago, before leaving for a long weekend, I shut off the water at the meter (both sides of the meter), the cold inlet valve, then turned down the temperature to the "vacation" setting. For S's & giggles, I also turned on a couple of faucets to let some of the water out. I've been told a combonation of these was probably not a good idea. Did I put my pluming/water tank in danger when I return home this afternoon?

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Old 03-26-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
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Turning off water before vacation


if you are not giving the water heater any pressure to fill in the event of a leak ( even a drippy faucet) you should turn it off.

just my opinion.

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Old 03-26-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Turning off water before vacation


i always turn off the main shutoff inside my house and relieve a small amount of pressure from a first floor faucet. i don't take all the pressure out of the system, just a small amount.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Turning off water before vacation


I opened the faucets just enough to let any remaining water in them out, then closed them. Is it safe to say the steps I took are okay and suitable for any future instances where I'm away from home overnight?

Is there a recommended pattern to turning everything back on, or just open the main water valves, open the cold water inlet to the heater, crank the temperature back up and that's that?
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:15 PM   #5
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Turning off water before vacation


It is not a bad idea to shut off the water when going on vacation.

It is not necessary to drain the pipes although that may give you a little more peace of mind if it is winter. (In winter, leave kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open if against an outside wall.)

Some houses have a separate "main valve" for outdoor faucets or sprinklers.

Also shut off the water heater heat (turn the small knob to "pilot" for a gas heater). When you return home, get a hot water faucet running for a minute or two before turning the water heater back on.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #6
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Turning off water before vacation


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
It is not a bad idea to shut off the water when going on vacation.

It is not necessary to drain the pipes although that may give you a little more peace of mind if it is winter. (In winter, leave kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open if against an outside wall.)

Some houses have a separate "main valve" for outdoor faucets or sprinklers.

Also shut off the water heater heat (turn the small knob to "pilot" for a gas heater). When you return home, get a hot water faucet running for a minute or two before turning the water heater back on.
AllanJ - Noticing your location, I reside about ten miles south of you, so you have an idea of the weather we had over the last week or so. Also, I left the temperature control knob on the water heater to "vacation" rather than "pilot", is there a real difference between the two settings?

Does it matter if I turned off the cold water inlet if I also turned off all the other water valves?
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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Turning off water before vacation


Quote:
Originally Posted by ninfragile19 View Post
I opened the faucets just enough to let any remaining water in them out, then closed them. Is it safe to say the steps I took are okay and suitable for any future instances where I'm away from home overnight?

Is there a recommended pattern to turning everything back on, or just open the main water valves, open the cold water inlet to the heater, crank the temperature back up and that's that?
Anytime you close a valve at your meter, house input or water heater input, you are creating a closed system. Without a thermal expansion tank in the hot water line, the hot water heater SHOULD be turned off.

Without a thermal expansion tank in the hot water line and if the hot water heater is left on, in a closed system there's no where for heated water to expand. This can cause leaks.

Note that when all valves between the city and the water heater are in the open position and there's no expansion tank, heated water can feed back into the city's water system if the water pressure in the home gets higher than the city pressure. With any valve between the city and the water heater turned off, that can't happen.

You said you set the water heater to vacation mode. If that means turning it off, then you're fine. Just don't forget to turn off the water heater if you close the valve at the meter.

HRG

Last edited by Homerepairguy; 03-26-2012 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:28 PM   #8
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Turning off water before vacation


Quote:
Originally Posted by ninfragile19
AllanJ - I left the temperature control knob on the water heater to "vacation" rather than "pilot", is there a real difference between the two settings?
Yes. The difference is "vacation" leaves the pilot lit.turning to pilot will require you re-lighting the pilot when you turn the hwh back on.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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Turning off water before vacation


I just came home, and looked at my water heater. There are 2 knobs; the operational one with "On", "Pilot", and "Off" with the temperature knob that has the "Vacation" setting. I originally had it stay on with "Vacation" set with the the operational knob at "On."

I opened up the valves at the meter about halfway, opened up the cold water inlet at the water heater, turned on the kitchen and bathroom faucets to let them run a bit with both hot and cold water (separately). Everything seems to be okay.

What would be the smart way to go about doing this in the future so I don't screw anything up with my plumbing or the water heater?
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
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Turning off water before vacation


like the other person said, you can shut off the water heater if you are concerned about expansion while away. if it were me, i would just open up the closest faucet to the water heater all the way on hot and leave it open when you go away. this will act as pressure relief for the water heater.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:34 PM   #11
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Turning off water before vacation


If your water heater has a "vacation" setting, then you may use it instead of turning the other knob to "pilot". By the way, "pilot" does not kill the pilot light; "off" does.

With no "vacation" setting, all the way to the left might stand for "very low" instead of "no heat".

The "pilot" setting lets you put a match to the pilot light to restart it without having the burner come on suddenly a few seconds later with your hand still in there, because the tankful of water had cooled down all the way. If you did have to relight the pilot, hold the pilot knob down for an additional 45 seconds. Release the knob and then turn it to "on" to start the burner.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-27-2012 at 01:40 PM.
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