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Old 08-08-2010, 01:35 AM   #1
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Water heater sitting idle - problem?


We have two water heaters - a gas one in the basement that is used for the first and second floor and provides for both main bathrooms as well as the kitchen and an electric one in the utility room on the third floor. On the third floor there is a small bath with a very tiny shower that is never used. The guy who lived here before installed this and put in a light switch that turns the third floor water heater on and off, which is very handy.

We've lived here for 10 years. After the first year, we just turned the third floor one off since no one ever uses the shower up here. My question is, is there any danger in this thing one day springing a leak and creating a shower through the two main floors of the house? If so, is there a way to prevent this while still having access to the sink and toilet up here - my office is up here.

thanks for any help

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Old 08-08-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
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Water heater sitting idle - problem?


First turn off the dedicated breaker in your panel to that water heater. (It probably is a 30 amp double breaker if it's a 220v water heater.)
Then turn the water supply off to it (should have a cold water supply cut-off valve near top of heater), open the nearby vanity sink hot water faucet and the T&P valve on the water heater for air, and gravity-drain it down with a water hose attached to the drain at the bottom.
That will take the power off and water pressure out of the heater. If you ever need it again, you can flush it out with water, fill up the tank, and then turn the power back on.
Good luck!
Mike

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Old 08-08-2010, 03:13 AM   #3
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Water heater sitting idle - problem?


Once it's drained, can the valve be turned back on? As I said, this is the supply for the water to the sink and toilet in this 3rd floor bath and I would still like to have those available.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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Water heater sitting idle - problem?


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2muttsmom View Post
Once it's drained, can the valve be turned back on? As I said, this is the supply for the water to the sink and toilet in this 3rd floor bath and I would still like to have those available.
sure, but what exactly do you want turned on? do you need the hot water for the third floor sink? or just cold water? is it just the shower you want off? does the small elec WH supply just the shower or the sink as well?
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:05 AM   #5
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Water heater sitting idle - problem?


The water heater should have it's own shut off valve on the supply line to the heater. If not you will need to install one in order for the other fixtures to have cold water while the heater is off.
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Old 08-08-2010, 02:30 PM   #6
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Water heater sitting idle - problem?


Thanks, guys. We just want access to the cold water. No need for hot water up here at all. I'll check and see if there is a shut off valve to the WH that is separate from the "normal" cold water. If so, seems like an easy fix. Just drain the WH and shut off the breaker. There is actually a separate smaller electrical box up here in the supply closet that ties into the main one in the basement that I assume is for the lights up here, second furnace A/C, and this WH so should be easy to ID which breaker to shut down. Thanks again.

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