Improving Energy Efficiency – Turning off the Water Heater While on Vacation

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 42,369
    Water Heater Expert Jim Connors discusses improving energy efficiency by turning off the water heater while on vacation.

    Jim Connors: Hi! I'm Jim Connors with Rheem Manufacturing Company. I'm here today showing you how to make an existing water heater more energy-efficient. Now, I'm going to show you what to do with your water heater while you're on vacation.

    A storage water heater maintains a ready supply of hot water, but standby heat loss accounts for much of the energy usage. When traveling or away from the home for an extended period of time, simply turn the water heater off. The thermostat dial in the gas water heater has a setting called Vacation or Pilot. Turn the dial to that setting. This will keep the water heater pilot on, but prevent the burner from coming on while there is no need for heating water.

    When you return, turn the dial back to the Warm setting, approximately a 120 degrees. In 45 minutes to an hour, you'll have a full tank of hot water again. Turning off an electric water heater is easy. Just shut off the breakers. There should be a dedicated labeled circuit breaker for the water heater, so it's easy to identify. When you return, flip the breakers back on, in about an hour, you should have a full tank of hot water again.

    Those are some tips on what to do with your water heater while on vacation. Next, I'll provide other energy saving tips such as repairing leaky faucets and insulating hot water pipes.