General Question

Maxfli54's avatar

Do I turn off an electric water heater at a vacation home during the off season?

Asked by Maxfli54 (3points) September 29th, 2008

I am not sure if I should turn off the electric water heater during the winter when our home in MASS. is not in use, and if so do I need to drain it? (Water is shut off at the main for the season) It does get cold in the house so leaving it at a low temperature may be best, but am I doing damage leaving the water sitting in the heater all winter. Thanks for the help

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5 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

I would certainly recommend turning everything off, if you are going to be away from a place for an extended period of time, if for no other reason than the fact that you really don’t need an electric bill.

My late uncle had a summer vacation home in NC, and when he would leave it for the winter, he would throw the master switch on the circuit breaker box, and everything electrical in that place would be shut off, except for the battery-powered clocks.

kevbo's avatar

An oblique answer, but to prep for the winter, we drain and shut off all water-related stuff (including the toilet and the water heater) in our family cabin to prevent freezes from cracking the (PVC) pipes. We also pour a cup of antifreeze in the toilet bowl.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

If you shut off the heater, drain the tank otherwise it may freeze and damage the heater. With the water shut off, you are probably best shutting everything down including the water heater. It is possible, I think, that enough water could evaporate in the heater, if it was left on, to require it to call for more water from the system to replenish the tank. Due to the water being shut off it can’t get more water and it may burn out the element.


JackAdams's avatar

Excellent advice!

I wish I had remembered to mention that.

wbhobbs's avatar

Water is not going to evaporate out of a hot water heater unless you have a hole in it. (soda doesn’t evaporate from an unopened bottle)

1) If you leave for an extended period, turn off the water heater to save energy and money.

2) You might as well shut off the water, just in case you develop a leak.

3) If the space is heated (set your thermostat to 50) or will not freeze (summer, etc.), you can leave the water in the heater.

4) If it’s going to get cold, drain the heater (and everything else with water in it).

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