Summer is almost here and you can hardly wait to take that long-awaited vacation. As you’re working out the final details of your budget, you might be looking for ways to save money and use that extra cash to treat yourself.
One question homeowners frequently ask is, “Will turning off the water heater before going on vacation help lower utility bills?”
The answer is, it isn’t necessary to turn off the water heater. Instead, turn the dial on the water heater to the “vacation” setting. This will have the same effect as turning down the thermostat, without having to turn it off completely.
If You Did Turn Off the Water Heater — How Do You Turn it Back On?
If you have an electric or gas water heater, here’s what you do:
- Close faucets and valves.
- Turn on the cold water.
- Light the pilot light.
- If you have a gas water heater, switch the gas valve to “On”.
- If you have an electric water heater, turn on the circuit breaker for the hot water heater.
All Was Well, Until. . . It Wasn’t
So you just got back from vacation and spent nearly an hour trying to turn on the water heater. If hot water refuses to flow, you may have a water heater issue on your hands.
Over time, calcium and magnesium can build up leading to “hard” water and impact the water heater. Water softeners can be a worthwhile investment to prevent damage. In addition, you can flush your water heater with a system descaler to remove buildup.
If Saturday is shower day for everyone in the house, the last victim to shower may be left with only cold water. Your water heater may not have enough capacity to handle everyone’s hot water demands and may need to be upgraded. Or, you may consider adding a second unit.
Blocked Air Supply or Exhaust
If your tankless water heater is showing an error message about air supply or exhaust, you will need to inspect vent pipes to identify issues with venting or combustion air. Upon inspection, you may find puncture holes or poor pipe connections. You should also check to make sure vents are not being blocked by nearby objects such as bird nests, rodents, or wasp nests. Objects too close to the water heater can restrict the air supply and even create a fire hazard.
Failure to Ignite
The water heater can fail to ignite if the gas supply is low or if the gas valve or water valves are not fully opened. If opening the gas and water valves fails to ignite the water heater, the problem may lie with a failed ignition pack. We recommend reaching out to a professional to diagnose and solve the problem.
The most common cause for this issue may be an electrical or gas pressure problem. Other causes of flame failure may be low levels of propane, regulator failure, venting, combustion issues, or an inadequate gas line. These last potential causes should be ruled out and addressed by a professional.
Preventing Water Heater Disasters
Since we’re on the subject of water heaters, here are a few ways to prevent water heater disasters.
- Twice a year, drain your water heater to get rid of sediment buildup.
- Once a year, check the water heater pressure relief valve.
- Replace the gas water heater every 10 years, and the electric water heater every 15 years.
We recommend purchasing a tankless water heater to save energy and lower utility bills. Contact our team today to service your water heater and learn more about your options.