Should I Turn Off Water Heater if Water is Off?

Should I turn off water Heater if water is off? This is perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions on the internet, and, as is often the case with questions asked on the internet, it’s at the same time, one of the most ill-advised.

Should I turn off water heater if water is off? Honestly, the true answer is it depends on some scenarios. There are a wide variety of scenarios where either answer would suffice, but there isn’t one simple answer to this. First of all, considering the fact that the water heater itself, especially high quality tankless water heater, was designed to be as accident-free as possible.

When You Should Turn the Heater Off

  • The first scenario is the most obvious one, and it’s not merely advice to help you keep safe. This comes about when, for instance, your water tank is empty and you’re leaving for an extended period of time. Most water heaters usually divided into two, separating the cold and hot water.
  • They also have a dip tube on the cold water side that keeps the cold water at the bottom of the tank. If anything happens and pressure is lost on the cold water side, the tank siphons down through the cold water inlet until it reaches the bottom of the dip tube. Then, considering there's no more water in the tank to absorb this heat, the dip tube may melt and the tank will end up getting be damaged.
  • However, this is a very unlikely scenario, since it depends on the absence of water from your tank, which, in itself is completely unlikely. You’d have to intentionally cut off the supply from the water tank, or otherwise, be experiencing serious water shortages for this to over come into play. Should I turn off water heater if water is off? In the scenario your water tank is empty or significantly lacking water, the answer simple answer is yes.

When it really doesn’t matter to turn it off

  • If my water tank significantly is full, should I turn off water heater if water is off? Most people ask, If my water heater is left on, and the water supply is shut off, will any damage occur to the gas fired water heater, if very little of the hot water won’t be used much, or not at all?
  • Well, if you won’t be using the water for some time, and the water will only be off for a short time there is little to no risk involved. You can also shut off the cold feed valve just to ensure no water is siphoned out of the tank if cold water is also used with the tank off.

This would, however, not allow much of the hot water to be used out of the tank as this will have now air locked the system. You need to note, however, that the water heater will still turn on and off to maintain the water temperature inside of the tank, anyway.

Think about what would happen if you ever go away for a prolonged period of time. In most circumstances, there will be no water use for days, maybe even weeks and this doesn’t cause any problems with the tank. Even if someone does use water from the tank most (if not all) modern water heaters have low water cutoffs normally built into the unitroll (or aquastat).

Now, your tank has a dip tube for the inlet. This dip tube, according to standard specifications, stops 4 to 8 inches above the unitroll (this basically regulates temperature water inside the tank). It ensures that for whatever reason if the cold supply happens to lose pressure, the water isn’t siphoned out of the tank completely.

This design is meant to avoid the tank from being "tricked" to continuously running in order to try and maintain temperature if all of the hot water in the tank is used up. This also helps avoid the possibility of a melting dip tube or a catastrophic failure of the tank.

  • Should I turn off water heater if water is off? Don’t worry. The fabulous design already did your job for you. You don’t have anything to worry about.

Should I Turn Off Water Heater if Water is Off? The final answer

  • To be honest, and completely realistic, there is no danger involved in having the tank on with the water off, especially since the tank works through water pressure in order to supply the hot water and the tank pressure will be equal to your water pressure the whole time - if there’s no inlet water pressure, there will be no resultant outlet water pressure.
  • Besides, if shutting off your water and leaving your water heater on even happens to cause damage or catastrophic failure, then the water heater manufacturers would be up to their necks in lawsuits every day. That’s the whole point of engineering, really. Even if it did cause any issues, all the parts of the machine, including the labor provision and costs, would be covered by the manufacturer.
  • So, should I turn off water heater if water is off? At this point, it’s hard to say anymore. Depending on your situation, you should or you shouldn’t.
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