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How to Set Your Water Heater to Vacation Mode and Turn It Back

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Water heating systems require a lot of energy to operate. For this reason, more and more environmentally conscious people (and those who just want to lower their bills) are learning how to put their water heaters into “vacation mode” with the idea of saving energy. 

So what exactly is vacation mode, and where do you find it on your system? 

Water Heater Vacation Mode: What Is It? 

Vacation mode is a setting on your water heater system that allows you to run your boiler at lower temperatures than normal, saving energy. Typically, manufacturers set vacation mode to 50° F—well below the warmth you need to heat your home, but hot enough to prevent any water from freezing while you’re away. 

For certain systems, you won’t have to change manufacturer settings. If you want the water to run hotter or colder, you can adjust the dial. But either way, the goal is to reduce the activity of your water heater, cut down on energy use, and reduce your bills, while keeping your pipes from freezing and causing damage. 

Where Do You Find Vacation Mode And How Do You Use It?

There are several methods that water heater manufacturers let you use to put your device in vacation mode, with the chief among these being a specific setting on the thermostat itself. 

Go to the thermostat and scroll through the menu to see if yours offers a vacation mode. If it does, then just select it, and the system will do the rest for you. 

If there’s no vacation mode explicitly detailed on your thermostat, then you can manually do the same thing a vacation mode would by turning the temperature down to “Pilot” mode, and then leaving it there until you get back. 

Why You Should Put Your Water Heater In Vacation Mode

The main reason for putting your water heater in vacation mode is to save money. There’s no point in heating your water to 120 degrees if you’re not going to be there to use it. It is a waste of energy that pointlessly raises your bills. The other motivation is to prevent freezing water from damaging your pipes in extended spells of cold weather.

If you turn your water heating system off while you’re away and water freezes into ice, you run the risk of:

  • Cracks
  • Damage to your plumbing
  • And possibly necessitating the entire replacement of your system

As the ice expands, it damages the surrounding piping, leading to leaks when it finally thaws. Then, when you turn your system back on again it doesn’t work, and you often end up with unfortunate flooding in your home.

How to Turn Your Water Heater Back On

After returning from a vacation or an extended period away from home, it's important to reactivate your water heater properly to ensure hot water availability and efficient operation. At The Water Heater Company, we're here to guide you through the simple steps of turning your water heater back on safely and effectively.

Gas Water Heaters

  • Locate the Temperature Dial: Find the temperature dial on your water heater. The temperature dial is normally placed near the bottom of the tank.
  • Adjust the Temperature: Turn the temperature dial back to your desired setting. For most households, a temperature setting of around 120°F (49°C) is recommended for a balance between energy efficiency and hot water comfort.
  • Wait for Heating: Give the water heater some time to heat the water. Depending on the size of your tank, it might take a few hours to reach the desired temperature.

Electric Water Heaters

  • Locate the Circuit Breaker: Find the circuit breaker labeled for your water heater. This is in your home's electrical panel.
  • Switch On the Breaker: Flip the circuit breaker for the water heater back to the "On" position. This will restore power to the heating elements.
  • Be Patient: As you turn the power back on, the water heater will begin heating the water. Allow some time for the water to reach the desired temperature.

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Refer to the Manual: Since tankless water heaters vary by model, it's essential to refer to your manufacturer's manual for specific instructions on reactivating your unit.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Your manual should outline the steps to take to bring your tankless water heater out of vacation mode and back into operation.

Tips to Consider

  • Check for Hot Water: After reactivating your water heater, test the hot water taps in your home to ensure that hot water is flowing properly.
  • Monitor for Any Issues: While uncommon, if you notice any unusual noises, leaks, or issues with the hot water supply after reactivating your water heater, it's advisable to contact our professionals for assistance.

Call The Water Heater Company Today

Setting the system to “Vacation” or “Pilot” mode saves energy while also preventing damage to your water heater. It’s a compromise between using no power at all and using a little bit of heat to avoid extensive damage to your system.

So, as you can see, vacation mode is an essential feature of your water heater. And even if there isn’t an explicit vacation mode in the settings on your thermostat, you can still reduce the temperature to protect your home while you’re away.

If you have any concerns about turning your water heater back on or want professional assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to The Water Heater Company. Our experts are here to help you navigate the process smoothly and make sure your water heater is operating optimally upon your return.

If you need further assistance with your water heater, make sure you work with a professional at The Water Heater Company to get the water heater services you need to get your system back in working order.

Need help with your water heater? Give us a call today at (877) 274-1485 or send us a message online to make an appointment.

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