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

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