Whether or not you leave your hot water on while you are on vacation will be determined by a number of factors. These include the age and location of your water heater, its hosing or piping, and the amount of time you will be away on holiday.
How Old is Your Hot Water Heater?
If your hot water heater is approximately (or older than) 10 years old, you may want to turn off your hot water heater when you leave on holiday. Older heaters have a greater risk of leaking or rupturing and may cause damage to your home while you are away.
You should note that it could be difficult to turn on an older heater after a holiday as well. If you plan to be gone for a day or two, it may not be worth it, especially since you may have to wait for you post-travel showers.
Where is Your Hot Water Heater Located?
If your hot water heater is indoors, you may want to turn it off while you are away. Even if your hot water heater isn’t aged, if it were to leak or rupture while you were away, it could cause flooding in your home. Unchecked for a period of time could cause costly repairs.
Braided Hoses or Copper Pipework?
If your hot water heater is connected with braided hoses, turn it off when you leave for your holiday. Braided hoses are created out of rubber and can rupture under pressure. If you have copper pipework, there is a smaller chance that your heater will cause damage.
How Long Do You Plan to Be Gone?
If you are gone for a weekend or a few days, there may be little difference on whether or not you turn off your heater. It is unlikely that you will see much of a change on your bill either way.
If your holiday will last for a few weeks (over a month), you may save a fair amount on your utility bills while you are away if you turn it off. Ensuring that your water heater is off will also prevent water damage if something were to happen to your hot water heater.
Use “Holiday Mode”
Instead of turning your hot water heater off completely, you could also reduce the heat to between 10-20°C while you are away. You won’t have to worry about restarting the heater when you return, you may still save a few pennies per day on your utilities, and it is less likely that your hot water heater will explode.
Can a Hot Water Heater Explode?
A hot water heater can explode if the pressure relief valve of the hot water heater malfunctions or the temperature is set too high. The best way to prevent your hot water heater from exploding is by making sure you keep it at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature or lower.
As the hot water heats and turns to gas, the heater needs to release its pressure through the relief valve. If the valve malfunctions, the pressure will build until it ultimately explodes. When it explodes, it is likely to shoot through your roof, causing damage to your home. Exploded tanks have often been found several blocks away from its origin.
Is it Cheaper to Leave Your Hot Water System on All the Time?
It is generally cheaper to turn off your hot water system when you don’t need it and only turn it back on 30-45 minutes before you take a hot bath or shower. Allowing your hot water system to continually run requires it to use the boiler periodically to keep it a specific heat.
Some systems have a central heating programmer to give you a little hot water in between periods where you need a lot.