Can water be turned off hot-water heater

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We are leaving town for a month and want to turn off the water to the hot-water heater. It is natural gas with a pilot light that stays lit all the time. Can the water be turned off without turning off the gas? My husband says this is dangerous because the gas will come on when the water cools down and evaporate it all out and burn the bottom out of the heater or blow up. Could this happen? Any suggestions? Neither one of us can re-light the pilot light
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Turn off the gas and find someone that can relight the pilot. Chances are, nothing would happen, but there is still that possibility of it draining for some reason.
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1) Does you physical condition prevent you from lighting the pilot? If so, what about a neighbor?
2) If you don't want to deal with the pilot light, get close to the temperature knob with a flashlight. Many will have "Vacation" engraved on them, or some other indication of a level which is just shy of actually turning the thing completely off.
3) The water heater is a sealed system, not a pot of water on the stove. Where does your husband think the water will evaporate to? I think you won on this point, and he owes you a foot massage.
By the way, if the heater is very old and on the verge of failing, that would bring you back to #1, the pilot light. Get the foot massage first, and THEN mention this to your husband. :-)
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Instead of "on the verge of failing", I should've said "If its age makes you wonder.....". Even so, nobody really knows when the stupid things are going to go belly up.
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On Fri, 14 Jan 2005 16:18:21 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

Murphy always knows!
BB
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That asshole! Let's beat the crap outta him! He knew when my laundry sink was gonna overflow, but he didn't say a word.
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First start by learning how to relight the pilot. Operating equipment other than the designed way requires an understanding of how the appliance operates. You do not say if this is for a long period of time nor the temperature concerns if any.
On the dial of the water heater that should say "pilot". Move the dial to that setting and then see if the burner comes on. If not you should be able to shut off the water. Given information provided.
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Karen wrote:

It's ironic that we are so concerned about the water heater when we leave the house when there are so many more things that can go wrong.
Two years ago we left for a 4 day minivacation. When we got back we found the house flooded from a broken fill valve in a commode. Over 10,000 gallons of water had run through the house. The sheetrock was wet 3' up the walls. The ground was soggy for 20' around the house. The cleanup & repair bill was $14,000 (thank God for insurance!). So now we turn the water off at the curb (valve on our side of the meter) if we are leaving for more than a day or two.
Bob S.
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Holy shit. :-( I take it you were not pleased.
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On 1/14/2005 11:48 AM US(ET), Doug Kanter took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

And then the water bill came!
--
Bill

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Enough. I'm cleaning out all my basement floor drains tomorrow with a magnifying glass and tweezers.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

To say the least! It took 10 days of professional size fans & dehumidifiers to dry the house to where repairs could start. All because a Fluidmaster plastic fill valve broke in half about an inch above the bottom of the tank. As I mentioned the problem to quite a few plumbers, none were surprised. Some said Fluidmaster valve failures are a large part of their business. With all the hardware stores selling them I thought they were decent quality. No more for me - all mine are now brass. If there is a humorous note to my problem, we stopped at a casino while on vacation and I won $250. Of course that had to be the amount of the insurance deductable! BTW, talking to the city waterworks and showing them the repair bill resulted in them writing off 1/2 of the water bill. Not great, but better than nothing. Bob S.
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refill process--Fluidmaster shutoff "didn't"--overflow tube handled most of the water, the rest leaked out of the tank through the lever (handle) hole. Wiped out two bathrooms, one on top of the other. Professional restoration company came in. 2 to 3 people for one week of drying everything out, tearing everything apart-walls, tiled floors, vanities, tiled shower et al. $23,000 and six months later we were put back together. I must admit though, despite all the aggravation, we were able to significantly upgrade both bathrooms and ended up better than we started out. Not that you want this to happen again but if it does, don't deal with it yourself----call in a Public Adjuster. Even though it costs, you will end up better off--they deal with the insurance company and will get a better settlement. MLD
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Do both--shut off the water at the main shutoff valve--usually just before the water meter. Turn off the gas at the water heater. Worry about lighting it in a month when you get back. As a minimum, open the lowest faucets and let the water drain out. If you're in a cold weather climate get some RV Anti-Freeze (Home Depot in Plumbing) and put some in all your sinks, toilet bowls (after flushing so as to empty the tank), washing machine and it's drain trap, dishwasher and showers etc. Where ever you will have standing water. MLD
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They could concoct a perfect story, call the gas company, and tell them their pilot light went out. I don't know about other parts of the country, but here (Rochester NY), they'll stop by at no charge for that kind of stuff, especially if you can make yourself sound really clueless. If you blow up your house, the utility guys have to leave Dunkin' Donuts for longer than if they just helped you with something small.
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If you're going to go to that trouble, you should probably think about draining the water heater also (since it's a large, unheated tank of water if you turn off the gas).
Personally, I think it's a better idea to leave the gas turned on, turn the temperature control to the lowest (or 'vacation') setting, and turn off the main water valve for the house. If you're really concerned that the water heater will spring a leak, then it's probably time to replace it. In any event, 40-50 gallons of water spilling on to a basement floor isn't usually too much to worry about, unless your basement is developed and there isn't a drain near to the water heater.
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If you live in an area that can reach 20f or so have the water main shut off by the city and drain everything. Heating equipment breaks when you need it , this will prevent freezing pipes. An unocupied house is often denied insurance. Turn off completly the water heater, no the water wont boil out if you dont, it is just safer. Call your insurance broker.
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On Fri, 14 Jan 2005 10:42:20 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

We do turn the water off to washing machine, don't have a dishwasher. So if I'm reading the reply's correctly we can turn the water off? I went down and looked, there is no vacation mode, or pilot light only mode. Temperature is not a problem with pipes freezing. Thanks
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There should be a valve where the water main comes into the house. Turn it off there. On the water heater, there should be an arrow that says higher/lower temperature. Turn it as low as possible. Also if you haven't used the water main turn off for a while, turn off the water for a few hours the day before you go just to make sure that valve doesn't leak after being moved for the first time.
(m Ransley) wrote:

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Or, try it a day or two ahead of time, in case the water company needs to come out and deal with the drip.
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