Vacation Treatment of Hot Water Heater

We're going to be off for a 3 week vacation next week, and want to turn off the water in the house. The problem is that the hot water heater is in the attic.
My concern is that if I leave the gas on "heat" mode, I run the risk of boiling the water out of the tank and maybe having a fire hazard. The other option is to simply leave the pilot on, but I am not sure that will keep the water warm enough to prevent freezing of the water in the tank.
Other material facts: 1) It's a 50 gallon gas hot water heater. 2) It does wear an insulation blanket outside of the tank. 3) We live in the Dallas area so it normally doesn't get terribly cold in December, and when it gets cold it tends to not stay that way for very long.
What do you think?
Thanks in advance for any opinions.
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On Sat, 22 Nov 2003 21:37:41 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@junkmail.flash.net (RN) wrote:

Why? Does your heater not shut off when the water reaches a max temp?
Barry
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<< We're going to be off for a 3 week vacation next week, and want to turn off the water in the house. >>
You could ask a friend to do a daily house check and avoid any problems. Might also check on house sitting services. Check your insurance policy to see if they will pay any claims for damages that occur during the time the house might be unoccupied. We had an unfortunate incident in our neighborhood when the owners were remodeling (but not living in) their house and a failed thermostat caused water damage which the insurabnce company promptly weaseled out of. With the water off you should put antifreeze in all the sink and toilet traps. Drain the water heater and turn off the gas, too. All of this might be overkill in your area, but hey, it's your peace of mind you want isn't it? HTH
Joe
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RN wrote:

Turn off the water? I can understand turning off the water to the washer and the ice maker, since hoses tend to break at the most inopportune times. Why the rest of the house?

Set it to pilot, to save gas. Leave a key with a neighbor in case the temp takes an unexpected dip.
Note, when you return, be sure to let the water run for a while, perhaps to shower, wash clothes, etc before drinking any.
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If it were me, I'd just turn the temp down on it to the lowest setting (it may even have a "vacation" setting) and leave it on.
I've left my tank on for a week or more with the water shut off and the temperature not reduced with no ill effect.
Seems very unlikely to me you could "boil off" 50 gallons of water in 3 weeks - also seems unlikely it would freeze with the pilot light only on if it's insulated and you live in Dallas.
If you wanted to be 100% sure, turn it off and drain it (easy to do if it's in the attic, just turn on a hot water tap and let it drain).
John

off the water in the

boiling the water out of

leave the pilot on, but I

the water in the tank.

December, and when it

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btw - I'm on your side about turning off the water when you're not there.
I live in the country so am on well and septic - therefore no drain in the basement. A plumbing leak would result in 8 feet of water in a 2000 square foot finished basement (office, family room, work shop, exercise room etc.).
Consequently, I have strategically-located water detectors that turn off the main supply and the well pump on any sign of moisture. Also, whenever the alarm system is set, after 2 hours, the power to the well pump goes off. From midnight until 6 AM, every night, the power to the well pump goes off (motion detectors turn it on for 5 minutes to accommodate middle of the night flushes). :-)
John

in
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Turn off the water main , turn the temp down, then you have no pressure to break pipes
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On Sat, 22 Nov 2003 21:37:41 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@junkmail.flash.net (RN) wrote:

It won't boil out. Set it to the lowest heat setting.
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off the water in the

boiling the water out of

leave the pilot on, but I

the water in the tank.

December, and when it

This is Turtle.
just set hot water tank on vacation setting also is the lowest setting and cut water main off. Do open one focet on the hot water service valve to not build up thermal expanion if it occures. I have never seen a gas hot water tank dry out and hurt a thing. 100F water and 100F air is the same thing to the thermostat. You can have a 150f tank of air or water but both are seen by the thermostat as the same.
TURTLE
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