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Water Heater Tips for Frequent Flyers

Smart ways to keep your water heater working properly

By: | November 17, 2014 3:21 pm

If you travel often or have a second home, you may wonder how to set your hot water heater for the best energy efficiency performance. One of our CONNECT readers had this exact question and after researching the topic, so we decided to post this article on water heater tips.

The question was around turning down a water heater for someone who travels a lot or only needs to heat the water once per week. They had read recommendations that people do not turn the water heater down due to the risk of a bacteria forming that can make you ill. Other Internet sources have mentioned it is a good idea to turn it down.

So What Gives?

Most likely the bacteria being mentioned is Legionella Pneumophilia. This has been known to show up in water temperatures below 120 °F. For that reason, some don’t recommend keeping your water heater at less than 120 °F. However, to help prevent the potential of Legionella appearing after the water in the tank has cooled, we recommend that you flush the tank and pipes and then fire the water heater to 140 °F for a couple of hours before turning it back down to 120 °F. Turning the water heater to 140 °F should kill any Legionella.

Another of our water heater tips, it’s smart to do preventative maintenance. This should be performed regularly to combat scaling and sediment build-up and to get the longest life out of your water heater. Maintenance may include inspecting, draining and various kinds of testing.

Remember the risks

Of course there are risks to leaving your water heater on when you are out of town as well. You may have water leaks due to the pipe value or actual water heater leaking problems. In the worst case, gas problems can also occur. With no one at home to notice, the effect can grow exponentially.

Our advice:

Consider using our HomeSmart program in Minnesota or Colorado to assure the performance of your appliances. HomeSmart provides your home with customized appliance repair plans. With one monthly payment, your appliances will be covered in the occurrence of an unexpected breakdown. No cost for labor, no cost for parts.


A self-professed energy nerd, Paul loves to explore how technology trends are bringing convenience and surprising benefits to our lives.

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