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Hot Water System Shut Down Process

If you've ever tried to turn off a hot water system, you might know that it is often not as easy as turning a switch. There are complex and expensive piping systems involved with these systems, and if you're trying to turn them off yourself or do so with unsafe means, they can result in damage or injury.

Steps To Turn Off An Electric Hot Water System

Turn off the power source

Many people make the mistake of not turning off the power source at the main breaker or fuse box. It is essential to do this as it gives you a backup plan should something happen to damage or destroy the hot water heater when trying to turn it off, instead of just leaving it on and risking damage.

Cut out the electrical supply

Turning off the hot water heater is one thing, but many people wonder how to shut it off with a wire or cable. If you have an electric breaker box and can turn the power off there, that's ideal. If not, you'll need to close an electrical circuit (a wire from a wall outlet) that feeds electricity into your home.

Drain the hot water tank

If you're turning off a hot water system, the first thing to do is drain down all the water in the hot water tank. You wouldn't want to be responsible for flooding your house or property. The easiest way to drain it is to turn off the power, open up the water heater's vacuum relief valve, and let it all drain into a bucket or other container.

Find the pilot light

The pilot light is the tiny flame that heats your water. To find it, open up the water heater. Many people don't realise this, but you can still turn off a hot water heater after turning off the power by removing the pilot light. Doing so will kill the flame and stop it from heating up your system.

Disconnect the supply pipes

This means if your hot water is connected to your cold-water line (you have a two-pipe system), turn off or disconnect one of those pipes at its connection to the ground, making sure it's attached correctly when you move it, so there are no leaks in your piping at that point. If you have a three-pipe system (cold, hot, and neutral), shut down that supply by shutting off or disconnecting one of those pipes.

Steps To Turn Off A Gas Hot Water System

Turn off the gas supply

You will usually find this at the meter itself or at a valve in your meter box. Shut off your gas supply by turning off the valve on your gas meter or turning off the one from where you are using the hose. If your home has an electrical hot water heater, turn it off/disconnect its electrical power and gas feed from the central system's control valve.

Ensure safety valves are closed and unblocked

Safety valves release gas in the event of too much pressure in the system. It's essential to make sure that these are closed, and if you have a leak, you could be in store for an explosion, so check all parts carefully.

Shut off remaining water supplies

This will include a stopcock on your system's piping (usually found under the house) and any outside hoses or faucets connected to your hot water system. If you don't know how to shut off the remaining water supplies, call a plumber or gas fitter to do it for you.

Drain lines by closing stopcocks

If you have an above-ground system, open up the drain valves and let the rest of the water out of your system. If you have a ground hot water heating system (such as one that uses a propane tank), check for any remaining water source and drain it by closing off any stopcocks or valves on your piping.

Shut off the hot water service to the heater

This is where the water heater is located, and you can usually shut it off by turning a valve. For above-ground hot water heaters, this is generally in the garage or wherever your hot water system is located.

When doing so, ensure you turn off any other electrical circuits in that area if they have not already been shut off. This can prevent fires and should be done before anything else when learning how to turn off a hot water system.

Ensure other appliances use gas from a different supply line

You can double-check for this with a gas detector or turn off any gas appliances nearby. If you have an electric water system, make sure you shut off all electrical circuits that feed electricity into the house.

Disconnect the gas line from the heater

Turn off the gas valve after doing so to ensure no gas leaks into your house or any part of your system, and use a wrench to disconnect the line. Do not try this without proper tools and safety equipment, or you could cause a gas leak or an explosion that can be fatal.

Drain the system

Split up a check valve between your tank and the collector pipes to drain them, and ensure the system is dry before moving on. Don't skip this step, as you could cause damage to your system while you're trying to turn it off.

Unscrew and disconnect the collector

The collectors are attached to the water tanks using a couple of pipes and some screws, and you will need to unscrew them and detach the pipes. If you have hoses instead of pipes, drain that water before trying to shut your system off. Your collector should be located under the sun, so if it's under your roof (as with a conventional hot water system) or in an area where it's blocked from the sun, it will not function properly.

Shut off the manifold

If you have hoses, these are usually located near your tank and collector pipes. It works like a tap, with the collector (and water) connected to one side and the tank on the other. Close off this tap to turn off your system.

Drain anything that's left

This includes any outside hoses, taps, or water supplies that are attached to your system's piping.

Remove the manifold from your collectors

This is where you'll screw the taps back on, and when you do this, make sure that the connection is good enough that you won't get any leaks in the pipes or solder joints. If you have hoses, drain out all water that may be inside them as well.

Precautions For Turning Off A Hot Water System

Turning off a hot water system is something you should do from time to time, but if you're not doing it properly, or if you want to make sure you don't cause harm to your home or system when doing so, there are certain precautions that you should take.

Ensure the gas supply is off

Making sure the gas supply is turned off at the main control valve is the most critical part of turning off your hot water system, and you'll usually find it near the water heater itself. If you have a ground unit, this is generally in your garage or basement (where you can also shut off the electricity).

Don't leave behind any air bubbles in the system

Depending on how close your tank/collector pipes are to each other and other parts of your piping, some air within them could prevent them from turning off completely without causing a leak. You should check for this before shutting down and then check again to ensure nothing was left behind by mistake.

Ensure there are no leaks

You can use a leak detector to check for these or simply check for leaks after you've turned your system back on. If you do find any, identify where they are and fix them before trying to shut down again. If you do not have time to fix them, avoid turning on the water while they are leaking – just turn it off again and inspect at some other point later when you have time.

Any water left within the pipes could cause damage during this time, and if it finds its way into other sectors of your house while you're shutting off your system, it could cause damage to something else (such as electrical wiring).

Turn off the gas before turning off the water supply

You can turn off the main control valve with a wrench or a wrench-like tool. This will also shut off your gas supply, which could be harmful if you don't do this before turning off your water supply.

Have the necessary tools

You should ensure that you have a set of wrenches and screwdrivers (with a range of sizes) to be able to tighten, remove and repair any fittings. Other items you'll need include a pipe cutter (if installing new pipes) and pipe electrician's tape. Ensure they're all clean and well maintained before taking them out (so they don't damage your hot water system).

Keep the house cool while turning off the system

Turning your hot water off in the middle of summer is not good. If you stay at home while doing it, turn it off, only use cool water, and never touch any electrical and gas wires while doing so – keeping the house cool will make all this work better.

Close all ventilation sources

It's better not to turn off your hot water if you can avoid it. Also, keep the windows, doors, and roof vents closed if you can. If you must go out for some reason, close the door behind you so that no heat or hot air can escape while turning off your hot water system.

Turn off any other heating systems

If you have the central heating in your house already turned on, ensure this is turned off before turning off your hot water heater (and then turning it on after doing so). This will prevent any damage to the boiler and other things that may be too hot during the process.

A solar water heater won't work for people living in the high Arctic due to the intense cold there. Most geothermal heating installations use makeup heat.

Affordable Hot Water Systems Australia

There are several hot water systems that you can get from various sources in Australia. Some of these are more economical than others, though if you're looking for something that will last a very long time and still cost only a small amount, you'll want to look into all the heating options.

If you end up going for either of these systems, you must ensure that everything is functioning before using the system. You may need to re-calibrate or contact one of their support teams if there are any issues with the system. A more effective way is to work with a plumber to handle everything for you.


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Hayden was on time and explained the issue clearly, fixed it,then also did some extra checks on water pressure and taps to ensure there were no underlying issues.
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