Can You Still Use Water If Water Heater Is Off?

If you need to turn your water heater off for one reason or another, then you may be wondering if you can still use the water. It's important to know your options and what you can do in this situation. Let's take a look at whether or not you can use the water when your water heater is turned off.

If your water heater needs to be turned off, then you can still have access to water. However, you will only have cold water until you turn the water heater back on. This means that you won't be able to use any hot water appliances, such as a dishwasher or washing machine.

Not having your water heater can be an inconvenience, but it's better than not having any water at all. In this article, we will discuss whether you can still use water if your water heater is off. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about water heaters, so read on!

White instant water heater installed with circuit breaker on the wall of bathroom, Can You Still Use Water If Water Heater Is Off?

Can I Still Run Water Without My Water Heater On?

The water heater in your home has one job, and that is to heat water. Once the water has been heated, it will be stored in the tank until it is needed. When you turn off your water heater, the heating element will no longer work to heat the water. However, the water supply will still work, but it won't be hot. 

This means that you can still run water, but it will only be cold water. If you need hot water, then you will need to turn your water heater back on. Keep in mind that it may take some time for the hot water to come through the pipes, so be patient.

But why would you need to turn off your water heater? There are a few reasons why you might need to do this.

Plumber Pipe and Adjustable Wrenches on Water Heater Gas Line

Water Isn't Running For 24 Hours

If your water supply is off for one reason or another, then you won't have any water at all. In this case, you should turn your water heater off to conserve energy. This way, you won't be using electricity to heat water that you can't even use.

Then go to your sinks and faucets and let them all run until the water is gone. This will help to remove any sediment that may have built up in the pipes. Once the water is turned back on, you can then turn your water heater back on and let it fill up again.

On Vacation

If you are going on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time, then you should turn your water heater off. This is especially true if you won't have anyone staying at your home while you are gone.

Not only will this save you money on your energy bill but it will also help to prevent any accidents. If there is a power outage or something else happens, then you won't have to worry about your water heater flooding your home.

You can use your breaker box to shut off the power to your water heater. Then, open up the drain valve to let all of the water out. Once the water is gone, close the valve and then turn off the gas or propane.

If you have an electric water heater, then you can simply turn it off at the breaker box. There is no need to drain the tank.

Water Heater Is Leaking

If your water heater is leaking, then it's best to turn it off right away. This will help to prevent any further damage. Once you've turned it off, you can then call a plumber to come and take a look at it.

In the meantime, you can still use cold water. Just be sure not to turn on any hot water appliances, as this could cause the leak to worsen.

Other Maintenance

If your water heater needs other maintenance, such as a new anode rod, then you may need to turn it off. This is because some maintenance tasks need to be done with the power off.

If you're not sure how to turn your water heater off or don't feel comfortable doing it, then you can always call a professional. They will be able to come to your home and take care of everything for you.

Technician repairing an hot-water heater

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Depending on the type of water heater you have, they can last anywhere from 6-13 years. It may seem like a broad range, but there are a lot of factors that can affect how long your water heater will last.

However, tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years or more. So, if you're looking for a water heater that will last a long time, then you may want to consider getting a tankless model.

Some of the things that can shorten the lifespan of your water heater include:

Hard Water

This can cause sediment to build up in your tank, which can lead to corrosion.

Not Flushing The Tank

You should flush your tank at least once a year to remove any sediment that has built up.

Too Much Pressure

If the water pressure in your home is too high, then it can put a strain on your tank and cause it to fail prematurely.


If you have a leak in your tank, then it's best to replace it right away. Otherwise, the leak could cause irreparable damage.

If you take good care of your water heater, then it should last for many years. But if you start to notice any problems, then it's best to call a professional. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action.

Can You Shower With The Water Heater Off?

If you can tolerate a cold shower, then yes, you can shower with the water heater off. However, your other choice is to heat up some water on the stove and pour it into the tub.

Of course, this isn't the most ideal situation. But if you're in a bind, then it's better than nothing. If your water heater shuts off on its own, then you can try to troubleshoot.

Sometimes this is caused by a tripped breaker. However, if the breaker keeps tripping, then there may be a problem with your water heater. In this case, you'll need to call a professional to take a look at it.

Outdoor shower head for the bath and showering cold water to body before jumping in the resort pool

What Can Cause A Water Heater To Flood?

Built-up pressure is the most common cause of water heater flooding. This can happen if the temperature is set too high or if there is a lot of sediment in the tank. In severe cases, your water heater can start a fire or explode. This is why it's so important to know how to turn it off properly.

If you notice that your water heater is starting to leak, then you should turn it off right away. If there is any home damage from the flood, then contact your insurance company.

What Are The Signs That Your Water Heater Is Going Bad?

There are a few signs that your water heater is going bad. For one, it may start making strange noises. This can be anything from popping and cracking to banging and gurgling. Another sign is if the water coming out of your taps is discolored. This can be a sign of rust in your tank.

In addition, if you are running out of hot water quickly, then this may be a sign that your water heater is on its last legs. And last but not least, constant repairs combined with old age are also a sign that it's time for a replacement.

How Do You Dispose Of An Old Water Heater?

If your water heater is beyond repair, then you'll need to dispose of it. You can't just put it out on the curb, though. In most cases, you'll need to take it to a recycling center. They will be able to properly dispose of it for you.

If you can't take it to a recycling center, see if they will come and pick it up. Otherwise, you may need to hire a junk removal service to get rid of it for you.

The heating element is covered with rust and scale, with screws on the background of the boiler, lying on a wooden tabl

Final Thoughts

White instant water heater installed with circuit breaker on the wall of bathroom

Overall, the reason why you would turn off your water heater depends on the situation. If you're going on vacation or won't be using hot water for a while, then it's a good idea to turn it off.

On the other hand, if your water heater is leaking or having other problems, then you should call a professional right away.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

Water In Bottom Of Dishwasher When Not In Use – What To Do?

Dishwasher Not Spraying Water: What To Do?

Water Coming Up From Basement Floor—What To Do?


  1. once the water source to the hot water tank is turned off will there be pressure to the water intake pipe when the tank is removed ?

  2. Can I leave geyser off after element failure and still use cold taps for water. Can only replace element or thermostat in 3 weeks

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