Turn On Your Water Heater: A Comprehensive Guide


Imagine waking up to a chilly morning and rushing to take a shower only to find that there’s no warm water. Sounds frustrating, right? Owning a water heater is a luxury, but it can take a toll on your gas and electricity bills. It’s essential to know how to turn on and off your water heater to save energy and ensure your unit works efficiently. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about turning on your water heater, including the advantages and disadvantages.

Who Is This Article For?

This article is for homeowners or tenants who want to learn how to turn on a water heater or those who need a refresher on how to operate their unit. If you’re moving into a new apartment or home, you’ll likely encounter a water heater that has been turned off. This guide will help you get started and ensure you’re using your water heater safely and effectively.

How to Turn on a Water Heater

Gather the Necessary Tools

Before you start, make sure to have a few tools handy:

Tools Usage
Gas or electric supply Power source for water heater
Pilot light igniter If using a gas water heater
Temperature gauge For adjusting the temperature

Locate Your Water Heater

The location of your water heater may vary depending on your home’s layout. Check your basement, utility closet, or garage to find your unit.

Check the Status of Your Water Heater

Before you attempt to turn on your water heater, make sure it’s safe to do so. Check for any leaks, water damage, or gas smells. If you notice any of these issues, contact a professional plumber.

Turn on Your Water Heater

If you’re using an electric water heater, locate the circuit breaker and turn it on. Wait for the unit to heat the water. For gas water heaters, locate the pilot light and follow these steps:

  1. Locate the gas valve and turn it to the off position.
  2. Turn the gas control dial to the pilot position.
  3. Press the pilot button and hold it down for a few seconds while using a lighter or igniter to light the pilot light.
  4. Release the pilot button and wait for a few seconds before turning the gas control dial to the on position.

Adjust the Temperature

Once your water heater is on, you can adjust the temperature to suit your needs. Use a temperature gauge to set the temperature to your desired level. It’s best to set it between 120°F and 140°F to save energy and prevent scalding.

Enjoy Your Warm Water

Your water heater is now turned on, and you can enjoy warm water whenever you need it. Remember to turn off your unit when not in use to conserve energy, and schedule regular maintenance to ensure your water heater is functioning correctly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Water Heater


Water heaters can provide numerous benefits, including:

  1. Convenience: A water heater provides hot water on demand, making it easier to do laundry, wash dishes, and take a shower.
  2. Energy Efficiency: With proper maintenance and temperature settings, a water heater can save energy compared to traditional heating methods.
  3. Longevity: A well-maintained water heater can last up to 20 years, providing long-term cost savings for homeowners.
  4. Versatility: There are various types of water heaters to suit different needs and preferences, including tankless, solar, and hybrid models.


While water heaters can offer numerous benefits, they also have their disadvantages, including:

  1. Upfront costs: Purchasing and installing a water heater can be expensive, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  2. Energy consumption: A water heater can account for up to 25% of a household’s energy consumption, leading to higher gas and electricity bills.
  3. Environmental impact: Traditional water heaters can use excessive amounts of energy and contribute to carbon emissions.
  4. Maintenance: Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure your water heater functions correctly and lasts for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does it take for a water heater to heat up?

It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for a water heater to heat up depending on its size and condition.

2. How often should I schedule maintenance for my water heater?

You should schedule professional maintenance for your water heater at least once a year to ensure it’s functioning correctly and to prevent any issues from arising.

3. What temperature should I set my water heater?

It’s best to set your water heater to between 120°F and 140°F to save energy and prevent scalding.

4. Can I turn off my water heater when I’m away from home?

Yes, you can turn off your water heater when you’re away from home to conserve energy. However, keep in mind that it can take some time for the unit to heat up when you return.

5. Can I install a water heater myself?

No, it’s not recommended to install a water heater yourself. It’s best to hire a professional plumber to ensure it’s installed correctly and safely.

6. Can I install a tankless water heater in my home?

Yes, you can install a tankless water heater in your home. However, it’s best to consult with a professional plumber to determine if it’s the best option for your household.

7. Can I use my water heater during a power outage?

If you have a gas water heater, you can still use it during a power outage. However, electric water heaters require electricity to function, so they won’t work during a power outage.

8. What’s the difference between a tank and tankless water heater?

A tank water heater stores hot water in a tank and uses energy to keep the water heated, while a tankless water heater heats the water on demand without storing any hot water.

9. What’s an ideal location for my water heater?

It’s best to install your water heater in a dry, well-ventilated area with easy access in case of emergencies.

10. How long does a water heater typically last?

A well-maintained water heater can last up to 20 years. However, its lifespan may vary depending on various factors such as usage, maintenance, and quality.

11. What’s the average cost of a water heater?

The cost of a water heater varies depending on the type, size, and brand. On average, they can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

12. Can I adjust the temperature of my water heater?

Yes, you can adjust the temperature of your water heater using a temperature gauge.

13. How do I know when it’s time to replace my water heater?

You can tell it’s time to replace your water heater if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Rust or corrosion on the tank
  • Water leaks
  • Strange noises
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Inconsistent water temperature


In conclusion, turning on your water heater can seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and knowledge, it’s easy to do. We hope this guide has provided you with useful information and helped you understand the advantages and disadvantages of owning a water heater. Remember to schedule regular maintenance to ensure your unit works efficiently and save energy by turning it off when not in use.

Take Action Today

Take the first step towards enjoying warm water in your home by turning on your water heater. You’ll save money on energy bills and have the convenience of hot water whenever you need it.

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this guide is for educational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified plumber or professional. Always exercise caution and follow safety guidelines when turning on or off your water heater.

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