Water heater breaker off - turn on?

Water heater breaker is off and no realtor/owner is present. Seller most likely has turned off water heater to save money. Do you flip breaker on to test water heater function?

No. If you do, then you run the risk that the breaker was off for a reason other than to save on energy.


Even if you where to flip the switch there will be a 2 to 4 hour recovery time to heat the water. If its turned off noted it and move on do not take on the liability.

I do unless the home is a Pos.

If the water heater is full, and in good condition, I turn the breaker on. If it’s empty, I turn the water on and fill it up.

If you turn the breaker on and its empty, you will burn out the elements. You would be responsible for the replacement of those elements.

You certainly are NOT required to and if you aren’t comfortable with something you shouldn’t do it. Make sure you document that it was off and that its possible that defects exist that could not be observed. It works immensely to my advantage that many are not comfortable with it.

Like Mr. Jimenez stated.
Very many of the homes I inspect have been vacant for a while.
Inasmuch, the water and power has been turned off.
And almost always the H2O heater breaker is in off.
As long as I know the heater is getting water and is full I have no problem with flipping the breaker.
That is just me . Do what you feel comfortable with.

PS: I take pics of the breakers before I flip anything.
You are going to have to remember to flip it back off before you leave.
I have a simple checklist to remind me cause I’m old.

Roy Lewis

Good point

You will do that until the day you hear the sound of an arc welder as you flip the breaker.
Then, like reading directions after all else fails, you will refer to the SOP.

David they don’t know this till it happens to them. Then the story changes. :smiley:

You are a screwball.
Moreover, I would not give a rat’s a s s if it did.
After 30 plus years inspecting I haven’t had to pay one single thing out of my businesses pocket.
In addition, My company is self insured.I do carry 5 mil liability as a back up. But have never had one single claim against it.
It appears you are scared!
We are talking’ waters heater here.The friggin breaker would trip.
I do commercial inspections as well has homes.
I just finished one this morning with 20,000 sf warehouse, 3000 office space with a 5000 sf canopy. And I flipped many breaker in my assessment of the system.
With inspections like that there is no room for error. Either you know what you are doing or you don’t …Plain and simple.
I for one will flip a water heater breaker at anytime.
It all depend on your knowledge.
Here lately it seems many are trying to figure out how to get out of testing the system as opposed to doing the best job they can for their client.
There are inspectors or there are boys. Who are you?

I can see it now. No sir I didn’t inspect your 40 gal electric water heater because the breaker was off.
Now you will buy a replacement.

You really are an a ss hole aren’t you.

Another slacker.

I have a PHD in asssholeogly !
What do you want a no risk job !
Take up office work then. Paper cuts will be your risk.

Frankly if you want to run you mouth, I think your full of crap about what you just inspected. You are out there slaying them aren’t you.
I also think your full of crap about the breaker deal. I do flip breakers, and I have had the damn things blow up in my face a couple of times. Most of the time its with crappy foreclosures.
At the end of the day its a gamble. You may flip 100 with success, but the next may cause you to start a fire. You should think about what you say. I personally know a guy who did start a fire by accident and then got sued. All from trying to be helpful.
If no one can answer me as to why its turned off, then it generally will stay turned off. I will call an agent to get an answer if need be.
People have big mouths until the one time they get their dick stepped on.

If I recall I think someone told me a story once about lighting a gas fireplace, then having it blow the flue pipe out the back side of the vinyl chimney a few minutes later from a gas leak.
Yeah! lets do some good out there.

You are as far as you will ever go as an inspector.
However, Big mouth I can prover everything I say.
Little minded people never get nothing more that little minded jobs.
I don’t have to prove nothing to you or anybody …Slacker But, I have my check in the bank…Grow up or shut up. It is your choice.

That online file doesnt tell me anything. Good for you Roy. Good for you. Glad you are busy. Sorry I reduced myself and highjacked the thread.

Depends. There is no clear Yes or No. I want to see the unit, see the panel, see the condition of the home. At that time I will make a determination whether to turn on or not.

What, you want specific information to make a decision? It seems like some may do it no matter what.
Was a madder you? :p:mrgreen::shock:

Same here common sense rules I can look at the situation, water and electrical and know if I need to turn it on or leave it off I have decided both ways numerous times