I think this is a stupid question. It makes sense to me, that you could run cold water from the main line into the tank, without actually having the water heater on (gas) - or actively heating water. So basically just cold water throughout the house.

But am I out to lunch here? Is there something I am missing? Can this be destructive in the short term? I'm planning to replace the system, so I'm bracing myself for cold water for a week.

Thanks for any help!

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    Sorry - I don't understand why you would worry about this question. You already have a cold water line. – The Evil Greebo Jun 30 '17 at 1:08
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    Fat Radish; just to illuminate the issue for us- when you say "planning to replace the system", do you mean you are getting a new water heater? What issue makes you want to turn off the burner? – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 30 '17 at 1:16
  • Sorry! Thanks for replying. Planning to replace the system - it's 14 years old. The pilot actually went out in the middle of the night - I believe dripping water caused it to go out. When I looked inside - the water is dripping from the edge of the chimney down onto the pilot assembly – Fat Radish Jun 30 '17 at 6:22
  • Greebo: I know - that's why I felt like I'm missing something - the cold water line runs into the water heater, so if I "turn off" the gas to the water heater, it obviously stop heating - but can cold water continuously feed in with zero problems? – Fat Radish Jun 30 '17 at 6:25

No problem, the water will just pass through if you turn off the gas supply.

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    BTW, there is no "heating element" on gas water heaters; just water in a glass-lined steel tank heated by a gas burner. – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 30 '17 at 1:10
  • All this is true - I just wish I understood why the question is being asked. – The Evil Greebo Jun 30 '17 at 1:12
  • Turning off a water heater is a perfectly reasonable thing to do to save money. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 30 '17 at 1:19
  • @Harper, the OP tied the idea of turning it off with an intent to "... replace the system", leading one to believe that some sort of problem prompted the action, rather than an attempt to conserve or save $$. The Greeb and I are curious – Jimmy Fix-it Jun 30 '17 at 1:25
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    And just to finish the thought off, I went ahead with the rest of my day assuming such (logic of original question). However, leaving the cold water flowing, and the gas off - I am observing leaks. So - replace replace replace. – Fat Radish Jun 30 '17 at 6:34

Should be alright, I cant think of anything that it would hurt especially since you're going to replace it in the near future. I had the controller on my new water heater go out last year. I called the warranty company and they came put and changed it 4 days later.... just pissed of the wife.

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