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I believe I have what is called a gas-boosted, solar HWS (although there is only one solar panel on the roof). On the outside of my system, apart for the valves/pipes/wires leading into and out of it, there is no obvious control panel for me to light/re-light the pilot light. Is this called an electronic ignition without a pilot?

Before going away for a few days, I would like to switch off my water, gas, and electricity. Will my HWS automatically switch off, and automatically switch back on by itself when I turn all these services back on after coming back?

My house is about ten years old, and in a part of the world where the temperature rarely falls below 0 degrees C, so I don't think we have to worry about freeze.

Regards,

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  • Model #? Picture of controls? – manassehkatz Jan 9 at 14:27
  • I think the brand is Chromagen. The model is Eternity26. The tank is on the ground, with the gas booster sitting on top of it. – Platypus Jan 11 at 9:33
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The Chromagen Eternity 26 is an on-demand hot water heater. Since it does not store water, it does not normally run except when you use water. If everything is connected properly, it also won't run in normal use in your case as long as the storage tank below it has sufficient solar-heated water to meet your needs. If the storage tank water is too cold (either because the solar is just not heating the water enough, or if you have used up the hot water and now the tank has cold water), then the Chromagen will provide additional heat as needed.

The Chromagen has electronic ignition. There is no pilot light wasting gas when you aren't using it. The control board uses a little bit of electricity to monitor the temperature & water flow, even if the system is not currently being asked to heat water. The manual specifically advises against disconnecting electricity & gas because if you do so and there is a freeze then the unit may be damaged, and that damage would not be covered by the warranty. Even if the warranty has expired, I think this is very good advice. If the temperature stays above freezing then you do not save any gas and only save a little bit of electricity by leaving the unit running normally. On the other hand, if there is a freeze then the little bit of gas needed to run the system periodically will far outweigh the cost of fixing the unit after pipes crack.

Leave it connected normally. You can turn any relevant thermostats down to the minimum, but otherwise leave it alone.

If you turn off electricity & gas for the entire house, the unit will be OK, as long as you don't have a freeze. In my area (Maryland, USA) it is normal practice to leave the furnace & water heater on at their lowest settings when going away in the winter, just in case.

  • Thanks alot for taking the time to answer my question, manassehkatz. I was reading through the manual online and it seems to concur with what you are saying, but I still have some unanswered questions. There are two situations why I may switch off my gas/water/electricity: [1) When going away for a few days, just in case a water/gas pipe bursts inside the house. 2) When needing to do some plumbing work inside the house.] I know that after a black out the HWS comes back on by itself. But I was wondering if it will come back on after the water has been drained from the pipes, as in situation 2). – Platypus Jan 18 at 22:23
  • I can't imagine that situation 2 would be much different from situation 1, since that is necessary on any system for routine maintenance. At most there would be some sort of "restart procedure" to follow, though I don't know with that particular unit. – manassehkatz Jan 19 at 23:59
  • The builder of our house neglected to fix isolation-valves/mini-stops below any of our sinks. This makes it a real hassle to change the fixtures. So I would like to have the isolation valves installed. However, this would mean first shutting off the water supply, and opening up and draining the water pipes. If the water supply is off to the HWS, I gathered from other posted threads that it would be safer to switch off the gas and electricity as well. The manual talked mostly about the initial installation, but not much was said about restart procedures or the like. – Platypus Jan 21 at 9:51
  • Hi manassehkatz, thanks for your answer. I was wondering if you know, or anyone else knows, whether this hot water system (HWS) will be fine if I switch off the water supply for a few days (whilst leaving the gas and electricity still on)? ...In the house, below the sinks we have these flexible hoses. There have been many stories of these bursting and flooding the house. I want to be on the safe side while I am away for a few days. However, could having the gas and electricity on, whilst having the water supply off, cause complications to the HWS or anything else in the house? – Platypus Jun 27 at 0:37
  • There shouldn't be any problems. But if you want to play it super-safe, turn off the electricity to the system when you turn off the water, as that would prevent it from ever trying to turn on the heat. No reason to turn off the gas since the gas won't ignite without the electric. However, as previously noted, if there is a chance of a freeze then I think it would be better to leave water, electricity & gas all on so the system can heat the water as needed which could help prevent the pipes from freezing. If it is a time when freeze is unlikely, then water/electricity off would be OK. – manassehkatz Jun 27 at 1:48

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