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When I turn off the water to the house (for vacation) and open a faucet to relieve the pressure, I notice that the hot water recirculating pump makes a lot of noise that it doesn't when the water is on. Do I need to unplug the recirculating pump to prevent damage while the house water is off?

If I do unplug the pump, can it be damaged if not woking for too long?

Thanks for any input.

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Running the pump dry for an extended period can damage it. You should unplug it rather than let it run dry.

If it sits idle for longer than a couple weeks for vacation, minerals in the water could cause it to stick when put back in service. It usually just means you have to disassemble the pump and free the impeller before it will work again.

Good luck!

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Do I need to unplug the recirculating pump to prevent damage while the house water is off?

Yes.

If I do unplug the pump, can it be damaged if not working for too long?

No.

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Yes & maybe. Yes, unplug it or unless you actually need power for something (minimal heating, alarm system, phantom lighting, etc), turn off the whole place with the Main Circuit Breaker.

And maybe, there's a literally miniscule chance of some sitting minerals in the water to ever so slightly surface corrode something. But, with closest &/or a 2nd tap open so the pump can dry out as quickly as possible it shouldn't be anything noticeable when the water goes back on. Any evidence would likely show up in your faucet aerator(s).

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