Electric water heater

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I will be away from home for about 6 months. Can I turn off the electric water heater during this period? I seem to remember reading that this may cause alga/bacteria problems. Thanks.
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If your going to be away that long, you mihht as well drain it.
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...and turn it off!
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wrote:

...and turn it off!
And remember to fill it again before turning it on.
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LSMFT wrote:

Heh!
What stunning advice and an absurd example.
The water in the water bottles has had all its bacteria killed before the bottles were filled. This is not the case with water distribution systems.
The bacteria will NOT die (usually) when you merely turn on the water heater. Legionnaire's disease, for example, can exist at most water heater settings (150F or below).
As for air, look up the difference between aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bateria are those that do not grow in the presence of Oxygen or can grow in the absence of Oxygen. Almost all infections are anerobic (E.coli, staph, streptococcus, etc.).
As an aside, it is prudent to NOT consume water from the water heater - use only for washing. You CAN safely consume water heater water if you boil it first - as in making coffee.
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HeyBub wrote:

off the

remember reading

on. Where it

grow. Do water

killed before the

distribution systems.

the water

most water heater

anaerobic bacteria.

presence of Oxygen or

are anerobic

water heater -

water if you

Who drinks hot water?
--
LSMFT

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LSMFT wrote:

I do. I flavor it with coffee, tea, tomato soup, instant potatoes, Jello, and other sundries,
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LSMFT wrote:

In general, no. Bacteria can be found at the tap in chlorinated water. When chlorinated water sits (in the pipe, in the water heater, anywhere), the chlorine dissipates. That's why the fish people let the aquarium replacement water sit exposed to air for a day or so.

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Turn it off why pay to heat it the tank is sealed so nothing should grow, my city water is chlorinated so I dought anything would grow anyway, you could heat the water to a higher temp when you turn it back on to kill anything, turning off the water at the street main woud be a good idea and save in the utility bill and you dont risk a break, at least shut off the main supply and leave the sump pump ready. I would plug all drains so when the traps dry out you dont come back to a house smelling of sewer gas, if a big freeze is expeected winterize pipes by draining.
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I'd keep it simple. Turn off the breaker to the water heater, attach a hose to the drain and run it outside or to a floor drain. Then, open the valve, open the PT valve to let air in and drain the heater. PUT A NOTE ON THE BREAKER BOX TO FILL THE HEATER BEFORE TURNING THE POWER BACK ON.
When you return, make sure the drain valve is closed. Open the water valve to the heater and also open the PT valve to let air escape. This step is important. When water starts to sputter out of the PT valve, let it flip closed and turn the breaker back on.
--
Nonny
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I prefer not to touch PT valves. Just open a hot faucet in the house some where, does the same thing. With less risk of an old, rusty PT valve dripping.
THE NOTE ON THE BREAKER BOX IS A GOOD IDEA.
--
Christopher A. Young
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ransley wrote:

Things WILL grow, even if the water heater is on. Ask any of the American Legion convention goers who went to the 1976 convention in Philadelphia. A few years ago, about 70 people got sick in the Houston Internal Revenue Service office because the "hot" water wasn't hot enough. But nobody gave a shit.
Both episodes involved chlorinated municipal water.
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I don't know about a few years ago, but the origional Legion goes in 1976 got sick from the aircondition system not a water heater.
Partial quote from below :
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/health/01docs.html
It took six months to determine that the illness had been caused by a bacterium, Legionella pneumophilia, which we now know usually succumbs to the timely prescription of proper antibiotics. The bacterium, which in this case was apparently spread from the hotel's air-conditioning system, is a cause of pneumonia and other illnesses worldwide
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

You're correct, and I misremembered. Sorry.
But, still, the air conditioning system in which the nasties lived WAS fed with chlorinated tap water, just not heated.
Thinking on it, though, I don't see how the municipal water could GET into the air conditioning system - the hotel certainly wasn't chilled by a huge swamp cooler.
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wrote:

There is also the issue of pressure. That tends to hold down the nasties too. I am not really sure draining the water heater will accomplish much since there will still be some water left in it, exposed to air and that will be a lot more like the water in those cooling towers that caused the legionnaires disease. It will also promote rust and kill your elements a lot faster. Take a water heater element out and let it sit in the air for a few months and it will be covered in rust.
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I have not looked at it in a long time, but the way I remember it was up on the roof there was some water in something (either rain water or the condensed water from an aircondition unit) that the nasties were living in and the hotel's aircondition air intake just sucked them in. There was no municipal water involved.
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wrote:

The thing you saw on the roof was a heat rejection device. Warm water from the aircon condenser was cascaded down a series of slats to cool it. Air was blown by a fan upwards. Ideal to distribute legionnaires disease if present. You never see them now for that reason. Except in 3rd world countries where they serve to keep the population down.
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:

Sounds like the cooling towers for the aircondioner system where I work. It is a very large plant. There are several cooling towers that must be over 50 feet tall. I know is a long way to walk up there. I am an electrician and have to wire the motors and other things for them, but it has been about a year from my last trip to the top. Surprises me that everyone at the plant is not sick all the time from those things. I hope they have enough chemicals in then to kill the bugs.
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Years ago, I took some HVAC courses. I was told that they are supposed to have chemical injectors, to pump in chemicals that hold down the bacteria. They are also supposed to drain the system and replace the water on some schedule. I was also told that if you aren't sure if the injectors are working, you need a good respirator and face mask so you don't get sick.
I wasn't told what to do, then. My off the cuff guess is to pour in a galon of Clorox bleach, let it run a while. And then drain the system and put in new city water. But, that's a guess.
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Exactly, most are built by Delta or Marley. The operators are supposed to monitor the water and add chemicals as needed. Biocides are used and test done on a regular basis.
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