Odor from hot water

We have a rental house that sat empty for several months. During that time, I left the gas water heater on the "Vacation" setting, to keep the pilot lit, and keep some warmth in the pipes during what passes for "cold" weather in the NW. Now there is a strong sulphur odor from the hot water. A renter has only just moved in, so I'm not sure yet if the odor will go away with regular use. If not, should I drain the tank, or are there other things I should try?
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wrote:

If the source is your water heater:
* Remove or replace the magnesium anode. * Disinfect and flush the water heater with a bleach solution. * Increase the water temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours to kill the bacteria, then flush the heater. If you are not very familiar with water heater operation and maintenance, contact a plumber or water heater dealer to perform the service.
Bubba
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I'm new to gas (propane) water heaters. Do they have magnesium anodes? If so, are they wired to anything, or passive?
Bubba wrote:

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wrote:

Dont know. Most likely just an inexpensive anode. They are not wired to anything. Just screwed into the top of the unit. Bubba

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try flushing, or cleansing with bleach.
the nice lukewarm temperature likely grew some goo.
may also be a failing anode rod
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wrote:

Replace it with aluminum.
--Andy Asberry-- ------Texas-----
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If something started growing in the tank from a cool, warm temp, getting the tank hot for a few days should kill anything, maybe 130f -140f, turn it on high.
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Greater than 140F is required to kill everything. Remember to set it back below 140F after a few hours or a day or two. Then it's best to get the killed goo out - there could be quite a bit. Flushing a largish HWT will take quite a long time, so if it's possible, drain and refill it once or twice before letting it run for a while to flush. Draining it will also get sediment out.
Bleach also works if you have a way to inject it. A cup is more than enough for a HWT, let it soak for 24 hours before flushing thoroughly.
--
Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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