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Will Bacteria Grow in a Dormant Water Heater?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bill in Pittsburgh on the line who’s got a question about opening a home that hasn’t been used in years. Tell us about it.

    BILL: Well, I have a vacation home and I haven’t gone on vacation for three years.

    TOM: That’s terrible.

    LESLIE: I think it’s time.

    BILL: And I hope to go on vacation this summer.

    TOM: Alright.

    BILL: So my question is – although the water lines have been turned off all that time, the hot-water tank was filled with water.

    TOM: Right.

    BILL: And is that something that I can just drain or should I be afraid of bacteria, algae, Legionnaire’s disease? What should I do with the tank?

    TOM: No, I don’t think so. Remember that the water heater is always being refilled with the fresh water that comes up from the city water supply or from a well. And so, certainly, I would drain the water heater that’s there so that you get rid of the water that’s been sitting in there all those – all that time. But then, I think you’ll be good to go. You’re just going to want to flush that system out and run a bunch of water. But 10, 15 minutes of running water through the system should be all you need.

    BILL: OK. Well, good. Then I’ll have a safe vacation.

    TOM: Well, that’s good. I would hope so.

    LESLIE: And take more of them.

    TOM: That’s right, so you can get right back out there and don’t wait three years next time.

    BILL: OK. Well, great. Well, thank you. That solves that problem.

    TOM: Alright, Bill. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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