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  • Turning off water

    Okay folks I need your opinions on this topic.

    Whenever we go away for awhile I have always turned the water off to the house and flipped the breaker to the water heater. Have never had any problems doing so.

    Now I've been told by some it is not wise to do this because you can get growth of bacteria in your tank and in the lines inside the house from the tank cooling off. I find it hard to believe but it has my wife freaked out.

    We are leaving for 10 days so thought I would post here to get some good advice.

    So what do you smart people think?

  • #2
    Re: Turning off water

    Shup, we used to do that every week. Mom and Dad had a weekend place, and we'd turn the water off on Sunday, and leave it off till we got back again. Some places I know had their water off most all winter, and never had a problem. This was back in the day before whole-house filters, so what was in the water was in the pipes! The difference is we would always drain as much of the water out as we could. The toilets got a dousing of anti-freeze. We were on a water system, but had (still have) our own septic tank so the anti-freeze would go there, not to a county/municipal system. I wouldn't use anti-freeze now.

    I don't think you have anything to worry about. City water is about as clean as one can get for the most part. There's nothing in the water to grow pesties that could bug you. If you feel weird, just drain it out.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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    • #3
      Re: Turning off water

      Originally posted by shup View Post
      Now I've been told by some it is not wise to do this because you can get growth of bacteria in your tank and in the lines inside the house from the tank cooling off. I find it hard to believe but it has my wife freaked out.
      Old wives' tales.

      A few thoughts and facts which may help you decide:

      1. bacteria are everywhere, whether you keep the water heater on or off.
      2. some bacteria is necessary for humans
      3. water system in the house is a closed one when no water is being used. no new bacteria gets in or out. Those inside may and will reproduce.
      4. in a closed system, and without access from the outside, no new organism will develop. If an organism came to being inside your water supply system and it did so during the 10 days of your absence, it would be called a miracle, or theory of evolution in action. It would be a huge win for you and your family. You could call Nova, National Geographic or Scientific American and sell then exclusive rights to media coverage and further research.
      5. When water is heated in the water heater to the temperature of 161F for 10-20seconds the effect is Pasteurisation 161. All harmful bacteria are killed. Again, only the ones that are already in the cold part of your water system survive (see #4)
      6. Extended contact of water with copper (Cu) causes increased levels of copper in water. Some symptoms may be vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea. This sort Cu content in water within 10 days is unlikely. Cu content always increases in stagnant water, whether it is heated or not. However, heated water only accelerates oxidation of copper in water. Leaving the tank cold is better in this respect.

      If that was my house, I'd turn the heater and the main off. Upon return, I would turn it all on, and run water from all taps for a few minutes to get rid of copper.
      In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

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      • #4
        Re: Turning off water

        NH is very passionate about this. Legionella. Do your own research. With all the proof and science behind it there are still thousands of W/H at the lower temps where it can grow. However, there isn't a massive outbreak. Go figure.

        J.C.

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        • #5
          Re: Turning off water

          Thanks for your answers.

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          • #6
            Re: Turning off water

            Here is a thread I started 2+ years ago, there is some good info and references in the thread. A search of the forum hits several topics with Legionella in them

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