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Thread: shut off tank when on vacation

  1. #16
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    None of you really have any idea what you're talking about. Seriously. When somebody asks for advice about safety in a water heater, you reply with cute quips and sassy witticisms but actually contribute nothing to the OP. You are to afraid to accept an opinion other than your own, and you see your own opinion as a fact. The fear of being welcome or not doesn't change anything about what I said, and you can continue to chirp about things you really don't understand and get applause from your buddies, but you still failed the original posters test of answering the question with good sense and good information. You may have impressed yourself with your responses and attitudes, but to me and the other registered plumbers who actually feel responsible for protecting the public from the ignorance of people like you...you will always appear to be just stupid. Until next time...stay healthy!

  2. #17
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    So, you must keep heaters on the distribution plumbing to make sure the gallons of water in the hot water distribution never drops below 120F then?

    When turning off the hot water heater the time window of growth risk is pretty fleeting- once the temp of the tank drops to 85F the legionalla growth rates are about the same as at 120F. Water stored at room temp does not promote the growth of legionella. Do you purge the cold water distribution plumbing too? How about the 70F water coming in from the street all summer in warmer climates?

    Even at the prime growth temps it takes weeks or months, not hours or days for a colony to become established. Keeping long term storage temp at 110F-115F to save energy carries some risk. Letting the tank temp fall through those temps down to sub-85F over the course of a day or three does not. If you normally maintain the storage temp at 140F there are no live legionella bacteria in the tank to even START a legionella colony. There can be some live 'uns in the tank if you only keep it at 120F, but nothing is going to suddenly take off in the few dozen hours it takes to drop from 120F to under 85F. The highest growth rate zone is between 90F-105F- above 110F or below 85F it can grow, but it's pretty slow. At 75F or 120F it won't die, but it can't reproduce at more than self-replacement rates. And at 135F-140F colonies are guaranteed to die off-eventually. (It takes higher temps to kill it instantly.)

    The original post asked if there was any risks to just turning off a 140F tank whenever the place was going to be unoccupied for more than a couple of days, and the answer is there is none- it starts out sterile, and even if you drew in some live legionella just before turning it off, it doesn't stagnate in the high-growth temperature zone long enough to matter.

    You need to educate yourself a little more than what you get off of the internet. You are trying to reason with too little understanding of the whole subject matter. You come off as sounding kinda smart, I'll give you that, but that's just sounding smart...not actually BEING smart. Wikipedia isn't a substitute for years of education and experience. Keep up the show for the others that are entertained here, but your circle of failed logic looks like the juggling act of a circus clown.

  3. #18
    DIY Member ImOld's Avatar
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    Must be something in the water in Pittsburgh.

  4. #19
    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    Caduceus-
    So far everyone else here is stupid, a dummy, or a clown but if you can't back up your opinions--no matter how heartfelt or evangelically expressed--they'll never become facts.

    Your fervor + your location & icon might lead one to assume you're personally involved in the Pittsburgh VA hospital legionnaire outbreaks. What's the problem with THEIR system that isn't affecting the rest of the city? Or is it just another case of people going to the hospital and coming out sicker than when they arrived?
    Last edited by guy48065; 10-17-2013 at 01:31 PM.
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

  5. #20
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Thanks OK Don- I try not to let mere opinion trump established science too often, even when the opinion is mine.

    It doesn't take a google-scientist to find the relevant facts on this.

  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member JerryR's Avatar
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    I'm with Dana on this.

    My water heaters are kept at 140dF with tempering valve supplying the house with 110dF hot water.

    I currently have 3 houses that we travel between. When we leave any house for anything more than overnight we go through our 5 item shutdown checklist.

    Turn the ice maker off in the refrigerator
    Turn off the house main water ball valve
    Turn off the water heater breaker
    Set the air conditioning to."away" mode
    Set the Burglar Alarm.

    I can monitor and adjust air conditioning remotely via Filtrete Radio Thremostat
    I can remotely control Alarm via Invisalink
    I can remotely monitor all entrances and interior via ip cameras

    Before arriving after being gone for period of time I remotely adjust A/C a few hours before arrival

    After arriving
    1- turn on house main ball valve
    2- enter house and run Hot water for a minute to expel air if any
    3- turn on hot water heater breaker
    4- turn Ice Maker on

    This has been working fine for years.
    JR

  7. #22
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guy48065 View Post
    Caduceus-
    So far everyone else here is stupid, a dummy, or a clown but if you can't back up your opinions--no matter how heartfelt or evangelically expressed--they'll never become facts.

    Your fervor + your location & icon might lead one to assume you're personally involved in the Pittsburgh VA hospital legionnaire outbreaks. What's the problem with THEIR system that isn't affecting the rest of the city? Or is it just another case of people going to the hospital and coming out sicker than when they arrived?
    You couldn't be more wrong. I was a Navy Hospitalcorpsman during Desert Shield/Storm. My local interest in the VA just reinforced what can happen and how easily lives can be changed and ended by what others consider an "extremist" view. It's a shame that my fellow veterans who served during war and peace died and were sickened when it could have been prevented. I just like to give the public the best care that I can as a plumber as I did to Marines and sailors during my service.
    Additionally, if somebody acts like a stupid-dummy-clown by contradicting advice that is sound and sensible from a seasoned professional, just so they can feel smarter than the guy giving the advice...then sure, stupid is as stupid does. What, can't anybody agree that my advice was sound? Does it have to be contradicted and give the OP a sense of safety because the stupid plumber is being EXTREME? C'mon. Just because I didn't lay down like a chump when the gang got all mobbish doesn't mean I was any more wrong, but the group would like to may it seem so.
    10 years ago when the type A influenza epidemic swept the country my 2 year old daughter and my wife, 7 months pregnant, spent 2 weeks in the hospital and almost died as a result of the virus. Am I afraid of the world now? No. I simply have my kids wash their hands after school, before meals, etc. It is a FACT that risks are reduced by hand washing. It is also a FACT that by maintaining proper temperature in a hot water tank is the best way to reduce the risk of legionnaires disease. That was all I was explaining before the smart-ass comments started. I have given thousands of DIYers and trade pros advice on forums over the years and have never found such resistance towards good advice before coming here.
    Last edited by Caduceus; 10-17-2013 at 03:32 PM.

  8. #23
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    I'm glad that it works for you, JR, but if somebody asks for advice on a forum I will always give the safest advice. There is no reason for anybody to undermine the smart action to a problem just because it is different than their own as seen above. How many people in this thread have had to go into a persons house and actually be responsible for the safety of the water system and be held accountable for the outcome if something goes wrong? It's easy to give a careless answer when somebody else has to suffer the consequences.

  9. #24
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caduceus View Post
    You need to educate yourself a little more than what you get off of the internet. You are trying to reason with too little understanding of the whole subject matter. You come off as sounding kinda smart, I'll give you that, but that's just sounding smart...not actually BEING smart. Wikipedia isn't a substitute for years of education and experience. Keep up the show for the others that are entertained here, but your circle of failed logic looks like the juggling act of a circus clown.
    I don't know much about "smart", but I s'pose us ignorami should just take the word of some un-credentialed anonymous web-poster (on the internet no less) who seems to prefer silly insults to citing reference when others disagree. Thanks for setting us straight on that.

    If you need the raw data of actual biologists and the investigative findings of public health researcher chasing actual cases, there are troves of real science available on the web. I've reviewed this topic multiple times in multiple contexts, reviewed quite a few published scientific documents available on the NIH website and other credible over the past couple of decades. If you can point me to a credible source that can correct or update my recollections on the where the growth risk temperature zones are, or new information on how new colonies can get established and grow in tanks that are allowed to stagnate at room temp, I'm interested.

    The very reason 140F has been established as a mandated storage temp under plumbing codes (and tempering of hot water coming out of those tanks to protect against scalds) comes from decades of evidence that 140F storage temps does indeed kill legionella and that 120F water does not. Storing water at 120F won't kill legionella, or reduce the size of already established colonies, but that legionella colonies won't increase at that storage temp. (Need sources for that?)

    I recall reading about a case at a medical facility in the Netherlands in the late 1900s, or maybe shortly after Y2K where the legionella outbreak was traced to COLD water distribution plumbing, where a section of the cold water distribution plumbing ran along side the heating system plumbing between floors in a plumbing chase, and that section of pipe regularly stagnated to about 100F every weekend when no cold water was being drawn. The investigators determined that the repeatd stagnation in the high-growth temperature zone allowed legionella biofilms to get established in that section of plumbing. (The article is probably still available on line, but it's in Dutch- jammer he'?) That's a typical scenario of real world cases- chronic stagnation at an optimally bad temperature.

    I've looked for (but have yet to find) any cases in the literature where hot water storage tanks normally kept at 120F+ temps allowed to stagnate at room temp developed legionella colonies. Once these colonies get established it takes 140F or hotter temps to kill them, but generally speaking, the places they get going easily are where they stagnate in the 85-110F zone. Simply passing through that temperature for a few hours several times per year, with storage temps at 140F before & after the periods where the temperature slewed through the danger zone doesn't have much risk- you're killing off any legionella introduced to the tank during active heating periods, and letting it stagnate in the off periods to well below where the colonies can grow. Call that logic a juggling circus clown act if you like, but when you do, show me a documented case (even one) where that has actually happened. Of the dozens of actual documented cases I've looked at previously, none fit the profile.

    I'm neither a medical nor pubic health professional, but I probably dig up and read more medical, scientific, & technical source literature on topics I'm interested in than the average hack. (I'm not a fan of Wikipedia- often the referenced sources in the footnotes on Wikipedia are from credible sources, but often not.) I'm all for educating myself- rather than making bald assertions & inane insults, cite sources. Your word alone really isn't worth much, given that your level of discussion rarely strays from the "cute quips and sassy witticisms but actually contribute nothing" you accuse others of.

  10. #25
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Dana, I've met you before. You're the hypocrite who doesn't even read your own text and are too arrogant to entertain the idea that what you say about others also applies to you.
    "I don't know much about "smart", but I s'pose us ignorami should just take the word of some un-credentialed anonymous web-poster (on the internet no less) who seems to prefer silly insults to citing reference when others disagree. Thanks for setting us straight on that."
    You appear the same way to me and any others who visit this site. I have yet to see any specific sources listed from you or any indication that you aren't just copying snip-its of text from a website.
    Drop the mightier-than-thou act and reread my response to the OP and your follow up responses and see how YOU have taken this to an extremist's level and went on your own little tirade of trying to make sense of a problem that doesn't exist.
    Silly, silly Dana. You suckered yourself into becoming me by not paying attention and trying to play calm when your emotions were actually getting the better of you.
    This is getting boring...really, I gotta go to work now and find praise and validation from somebody who knows my job better than me...oops, that's not me, that's somebody else...my mistake. Hee, hee. ta-ta-for-now. See ya on the forums!

  11. #26

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    Thank you! Very helpful.

  12. #27
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    So if I understand Caduceus correct, You need to drain your tank and all of your water pipes, Or you could wake up dead.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  13. #28
    DIY Senior Member guy48065's Avatar
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    If legionella is so well understood and controllable how come this Pittsburgh VA hospital has been killing patients since 2007?
    Romeo and Atlanta, MI

  14. #29
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    So if I understand Caduceus correct, You need to drain your tank and all of your water pipes, Or you could wake up dead.
    See what I mean...just more smart-ass comments. A simple safety measure that even a child could understand and Mr. MENSA just doesn't get it so he replies with babble. Nice. Real class act, Don.

  15. #30
    Master Plumber Caduceus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guy48065 View Post
    If legionella is so well understood and controllable how come this Pittsburgh VA hospital has been killing patients since 2007?
    Hospitals, Institutions and homes have had legionella issues with water and air conditioning for years world wide and will continue because some people cut corners, give and get bad information, aren't trained and educated or don't care. On another forum a legionella hazard was discovered by an HVAC tech in a where a new furnace and AC unit was installed by an unregistered contractor. This was just a few weeks ago. Like I was trying to do on this thread, initially. Give good advice, not carefree advice.

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