How to get the funky smell out of my hot water
August 30, 2005 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Moving into an apartment that was built a year ago and never lived in. How do I get stale water out of the tank and pipes?

This is a townhouse unit; water is heated by gas in a boiler that sits in the garage. Cold water is piped in from the city; hot water comes in through the tank. The latter smells metallic and has likely been sitting in the tank for months; I want to get rid of it all and start over with fresh water running through the heater.

What's the best way to flush out the system? I ran hot water through the kitchen sink for a while and ran a dishwasher cycle, but the smell is still there. Should I keep running hot water until the smell goes away? Are there any safety concerns that remain after it does?

For what it's worth, the manual attached to the hot water heater contains a diagram that looks nothing like the actual boiler; the landlords are not very handy or knowledgeable. I don't want to tinker with the thing too much lest my house asplode.
posted by Saucy Intruder to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
Hot water heaters usually have a valve on them that you can open to flush all of the water out.

Otherwise, you could just let the hot water run for a long time (hours) and it will eventually get flushed out.
posted by gus at 7:28 AM on August 30, 2005

Best answer: gus is right; there should be a faucet at the bottom of the water heater. attach a garden hose, run the hose out of the garage, and open the faucet. Let the water run until it's cold, then close the faucet. When the water heats up again, run it through a sink faucet. If the smell persists, it may be endemic to the water supply, rather than a stale-water problem. If it's in the water, you may need a filter system.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:02 AM on August 30, 2005

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