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Superstor Ultra 45 gallon indirect fired going on vacation

I'm sure this is an easy one for you all. We're going on vacation for Feb 20-April 30, 2016. We've decided to leave the forced hot water heat on 52 degrees and have it checked weekly by neighbors and an online cellular freeze alarm. Question is what to do with the superstor. Don't know if there is any way to turn it off, lower the temperature, etc. Any and all advice is appreciated.

Comments

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,698
    You can turn down the temperature on the SS by using the grey box on the side. There is a dial on the inside.
    That being said the Superstor will only fire a couple times a week if you are away.
    The other thing you should be aware of is that when you return you will have 40 gallons of "stagnant" water in the tank that has been there for over 2 months. It could have a high dose of legionella bacteria in it.
    I would be very careful about using this water especially to take a shower. Breathing that aerosol could lead to health issues.
    A couple options would be....
    - drain the tank.
    - chlorinate it
    - run the tank up to +140F for several hours when you return.

    There is a poster here (Mark E) that had this situation at a cabin and he was very sick for a few weeks.
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    Thanks so much! I'm not water heater savvy. I get the part about turning the dial to it's lowest setting. The easiest thing for me when I return would definitely be to run the tank at it's hottest for several hours. Would this temp of 140 be enough to eliminate any health issues in your opinion? Thanks in advance.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,698
    That would certainly help. Its the breathing of the steam that harms you. So doing a hot load of wash would help use up the old hot water.
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    That sounds like a great idea. Thanks so much for all the help.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,261
    But wait! There is more, paranoia strikes deep..into your life it can creep!
    I used to house sit for the neighbor lady when she was gone for 3 weeks or so. I had changed out her electric water heater and she had read the entire owner's manual. She quoted the part where if a water heater is not used for 2 weeks or more that hydrogen gas could stack up on the top of the water. The warning was to be sure to run the hot water out and not smoke or have any ignition sources close by until the water was full flowing. You could get air bubbles which could be hydrogen. There must have some history/lawsuit involving this or else State water heaters would not have worded this into the manual.

    So before she returned I assured her that I had cleared all hydrogen gas from the water heater lines. She was expecting another Hindenburg event when she got home if I didn't take care of this.

    Seriously, I have read that Hydrogen gas can factionalize out of heated water. Has to be a rarity or minimal amount that only a lawyer could find. Has anyone heard of this being a real issue?

    So you have a choice.....explosive hydrogen gas spewing from your faucets or being poisoned by Legionella disease! You should probably not go on vacation :)

    Yes, are both threats, Legionella is the more real issue and to be taken most seriously. Did you read your owner's manual for the superstor? Probably shouldn't. ;)
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    Wow. Unfortunately, it's too late to cancel but what if I just had my son run the hot water faucet until the tank kicked in every week? He's going to crank up the heat for a bit every week anyway. Would that help the situation?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,729
    Your problem is bacteria, not hydrogen! The amounts of the latter are small enough to be a non-problem -- except to the lawyers. You might get a pop...

    But the bacteria... indeed. But, if you run it up to 140 when you get back and leave it there for two or three hours, you will most likely kill any of the nasties. What you may have left, though, might be a taste or odour problem. That will should go away after you've run through what was in there.

    Doing a couple of laundries is an excellent idea.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    Thanks so much for the info. We'll have plenty of laundry to do when we get back. I'll run the washer empty at first and cycle it so we keep using up the hot water.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,261
    Yes, I agree with Jamie. I thought I would throw out the hydrogen point to see if anyone has ever heard of a real problem with it. The fear of scalding has got many water heaters cranked down to borderline temps of producing the bacteria.
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    Can someone summarize this for me? I plan on leaving the heat on 50 degrees. My son will turn on each faucet, flush the toilets each week. Am I missing anything? When I return, I will run the washer empty very hot several times to use up the hot water until clean. Thanks in advance
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,729
    Sounds like a plan...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    make sure the batteries in the low temp alarm are fresh..;)
    kmdsid
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    Comes with Li ion battery in the unit. Very long life if power goes out. They say 36-48 hours. My kid will be in the house by then. Thanks. It's really a great cellular unit for the $$. Monitoring for the time away with text, emails and phone call is $15/mo for a couple of months.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,261
    Just another point. Some T-stats rely on battery power only. Dead batteries has caused some heating systems to not respond. FWIW
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,665
    Assuming the gas and electricity are on, my mod-con has a freeze protect detector and if the water in the boiler gets down to something like 40F, it fires and runs selected (by me) circulators until it gets up to 45F. So it should not freeze up even if the batteries in my thermostats went dead. This is unlikely since I change them every September 1 at the same time I change the smoke detector and the dumb CO detectors. My smart CO detector comes with a lithium battery and its battery cannot be changed: when the battery goes dead, the unit must be replaced (sensor is no longer to be trusted).

    I have my indirect set to maintain at least 140F in the tank and a Caleffi temperature regulating valve to deliver 120F to the house. I suppose if I were going to lower the temperature setting on the indirect for a vacation that perhaps legionella might grow, but I would raise the setting back to 140F minimum on my return. There is a lot of slop in the aquastat in my indirect. It wanders between 140F and almost 160F.
  • kmdsid
    kmdsid Member Posts: 8
    Good advice. I plan on changing out the two batteries on each t-stat before I go. Good idea to change out the CO detector battery back up. They are hard wired but do have back up. In your opinion, would turning the indirect heater all the way down be OK for a few months. I get the point of turning the superstor to hottest on my return and running appliances to use up the water in the tank. Have not opened the gray box on the side of the tank yet. Will there be any surprises or just a straight forward control knob? Thanks for advice in advance
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