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My daughter is in litigation on numerous issues with her home. The issues include numerous water leaks, so the water is turned off at the street. The plumber assigned recommended the water heater not be turned off to prevent bacteria from building up in the water heater and recommended not draining the water heater to keep it from rusting. That was 3 months ago and they likely have 6 more months of lawyers before they can even begin repairs. I’m very concerned about leaving a gas water heater on for months without pressurized input water to keep it topped off. We live in very dry Las Vegas, I think that months of high vapor pressure water will evaporate a 50 gallon tank. The water heater is low in the house with no chance of a cold side siphon. Am I nuts?

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No, you're not nuts. The plumber might be crazy like a fox, though. Oh look, your water heater broke, despite all we did to try and "save" it...

It should have been (should be) shut down, drained, and blown dry, at which point it won't be growing any bacteria that will survive it being fired back up, nor rusting.

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