Checked to see what sort of pipes are going into tank. Only two water, both warm to the touch. And, of course, the gas line to the pilot, etc.
So I guess that means, no recirc system.
The water suddenly got rusty which is what prompted the replacement of the tank. The home inspector when I bought the place a year ago told me the tank was elderly. “If you suddenly get rust,” he said, “don’t wait, call the plumber and replace it.” Which is what I did.
No stink from the old tank or the pipes, for that matter.
By stink I mean a petroleum, oily smell rather than a rotten egg smell. Plumber said he’d noticed lately that the tanks from this mfg had this smell in the beginning, but that it faded away in a week or two–nothing to worry about. :/
The rust wasn’t apparent when he finished the job because the tank had just been filled and hadn’t had time to do it’s evil magic. The rust appeared the next morning, after the water had sat all afternoon and evening in the tank.
Both plumber and I are pretty certain it isn’t a pipe issue, but I’m open to other opinions. Water that comes from the cold tap has no problems. Pipes are copper throughout–1983 build date.
And as I mentioned above, the rust starts when the water out of the spigot gets hot, not before, which indicates that it’s coming from the tank, not the pipes. 7 seconds of clear, cool water from the spigot when I turn on the faucet, then the rust starts when the water warms, then clears in about 3-4 seconds.
It occurred to me it might be a city water issue–some new chemical added that was reacting to heat in a weird way. I had a long talk with several people at the water department, moving up the hierarchy, and they said that if this were the issue, others would have complained, and no one had. Hmm. Maybe. They said the water in my area was tested regularly, and they hadn’t added anything new.
I have thought of getting my cold and hot water tested to see what’s in there, but when I called the testing company, they didn’t think this was necessary. They said if I was really worried, they’d test the hot water for iron for me. I haven’t done this yet.
One last bit of info: the rust (assuming it IS rust) appears to be diminishing very slowly. It was really rusty/red at first, and now is more of a tinge. The rustiness depends on how often the water is used. So, for example, if I run my dishwasher just before bed, the water will be less rusty in the morning.
Thanks for helping me trouble-shoot this.