Let the record reflect that I have emptied the hot water heater and refilled it. I had not done this since moving in, and I don’t know if the previous owners ever did this, or for that matter how old the water heater is (though it looks to be not much more than 5 years old). I had heard somewhere that you’re supposed to flush out the water heater every year, so it was overdue.
Some weird white stuff that looks like soap was flushed out. Maybe that explains why the water sort of tasted like soap the last week or three. I don’t know if it’s really soap – if so it probably would have dissolved a lot more easily than it did. I’m assuming it was either some mineral that builds up in the city pipes and recently came loose, or was a result of some new plumbing or repair elsewhere in the system. I really hope it’s not creeping back into the house plumbing from the clothes washer or something… I really think washers are set up to prevent that, and it didn’t behave like powdered soap.
I almost got through the job without getting the garage wet, but then I decided to run cold water back into the tank with the drain valve still open, to flush anything else lurking at the bottom. This would have been a good idea, but for some reason I just had to fool with the drain valve to make sure it was open all the way. It’s a weird drain valve that looks like an inline coupler, and has to be turned one way to open, and then another way to completely remove. Unfortunately I opened it too far and it started to come off, and I quickly figured out how to twist the rest of the way back in, then the other way to close the actual valve. But, not before soaking myself and a bit of garage and contents. A bit of sweeping, toweling things off, and leaving the garage open for a while and we’re almost back to normal.
And, the warm water doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth, so something must have gone right. Next small project is to have someone change the filters for the under-sink filtration system, and next big projects are central AC and replacing all kitchen counters.