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Author Topic: Why do my water in hot water tank have rotten odor?  (Read 1411 times)
Busnut83
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« on: June 27, 2013, 04:28:22 PM »

I have tried leaving the tank heated and not heated...  Always filter the water going in the water tank?Huh  the cold does not have the odor?  What will stop the smell...
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luvrbus
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 04:35:55 PM »

That is caused by the anode rod in the tank some remove it but it shortens the life of the tank when removed
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2013, 04:42:10 PM »

What luvrbus said.  Also - sometimes the manufacturer will sell an alternate anode rod which may not react with an odor to the chemicals in the water.  If you are able to refill w/ water from a different source you will likely not have the same problem.  Usually has happened to us w/ water from a well.  We have LOTS of experience fighting that battle. 

Hope this helps, Phil



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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2013, 05:27:47 PM »

Hi Busnut,

luvrbus & Phil are spot on...

I only want to add that they can also be a pita to get out of your tank if they are

corroded too bad. Nevertheless, it will be on the lower side of your tank near the

heating element. It should have a bolt head that you can wrench out.

Good Luck
Nick-

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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2013, 05:32:11 PM »

My well water and many folks I know also have that problem. I believe it's sulfur dissolved in the water. Sometimes you can beat it by changing your magnesium rod to aluminum, or - I changed my rod to a high temp plastic plug which may shorten the life of the tank, (the rod has a purpose) but no stinky water. It's a chemical/electrical thing with the metal rod and the water. Best of luck Gerry H
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paul102a3
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 09:29:39 PM »

You can sometimes work around it by cranking up the temp in the tank. We are on a well at home and have this problem when we come back from a trip.

I crank the tstats up to 180 for a couple of days and the smell goes away. 180 is too hot for normal use so after a couple of days I turn them down to normal 120 range and no smell for 2 or 3 weeks. After a while, the smell comes back and I then repeat the high heat for a couple of days.

My problem is the anode is not replaceable in my water tank.

Hope that work for you.

Paul
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Rick 74 MC-8
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 04:43:14 AM »

Just add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the water heater  let it sit and rinse it out
Rick
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Cary and Don
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2013, 07:56:29 AM »

Our Eagle had been sitting when we bought it and smelled really bad.  I doubt the tank had ever been flushed. Drain the tank.  You wouldn't believe the white goo in the bottom.  Then change the rod.  It will be good for years.  Those rods are there for a reason.  Better that they rot than your tank.

Don and Cary
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2013, 08:24:00 AM »

One of the most common cause of the smell is actually a bacteria that lives in the tank and produces a hydrogen sulphide gas.  Treating with chloride bleach works, as does just turning the temp up for a few hours so the water gets over 150 degrees, then flushing out that water.  Easy to do in a small tank.  Worth a try because it's basically free.  One other thing, if you have a tank with an anode (Suburban tanks usually do, Atwood tanks often don't) never let RV Antifreeze get in it if the anode is there.  The antifreeze dissolves the anode and you get a horrible mess of white gunk that is almost impossible to get out of the tank.

Brian
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2013, 08:44:51 AM »

We were wondering what that goo was.  There was probably three inches of it in the bottom.

Don and Cary
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2013, 09:04:27 AM »

 They recommend that you inspect/change the anode once a year. I had one that was completely gone in about a year and a half.
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 09:13:38 AM »

Brian's bacteria theory sounds good.  The same thing happens to well people when they install water filters that were meant for city systems.  A friend of mine who is on a well, but has a 5,000 gallon tank due to fire codes, gets a bacteria smell problem if the summer is too warm.
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2013, 09:26:49 AM »

Bacteria smell will be on both hot and cold water not just the hot water
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2013, 11:11:59 AM »

The bacteria I am referring to lives on the walls of the hot water tank, so it's just hot water.  It might be present in the cold water but it doesn't grow so it doesn't create an odor.  Had it for 10 years in my last house, we could make it go away but it always came back.

Brian
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2013, 11:36:48 AM »

Before you leave on a trip, run the hot water until you don't smell it. Then refill your tank. Once it is gone, you won't smell it when you actively are using the water. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2013, 01:28:37 PM »


At the house the well exhibits the sulphur smell when the bacteria in the well overwhelms everything. Your state DEP or such can give your the proportions of bleach and procedures necessary to kill the bacteria.

On the hot water tank drain when cool. Flush with a bleach solution, maybe a quarter cup per 10 gallons. Let sit for 30mins or so. Drain and refill and drain probably three to four times to clear out the bleach smell. Should be good to go until the bacteria comes back.

Instead of bleach (chlorine) we use the Purogene product. No flushing required. Usable after a 20 min soak period.


Bill
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2013, 02:18:23 PM »

Brian is correct.  it is bacteria in the hot water tank.  the first time it occurred, we just bought a new tank.  the 2nd time a couple years later, i researched it.  Better to use peroxide than bleach because it is not deadly to you.  i think we  put a cup into the tank by turning on a hot water faucet with the first 6 ft of fill hose with peroxide in it.  heated the tank to 180, let it set for a few hours, then flushed it and turned temp back down.  All better.

i saw you said the cold didn't smell, so no need to treat the well or the main storage tank.
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2013, 03:40:42 PM »

Our water heater has an Aluminum Tank and don't have the problem.

Dave5Cs
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Don4107
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2013, 10:26:15 PM »

We stopped having the problem when we stopped using RV antifreeze in both the boat and bus. Now I blow out the water systems with air and save the pink stuff for the drain traps.  No more odor.  Much simpler.  No heater bypass, no flushing the pink stuff. 

Have you ever drained the pink stuff out on some grass?  Kills it better than Round Up. Cheaper too!  Not something I want to drink or bath in.

Blow it out in the fall.  Fill it and go in the spring.

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« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2013, 06:00:12 PM »

Ok the smell maybe bad and everyone is talking about fixing the smell, but your still drinking and using the water with several inches of white goo Shocked
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2013, 06:48:26 PM »

Did someone already suggest pouring a bottle of hydrogen peroxide into the tank?


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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2013, 11:07:46 PM »

One other option to prevent the smell is to use a powered anode in place of the Aluminum or Zinc/Aluminum rod. A small electrical current is passed through the water and prevents galvanic corrosion so no rusting of the tank. Since there is no aluminum rod in the tank, there is no hydrogen sulfide created by the anaerobic bacteria so no smell. These are the best option if you are on a well and use a water softener also. The down side is they are expensive $250. The up side is no smell and the tank will never rust out.

A powered Anode and Cathode system was installed on many pleasure boats as early as the late 1960s to prevent the galvanic corrosion from damaging the propeller and all the rest of the underwater stuff so a powered anode for a water heater is not a new concept.

As I and others have stated, if you can adjust your water temp to 150 degrees or higher, that will eliminate the odor. There is the danger of scalding at that temp and yes you will use a little more electricity. One option to prevent scalding is a mixing valve that can add some cold water after the hot water leaves the tank.

There is one extreme option and that is to cut the anode rod off and go without. No smell but you will be replacing the water heater every few years. One other advantage of not having the Anode rod is there is no leaching of Aluminum into the water.

Paul
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