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            DIY Message Boards  Hop To Forum Categories  Home Improvement  Hop To Forums  Plumbing    Sulpher smell in hot water
        Sulpher smell in hot water Sign In/Join 
        We are in a newer house and periodically we have a strong "rotten egg" smell coming out of the hot water taps. When we first had this occur, we were told by the water company that it might be coming from bacteria in our water heater. Following their suggestion we turned off the heaters and flushed out all the hot water, let them sit with cold water for a few hours and flushed more cold water through them, This worked for a while then the smell returned. We have subsequently done this several times and each time the smell returns, usually even more quickly.

        We currently are on city water service, and none of our neighbors have this problem. The smell is only on the hot water. Our water heating system consists of two 50 gallon gas water heaters operating in parallel that are each about 4 years old. These are hooked into the house with a recirculation system to get hot water to the taps faster. It is a convection system and has no pumps to recirculate the water. This was set up by the builder and is actually much more capacity then we need. Prior to our moving in the house sat unoccupied for almost 4 years.

        Any suggestions as to how to eliminate this problem short of replacing the water heaters? could I use chlorine to "shock" the heaters like a swimming pool? Is this a symptom that is common to recirculating hot water systems?

        Thanks for any suggestions
        Posts: 1 | Registered: Nov 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I don't think superchlorination is the answer. likely you have the wrong anode rod in the heaters for the water you have. I forget what is common and which to switch to, but your plumber knows. I think the common one is aluminum and a magnesium rod is the go-to, but if one of the pros doesn't chime in, call and ask. you may need a water test first to confirm it.

        it is possible to make this a DIY job, but precautions are in order. the heater has to be shut off. the heaters have to be depressurized and should be drained a little bit, obviously the water has to be turned off. might need to fully drain the heaters and then refill them.

        well water users probably need some pre-treatment first to filter and ionize out the iron, which sulfur-eating bacteria that thrive in wells love.

        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
        Posts: 5849 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Does the stinky hot water come out of the showers and bathroom sinks as well as the kitchen sink?
        Posts: 990 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        A few posts down in this board I posted this link on the very same subject. It gives you a few tests to determine the cause and offers solutions. I agree with SWS that is likely the wrong anode rod in your water heater. But before you spend money read this webpage.

        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
        Posts: 886 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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