What’s the Foul Smell Associated With the Water Heater?

There’s nothing worse than foul smelling water in your house. The smell permeates everything. We use water from our tap for drinking, washing, and a number of other things. If there is something wrong, it can cause major problems for you. Rather than dealing with the problem, do something about it. As the holiday season approaches, you don’t want to be left with a large mess, especially if you are having guests over. Address the problem sooner rather than later.

If you smell a rotten egg stench coming from your tap, or from your utility closet, there is a good chance that the water heater is the problem. Get this solved as quickly as possible. Letting the smell continue longer than necessary will only do more damage.

Finding the source

Most of the time, the rotten egg smell will be caused from the hot water heater. There are a few cases however where this is not true. Before calling a professional, or tearing the water heater apart, verify that that is indeed where the smell is coming from.

To ensure your water heater is the source of the problem, fill a glass with hot water, and another glass with cold water from the sink closest to the heater. Make sure to allow enough time between filling them to ensure the smell doesn’t cross over. Smell both glasses to see which one smells worse. If the smell is obviously coming from the hot water sample, and is unnoticeable in the cold water, your problem is related to the water heater.

Fixing the problem

This issue with water heaters is more common than many people would think. Hard water is the main cause. When the iron particles breakdown, the water begins smelling worse. The more iron you have in your water, the harder it is, making the smell difficult to deal with.

Before you run out and get a new water heater to mend the problem, there are a couple of things that can be done. There is an anode rod made of magnesium that helps to protect the lining of the tank. As a result, this rod corrodes, causing the iron to be eaten by bacteria. The smell is released through this process, causing more damage than good as far as taste goes. In some cases, the rod can be completely removed.

Even with this rod out, there is a chance sulfate-reducing bacteria could still be inside the hot water heater. This will cause the problem to remain, feeding off the hard water. To solve this problem, raise the temperature about 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least eight hours. Make sure to avoid using hot water in the home during this time, to prevent scalding. Before starting, make everybody in the house aware of what you are doing, keeping you and your family safe. These temperatures are way above what the hot water heater should normally be set to. If the problem persists past this point, it may be necessary to contact a professional to drain your hot water heater.

Timing is everything

Dealing with a malfunctioning water heater can be difficult. You don’t realize how often you use it until it’s gone. Before the problem gets too out of hand, make sure you have a grip on the situation. Rather than wasting time and money, fix the problem as soon as it comes.

Whether you are traveling for the holidays, or you have family and friends coming to your home, you don’t want the problem festering for longer than necessary. It is much easier to fix the smell and cover that up than a full on flood caused by a faulty water heater. Be sure to address the problem prior to company, making the experience less stressful for you, and more enjoyable for everybody.

Maintain your hot water heater properly to ensure it will continue working for years to come. Hard water can be damaging, so do all you can to protect the heater. If you notice a foul smell coming from your water supply, do the research to find the source. There are a couple of different ways to fix the problem, find the one that works best for your hot water heater.

Cassie writes on the various plumbing projects that can be done on your own around the house, and when to call a professional. She has researched the best Salt Lake City plumbers to find the most common causes of hot water heater problems.