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superjedi 01-23-2011 08:31 PM

Metallic smell from shower
Hi all,
My wife, who has a nose much more sensitive than me apparently, had been complaining of a "metallic" smell when she takes a shower.
I honestly have never noticed any kind of smell.
So I drained our hot water heater a couple of weekends ago. There was barely any sediment and only a slight tinge of brownish discoloration in the water that came out.
After I did this, she still says that there's a metallic odor. I don't recall her specifically mentioning anything about an odor from the bathroom or kitchen faucets, so I'm wondering what it might be.
The house is older, and it's all copper plumbing. When I refilled the water heater after draining it, I opened the bathroom faucet to push the air out of the lines and again, only a slight brownish discoloration for a few seconds, then ran clear.
Any thoughts? Or should I tell my wife to put a clothespin on her nose when she takes a shower? ;)

inspectorD 01-24-2011 05:27 AM

Do you have well water or city water?

If it is well water there could be a number of things it could be.
And sometimes city water doesn't smell to good either.
The shower is where you would smell the most anyway, test the water regardless, just to know what you are drinking. I always test wells when doing Inspections, and any municipal water system is subject to issues also, just ask the folks who have to boil there city water when someone forgets to properly sanitize at the plant.
Look in the phone book for water testing co, usually a basic is about 50 $$
Good luck.

Speedbump 01-24-2011 07:54 AM

If you have well water (or maybe even city water)check your PH. If it's below 7, the water is acidic and probably eating your copper pipes. That might be the metallic smell.

superjedi 01-24-2011 08:46 PM

We're on city water. My wife's nose is very sensitive. I kid her sometimes about being part wolf.
What would the results of a water test show? And if there is an excessive level of "something" what could we do about it?

For the most part the water we drink comes out of the (filtered) water dispenser from the fridge. But we cook with tap water, brush our teeth with tap water, etc. and like I said, she only seems to mention it when using the shower.

havasu 01-24-2011 10:24 PM

I'd recommend you call your water department and explain your concerns. Many municipalities will really go out of their way to resolve problems. At the very least, they should come out and test your water for you.

JohnchambersJr 01-25-2011 12:26 AM

Rotten water smell
Hot water tanks have a rod in them that is called a sacrificial anode. It takes any attack due to current and conduction in your hot water tank and prevents the attack from deteriorating the tank. The current attacks the rod as is is "easier." The older your tank and as mentioned above, your water condition can cause your anode to deteriorate and end up with your condition. There are alternative anodes available to help you in different water conditions. I would recommend calling a toll free number that your manufacturer has had get some advice. Depending on locatiuon of your tank and age, 10 years or less, you might want to pull the anode and possibly find you have to replace it. If the tank is old (ten years or more) it might not be worth the effort. The time and expense is not worth it. I hope this helps. John

Speedbump 01-25-2011 07:40 AM

If that's the problem he could just remove it. If the tanks older than ten years, what harm could that do?

Usually the sacrificial rod gives off a rotten egg odor.

runner041 01-25-2011 10:46 AM

My wife has the same type of nose. Your wife and mine may come from the same pack!:)

You didn't mention whether or not you had a water softener. I'm assuming you do not. The softener will take most of the smell and rust (if you have any) out of the water. We had that problem but also had a rotten egg smell coming from our brand new homes well. We had it tested to be sure we weren't drinking something we should not be first. After that we had a carbon filter tank installed. It cost about $370, but it solved our problem completely. Eventually the tank will have to be recharged and that will cost some, but we have had it over a year now and the smell has not returned.

We had Culligan and another local water treatment company come out to do the tests. They both did it for free. I had two done and told them both of the other so that I would get accurate tests. In fact they passed each other just outside of my drive. I could not have planned it better1

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