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Funny smell in the water

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brasilmom

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Hi all,

Lately I have noticed that our water (mostly during shower) is smelling a bit like sulfur. Now, we do not have well, and are supplied by city water. I mostly notice the smell in the shower, but also in the laundry. So, I am wondering i there is a way to flush, clean and disinfect the water softener and also the water heater. Our water heater is not all that new and may be looking into getting replaced in 2 years or so. Then, we may consider an on-demand water heater. For now, it would be very nice not to smell sulfur during showers.

Thanks for any help you can provide. Be well

Miriam
 

frozenstar

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Haven't experience that. Have you asked your water supplier if they did anything? Wondering if you can put on a water filter.
 

handyguys

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Is it hot water only? Do you smell it in water from the hose? This is often caused by stuff in the water heater. If you are on city water and its hot water only thats what I would suspect.

An easy (hopefully) first step would be to flush the water heater. If its old you could run into issues with not being able to open the valve at the bottom and/or the bottom is filled with sediment and the tank wont drain. If the tank wont drain then, well. Start saving for that new water heater and my guess would be the smell would go away.

Dont let some water treatment expert sell you an expensive treatment system, I dont think thats whats called for. The draining the tank is a zero cost solution that may fix it.
 

Speedbump

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Like mentioned before, it it's only in the hot, it's the heater's sacrificial rod that is probably causing the smell.

If it's in the cold also, then you may not have a softener, you may have a carbon filter. They can foul and start growing bacteria which can cause a sulplur odor. Do you add salt to a container for your softener?

It could also be that your near the end of the run on the water supply and the chlorine isn't getting to your home. Bacteria growth can certainly cause an odor.
 

kok328

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Process of elimination; bypass the water softener for a few days and see if it still smells like rotten eggs.
 

brasilmom

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Ok, we were able to figure it out. The problem was indeed the water heater. We drained some of the water so we could add chlorine to disinfect. Then, the rod was removed and replaced. The rod was completely rotten. After the disinfecting we ran all the faucets and showers in the house to clean the lines as well. It has filled back up and the odor is now gone. Thanks all for helping out.

Be we,

Miriam
 

brasilmom

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Well, some time went by and we were enjoying shower without funky smell. Unfortunately it was short lived. The smell is back and since it has been just three months that we replaced the rod and disinfect the water heater, I feel that its time is come to an end. Is that what I am contemplating? That being the case, I would like to learn more about tankless water heater. Can anyone here give me some education on that?
Thanks. Be well

Miriam
 

Speedbump

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I'm wondering what rod you replaced the old one with. There are different rods. Some cause the odor, others don't. The odor is bacteria. If replacing the rod doesn't help, you can crank up the temperature to 140° and the smell will go away. The bacteria can't live in 140° temperatures.

Charcoal filters like you buy in big box stores are good temporary measures and that's about all they are good for. Carbon only takes out a hint of sulphur odor and is easily and quickly used up. Don't waste you money. Fix the problem. If it's the water heater, get another type of rod, or just remove it.
 

brasilmom

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Well, I do not know what rod was used to replace the old one. However, I did follow your advice about getting a higher temperature, and voila, the funny (not) smell is gone! Thanks for the help. Be well

Miriam
 

brasilmom

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Just as a follow up. The smell did return fast and furious. We did the following: we once again empty the water heater. Removed the plug on the lower part of the water heater so any sediments could come out. We got a lot out. We did gushes of cold water to help the sediments out. We then filed half up and add about 4 pints of peroxide. We flushed all the lines before filling it up again. Flushed again and now it is running like new. We may do the peroxide treatment one more time to provide a deeper cleaning to the lines. Thanks for all the help you are able to provide me. Be well
 

brasilmom

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The sediment we had was due to the corroded rod. When we first drained and disinfected the water heater we did not remove the spout from the water heater. So the water came out, but not the sediments that were already there. This time we remove the spout and all the accumulated sediment was set free. I was set free in the process as well. Thanks for the link, nonetheless. Be well

Miriam
 

Redwood

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The anode rod you should be using is an aluminum/zinc/tin/ anode rod.
 

brasilmom

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I looked at the top portion of the rod and it reads "AL". Unless it is made in Alabama, I am thinking that this one is aluminum. Now, we have no idea which type was there before, so we may replace it with another anode rod. I think the other option is magnesium?
Thanks. Be well

Miriam
 

Redwood

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Magnesium usually is the one that causes the problems.
 

budro

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speedbump, good advice about the temp waxing the bacteria. i see this post has some age, but in the future i would recomend you warn the good folks about the burn and scald potential by cranking the heat up. they sometimes cannot translate what we suggest to what it will become until it actually (physically) happens (scalding hot water). her name implies kids around. most folks would pick up on this. we need to cover the ones who don't. budro
 

Speedbump

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speedbump, good advice about the temp waxing the bacteria. i see this post has some age, but in the future i would recomend you warn the good folks about the burn and scald potential by cranking the heat up. they sometimes cannot translate what we suggest to what it will become until it actually (physically) happens (scalding hot water). her name implies kids around. most folks would pick up on this. we need to cover the ones who don't. budro
Your right. I shouldn't assume everyone understands that 140° water will burn.

What amazes me is that bacteria can live in water that hot.
 

westequest

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Just as a follow up. The smell did return fast and furious. We did the following: we once again empty the water heater. Removed the plug on the lower part of the water heater so any sediments could come out. We got a lot out. We did gushes of cold water to help the sediments out. We then filed half up and add about 4 pints of peroxide. We flushed all the lines before filling it up again. Flushed again and now it is running like new. We may do the peroxide treatment one more time to provide a deeper cleaning to the lines. Thanks for all the help you are able to provide me. Be well
its 4 years later...still working ok? or did you replace heater?
 

brasilmom

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The water heater is still working, believe it or not. I was the last house on the main water feed from the city and I think that was the problem. The city finished installing pipes on my street and ever since my water heater has not had that problem anymore and my water in general is better.
 

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