Rotten Egg smell in water heater gone but now…

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mikeyredk, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. mikeyredk macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2003
    Hello everybody I just bought a house that was in foreclosure (builder foreclosure so I didn't kick anyone out of a house.) So the house was sitting for sometime now and the water started to smell Plus the water heater wasn't heating any water. So I called the plumber and he fixed the water heater so now it heats. They wanted another $300 to get rid of the smell but thats insane… I could buy a new one for $500. He said to put in one gallon of chlorine per 25 gallons of water I have an 80 gallon tank and put roughly 1.5 gallons in. Took some time but the water was finally smelling good.

    BUT… now it smells of chlorine I guess that is better then rotten eggs. So my question is how the heck do you get rid of the chlorine? I have flushed my water system twice yesterday before calling it quits.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. mikeyredk thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2003
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    This is going to be long, but its better if you read entirely. Chemistry course help sometimes.;)

    Rotten eggs smell is indicator in Chemistry of the presence of Sulfur. The common chemical derivation of the Sulfur compound is commonly known as is Hydrogen Sulfide or H2S.

    Decay of organic matter or chemical reactions with sulfur-containing minerals in soil and rock. Sulfate-reducing bacteria which convert naturally occurring sulfate and other sulfur compounds to hydrogen sulfide gas.

    Water heaters can produce hydrogen sulfide gas by:
    - Providing a warm environment for sulfate-reducing bacteria to live.
    - The anode, which is usually magnesium, supplies electrons that sustain the reaction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas.

    Sulfur in your water stream should be a concern to you. In addition to the hydrogen sulfide gas they produce, sulfur-reducing bacteria also generate slime that can promote the growth of other bacteria and clog wells and plumbing.

    Hydrogen sulfide gas may cause black staining of silverware and plumbing fixtures and can corrode pipes.

    How do I determine the source? Easy...

    Run water separately from both the cold and hot taps, preferably when you have been away from the house for a few hours so your sense of smell is more keen.

    If the smell is only from the hot water tap, the source is most likely your water heater.

    If the smell is from both hot and cold taps, but only from water treated by a water softener, you may have sulfur-reducing bacteria in your water softener.

    If the smell is from both taps and diminishes after the water runs, you may have sulfur-reducing bacteria in your well or piping.

    If the smell is from both taps and is persistent, you may have hydrogen sulfide gas in your groundwater.

    Now, the question of the day. How to get rid of the smell.

    If the source is your water heater:
    - Remove or replace the magnesium anode.
    - Disinfect and flush the water heater with a bleach solution.
    - Increase the water temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours to kill the bacteria, then flush the heater.

    If you are not very familiar with water heater operation and maintenance, contact a plumber or water heater dealer to perform the service.

    If the source is sulfur-reducing bacteria in the well or plumbing:
    - Disinfect the well. (See section on Well Disinfection)

    If the source is sulfur-reducing bacteria in a water softener or treatment unit:
    - Contact the manufacturer for instructions on disinfecting the unit.

    If the source is hydrogen sulfide gas in the groundwater the water may be treated by:
    - Activated carbon filters for hydrogen sulfide concentrations less than 1 mg/L.
    - Manganese greensand filters for hydrogen sulfide concentrations up to 6 mg/L.
    - Oxidation filtration systems for hydrogen sulfide concentrations up to and exceeding 6 mg/L.

    Hope it helps:) also, if you are asking, Google helped in the tough parts;)
  4. mikeyredk thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2003
    Jav thats for your help though I have already killed all of the bacteria with chlorine bleach. I just need to get rid of the bleach now from the hot water.

    Edit: I ran my hot water for the past 30 mins and the chlorine smell and taste went away.
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    If you haven't already done so, you need to drain your water heater. It should be done once a year or so.

    Sediment builds up in the bottom of a water heater over time, and running water through the water heater into the house's piping system won't clear it out.

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Shut off the incoming water to the water heater.
    2. Connect a garden hose to the connection at the bottom of the water heater and run it outside.
    3. Open the T&P valve on the water heater and the valve to the hose. Let it completely drain. Leave the bottom valve open and close the T&P valve.
    4. Open the water into the water heater and let it run for several minutes, draining through the garden hose.
    5. Shut off the water to the water heater and close the valve at the bottom. Open the T&P valve for as long as it takes to re-fill the water heater, then close it.

    You're good to go!
  6. mikeyredk thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2003
    thx tomorrow I did that twice yesterday exactly the way you have it written below. Once before I put the chlorine in and once after.

    Thanks for the help everyone.

Share This Page