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What’s That Smell Coming From the Water Heater?

Jan 24, 2022

Imagine this: you are ready to take that refreshing hot shower. But all of a sudden, the water from the faucet starts smelling like rotten eggs. This is not a scenario you would like to face.

So, what makes water heaters smell awful? The reason is the generation of a gas hydrogen sulfide inside the heater.

In this article, we will talk about the main reasons behind the smell, and the steps you can take to prevent it.


How Does Hydrogen Sulfide Generate
Inside Your Water Heater?

are two reasons behind the formation of hydrogen sulfide inside the
water heater.

  1. The
    anode rod of the water heater is failing.
  2. Presence
    of sulfur-reducing bacteria in the water

Failure of Anode Rod

anode rod is a long steel rod connected to the top of the water
heater. It is coated with a metal like zinc, magnesium, or aluminum.
The main purpose of the anode rod is to work as a “sacrificial”
piece and protect the main metal body of the water tank from

anode rods can last between three to five years. But it may vary
depending on the type of water in your area. Soft water with high
levels of mineral content can dissolve anode rods within a year.

the metals on the anode rod corrode, they react with the sulfate
salts present in the water. These reactions generate hydrogen sulfide
and result in a foul smell.

remedy is to replace the anode rod with a new one by taking the
support of a professional. It is best to use anode rods made with
zinc or aluminum-zinc alloy. The reaction rate of zinc with sulfates
is much lower than magnesium or aluminum.

Bacterial Presence in Water

presence of sulfur-reducing bacteria in the water is a more
challenging problem and might need elaborate corrective measures.
Sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB) are found widely in the natural
environment. They are a major cause of corrosion in various
industrial systems.

bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide gas as they feed on sulfates. While
most city water supplies use chlorine to kill bacteria, it may not be
sufficient in some cases. Some local conditions in the pipelines can
also support bacterial growth.

The best way is to visit the local water testing lab and get the water checked for the bacterial count. If the bacterial count is high, you need to take professional help to find out the best remedies. You may need to install a special water purification system that can get rid of the SRB. In addition, you can also contact the local authorities to find a solution to the problem.

case you are away from town for long periods and the water in the
heater is kept at a low temperature, bacteria can multiply at a fast
rate. Flushing the tank and turning up the heat for at least 24 hours
will help in reducing bacterial growth.

Call Our Team for Support

of foul smell from your water heater can severely affect the quality
of your life. Since water heaters are complex systems, it is best
that you take professional help to rectify the problem immediately.

If you are looking for the best service for repairing a water heater in Albuquerque, NM, feel free to call First Rate Plumbing Heating and Cooling Inc. Quality work, exuberant service.

Categories: Water Heaters