Electric Hot Water Tank Suddenly Stinky

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by driz, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. driz

    driz New Member

    Sep 8, 2008
    40 gallon State Electric hot water tank 5 or so years old in a rental trailer I own. Lots of lime in the water in the area. Lots of sediment build up 2 years ago when I last drained it. It had built up to the point where the lower element had shorted at the time.

    That was then this is now. Tenant says it started to stink a couple weeks ago never did before. Also claims it is very weak on hot water and taking forever to heat up and little available. I am going to go drain it tomorrow morning so I want a feel for what to expect beyond what I did before.

    I am thinking the lower element is buried and burned out again. I am curious about the coincidental stink though, any opinions before I go get dirty?????? Thanks in advance.
  2. PlumbPowerHouse

    PlumbPowerHouse Plumber

    Dec 10, 2009
    South Carolina
    That smell is coming from bacteria in the water. It's building up in your water heater and it gives you a smelly water heater. I suggest cutting off the water and put a few pints of hydrogen peroxide in to the heater and then hook it back up and run some water through it. Open all spigots and taps for a while. It should cure the smell. If the water sits in the heater for a long time, then it will smell again, so be careful when going out of town.
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  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sounds like the anode rod. When they go you will sometimes get a sulphur smell.

  5. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Jun 22, 2009
    Red Seal Journeyman Plumber & Licensed Gas Fitter
    Penticton, BC
    Yeah I agree with this.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    The tank's been there for 5-years, wouldn't the smells start when installed if the water and the anode type weren't compatible?
  7. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    The tank is running cool much of the time and has sedimentation/scaling issues. I've never had stinky water, but this sounds like an ideal environment to grow bacteria.
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