Re: Sulfer smell
Posted by Suncoast Plumbing on February 13, 1999 at 17:12:10:
In response to Re: Sulfer smell
Paul:--There are two principal reasons for for the "Rotten Egg Odor" that comes from water heaters. The most common cause is the electrolytic decomposition of the Magnesium anode that is placed inside the water heater to protect it from corrosion. In this process the water is broken into its' component Hydrogen and Oxygen components. This leaves a residue of Magnesium Oxide and free Hydrogen. The Free Hydrogen is very quick to take up a relationship with what ever other compounds or elements that are present. Hydrogen Sulfide Gas(rotten egg odor) is generated in this fashion. If there is sufficient Chlorine in the potable water supply, the Hydrogen will combine to form Hyrdochloric Gas and Hydrocloric acid.
There is a second source of this obnoxious odor, and it is the result of a bacterium that is able to live and thrive inside your water heater at temperatures in excess of 139 degrees F..
This "Bug" is sometimes called an "Iron Reducing Bacteria", and evolves this odor in the course of its'role inside the heater.
If you are on a chlorinated water supply, the best course of action is to periodically shut the power off to the heater, and open the hot water valve (wide open), and it run for 20 minutes to a half hour into the Bath Tub.
If you remove the anode from your water heater, you will void your warranty on the tank....Bud...

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