Hot Water Heater Contaminated

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jrprusak

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Using Liquid Wrench to break the anode rod seal worked, but stupid idea. It has contaminated my hot water heater system. The oil smell comes out of every faucet. Running the hot water has not worked after several attempts. Can I drain and flush the system with something to fix this? Someone mention white vinegar with small amount of Dawn Dish soap.. Drain the tank add maybe 2 gallons vinegar with a 1/4 cup of Dawn, but just guessing. Hate to have to replace the 10-year-old gas heater at this time. Any ideas?
 

Jeff H Young

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I cut my teeth on liquid wrench

Just kidding but I wish my awaterheaters lasted 10 years seriously ! I dont know i suppose in your own house vinegar and dawn couldnt really hurt of cource dont drink it and dont run it to an ice maker I think baking soda or chlorine bleach is better , than soap just gotta flush it real good if i did use soap and I dont think I would it would only be like a cap full or just keep using the water but dont drink it or cook with it until it goes away.
 

Fitter30

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Contact liquid wrench. Hydrogen peroxide is a oxidizer don't know what effect it would have. Could flush 1000 gallon of water through it.
 

John Gayewski

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I would fill and drain the water heater three or 4 times. Then flush through the piping after.
 

jrprusak

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Using Liquid Wrench to break the anode rod seal worked, but stupid idea. It has contaminated my hot water heater system. The oil smell comes out of every faucet. Running the hot water has not worked after several attempts. Can I drain and flush the system with something to fix this? Someone mention white vinegar with small amount of Dawn Dish soap.. Drain the tank add maybe 2 gallons vinegar with a 1/4 cup of Dawn, but just guessing. Hate to have to replace the 10-year-old gas heater at this time. Any ideas?

Well this just is not working, The smell of liquid wrench from the hot water heater is still in our home system. Flushed several times, vinegar and Dawn dish soap, tried hydrogen peroxide flush, and still the smell is in the system.

Would there be a chlorine type additive to try? Laundry bleach, non-chlorinated bleach, a hot tub chlorine treatment or such? I once did disinfected a well system with bleach and it worked fine. Just not sure what to use at this time.

Any ideas on this, the wife is not happy.. Thanks, John
 

Tuttles Revenge

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Just read a thread on another forum and Dawn dishsoap fill and purge seemed to be the trick for at least 2 folks.
 

JohnCT

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You need to add something to put the oil into solution, and be safe. A 10% vinegar solution should dissolve the oil and flush it out. I suspect the problem is at the fitting, so anything you're flushing into the tank is just tickling the threads where the LW is sitting and drawing it out little by little. Have you removed the fitting and tried cleaning the threads directly?

John
 

Reach4

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I would tend toward laundry detergent, but maybe dishwasher detergent would be good.

I am thinking to put water into the tub. Turn off the supply for the WH. Put a utility pump into the tub, and run the hose from the utility pump into the drain port on the WH. You may need a female-female garden hose adapter. Open the drain valve, and let the pump recirculate for several hours.

Then drain and rinse well.

I am not a pro.
 

Fitter

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Well this just is not working, The smell of liquid wrench from the hot water heater is still in our home system. Flushed several times, vinegar and Dawn dish soap, tried hydrogen peroxide flush, and still the smell is in the system.

Would there be a chlorine type additive to try? Laundry bleach, non-chlorinated bleach, a hot tub chlorine treatment or such? I once did disinfected a well system with bleach and it worked fine. Just not sure what to use at this time.

Any ideas on this, the wife is not happy.. Thanks, John
jrprusak, I'm having a similar problem. Oily WD-40 ish smell after installing a new electric Bradford water heater five days ago. I didn't use any WD-40 or liquid wrench on threads. Did use a PlumbKING tradmark Pipe Thread Compound in past form recommended for threaded joints on water, steam, natural gas, and air lines to prevent rust and corrosion. No odor with the old heater that gave 10 1/2 years of service. We do have hard water with quite a bit of lime scale, but no filtering or treatment. Old heater was also a Bradford, new one is supposed to be a direct replacement. However, the new one has a separate anode port between the cold in and hot out on top. The old heater must have had an anode built into the hot out nipple, but I never replaced or inspected it. Bradford customer service says the new heater is a magnesium anode rod, and another Bradford customer service rep suggested changing the magnesium anode rod out for an aluminum anode rod then chlorine treat and flush the tank. Haven't tried it yet.

Question, did you install a magnesium anode rod?
 

jrprusak

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jrprusak, I'm having a similar problem. Oily WD-40 ish smell after installing a new electric Bradford water heater five days ago. I didn't use any WD-40 or liquid wrench on threads. Did use a PlumbKING tradmark Pipe Thread Compound in past form recommended for threaded joints on water, steam, natural gas, and air lines to prevent rust and corrosion. No odor with the old heater that gave 10 1/2 years of service. We do have hard water with quite a bit of lime scale, but no filtering or treatment. Old heater was also a Bradford, new one is supposed to be a direct replacement. However, the new one has a separate anode port between the cold in and hot out on top. The old heater must have had an anode built into the hot out nipple, but I never replaced or inspected it. Bradford customer service says the new heater is a magnesium anode rod, and another Bradford customer service rep suggested changing the magnesium anode rod out for an aluminum anode rod then chlorine treat and flush the tank. Haven't tried it yet.

Question, did you install a magnesium anode rod?
I always have used magnesium anode rods, the material would have nothing to do with smell or taste. This liquid wrench smell in my water heater has been very challenging to get flush out. Drained and flushed the entire tank over 8 times, using well over 1000 gallons of water. I have used combinations of dawn dish soap, white vinegar, Clorox (do not mix with baking soda), hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

The best flush was dawn dish soap, (1/2 cup) mixed with 3 pounds of baking soda, mixed with water, layered in the tank, let set 6 hours after filling, flushing the lines a little at a time. There will be lots of foam coming out, and will take a lot of flushing for the foam. Still a slight liquid wrench odor.
 

royalflush001

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Manipulating the anode rod with a liquid wrench and attempting to drain and flush the system yourself carry significant risks, potentially causing harm to yourself and damaging your heater beyond repair. A qualified plumber can safely drain the tank, flush it with appropriate cleaning solutions, and ensure proper sanitation before refilling.
If the oil contamination is primarily around the anode rod, replacing it with a new one might be sufficient. In worst-case scenarios, especially if the heater is old or already damaged, replacement might be the only option.
 

Jeff H Young

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I always have used magnesium anode rods, the material would have nothing to do with smell or taste. This liquid wrench smell in my water heater has been very challenging to get flush out. Drained and flushed the entire tank over 8 times, using well over 1000 gallons of water. I have used combinations of dawn dish soap, white vinegar, Clorox (do not mix with baking soda), hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

The best flush was dawn dish soap, (1/2 cup) mixed with 3 pounds of baking soda, mixed with water, layered in the tank, let set 6 hours after filling, flushing the lines a little at a time. There will be lots of foam coming out, and will take a lot of flushing for the foam. Still a slight liquid wrench odor.
Would you say the Baking soda helped? just wondering I belive baking soda can be great stuff but at same time very safe, its the only thing they allowed us to clean 5 gallon water jugs with on huge jobs jobs in the desert. I use it a lot at the house removes odors well generaly
 

jrprusak

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Would you say the Baking soda helped? just wondering I belive baking soda can be great stuff but at same time very safe, its the only thing they allowed us to clean 5 gallon water jugs with on huge jobs jobs in the desert. I use it a lot at the house removes odors well generaly
Yes, the baking soda helped, the dawn dish soap acted as a carrier, does take a lot of flushing. Best to dilute the baking soda with warm water to help it dissolve. The baking soda worked better than vinegar, hydrogen peroxide. This was a bad lesson to learn, never get any petroleum type product anywhere near your water system.
 
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