Smelly Hot Water bad... I can't figure it out.

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s10010001

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Hey all, I have been troubleshooting a rotten egg smell in my hot water for a while now. The smell kinda comes in bursts. It seems like we can shower for ~5mins or so and it's just fine, feels, and smells clean. Then the puffs of rotten egg smell start coming. If someone takes a shower right after another person the smells start up right away.

My water setup:
Well Pump > Screen filter > Storage tanks (2x 550) > Jet Pump > CSV+Small presure tank > Screen filter > Sedimate filter > Carbonb filter > Salt based softener > House


So, I started by replacing the water heater 9 months ago. The old unit would barely drain there was so much buildup in the tank. I don't remember if the old tank was getting the rotten egg smell, but the hot water was nasty, discolored, bad pressure, and had all kinds of smells. The new tank fixed the color, other smells, and pressure. I bleached the hotlines too when I did the tank.

Now the new tank only has this rotten egg smell. My Water storage tanks don't stink, my cold water doesn't stink. I just got done chlorine shocking my well and entire house for 48 hours. I flushed as much as I could, the water seems nice and clean now. The storage tanks look great. (they're only a few months old too) the old one was cracked.


So? any ideas? Here is the water heater. I have tried a Zink/alum anode rod, that didn't help and there is currently a Corroprotec electric rod in there, again not helping at all. I also installed a big ball valve for easy flushing. The 3" pipe is galvanized, that wouldn't be creating the egg smell, would it? we are considering trying out of non-metallic hot water heater. HD had a 50gal Marathon on sale for $1000 right now, but id rather not since the current unit is pretty new.
 

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Reach4

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gonna be honest, I think someone here warned me before not to use a standard Galvanized pipe to connect the ball valve.. they even gave me a link to buy. But that little pipe wouldn't be giving my new water heater all the smells would it?
I would not think so. A brass nipple is ideal, but a dialectic nipple would be an improvement over plain galvanized. I should not have, but I am getting by with schedule 80 CPVC so far.

Did your sanitizing include your water heater and plumbing? If you have a place to get bleach into the system, such as a cartridge filter housing, you could take care of that. People often use peroxide (not the little weak bottles from the drug store) instead of bleach when just doing a WH. Also, you could try turning the WH to 140, but watch out for burns especially with young and old. I am not a pro. A pro would use a mixing valve to keep the accessible faucets from exceeding 120F. Next time you sanitize the well, include your WH and other plumbing. https://terrylove.com/forums/index....izing-extra-attention-to-4-inch-casing.65845/
 
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s10010001

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I did sanitize the whole house. I first drained the water heater completely. Then dropped in bleach via the cold water input port. Then filled water heater.I then put bleach in my carbon filter housing and ran the water (hot and cold) at all faucets until I smelled strong bleach. (it was foaming too)

I left that soak for 6 hours or so, then rinsed it.

Also, my water storage tanks have bleach in them from the Well shock. ran the well into my yard until most of the bleach smell was gone then let it fill the tanks. It's a lower yield well so it's still working on filling the tanks back up.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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This is nothing new....
you are on well water and you need to remove the anode rod and the problem will go away..

its gonna take a huge socket wrench and probably a cheater bar to get that rod out of
the heater... Rheem really drives them in deep....

that water heater seen in the picture has caused me fits due to that control board
not working correctly and shorting out.. I wont install that type of unit for that reason
but..... maybe yours will be ok
 

s10010001

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This is nothing new....
you are on well water and you need to remove the anode rod and the problem will go away..

its gonna take a huge socket wrench and probably a cheater bar to get that rod out of
the heater... Rheem really drives them in deep....

that water heater seen in the picture has caused me fits due to that control board
not working correctly and shorting out.. I wont install that type of unit for that reason
but..... maybe yours will be ok

I did remove the original Anode rod, it was decaying bad in just a few months. I then tried a Zink rod with no luck with the smell, now I am currently using a powered rod. So that tells me the smell is not the rod decaying right? I have pulled and inspected the powered rod and it looks brand new still.

With no rod, isn't that going to significantly shorten the life of the tank? It's in the attic so I really don't want a major leak haha.


Really has me leaning on the non-metallic water heater.
 

Reach4

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My water setup:
Well Pump > Screen filter > Storage tanks (2x 550) > Jet Pump > CSV+Small presure tank > Screen filter > Sediment filter > Carbonb filter > Salt based softener > House

Tell us about that filter. Is that a cartridge, or big backwashing filter. Changing out the carbon media may help that if your GAC has a few years on it.

Regarding the storage tanks, a spray bar that aerates the water better may help get rid of H2S there. If that is a GAC backwashing filter, injecting H2O2 into the storage tanks should help a lot, I would think.

I understand that my comments are not relevant to hot-only H2S, but H2S is less soluble in hot water, so may be more noticeable there. Your powered anode should be as fully immune to H2S production as having no anode at all, and still helping protect the tank.
 

s10010001

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Tell us about that filter. Is that a cartridge, or big backwashing filter. Changing out the carbon media may help that if your GAC has a few years on it.

My filters are a metal screen filter (clear jar looking thing), then a 4.5x10 sediment filter, then a 4.5x10 carbon filter. The water just passes through them. The filers get changed every 2 months. Might be overkill, but they're fairly cheap, and I'm being overboard trying to keep this water clean and not smelly. Is there a better 4.5x10 I should be using in place of the carbon?



Regarding the storage tanks, a spray bar that aerates the water better may help get rid of H2S there. If that is a GAC backwashing filter, injecting H2O2 into the storage tanks should help a lot, I would think.

I understand that my comments are not relevant to hot-only H2S, but H2S is less soluble in hot water, so may be more noticeable there. Your powered anode should be as fully immune to H2S production as having no anode at all, and still helping protect the tank.

Can I test my water for H2S myself to see whats it's like in various places? Storage tanks, shower, right out of the well...

Interesting about the spray bar for aerating the tanks. I was reading about misters that aerate the well, but I don't see how well that would work since my underground pump isn't running that often. Unless I let the houses jet pump run the nozzle (but my small pressure tank and CSV might be an issue there) Seems like that would make my jet pump run all the time. unless just aerating as the house is using water would be enough.

EDIT: I found an interesting article on this topic. I'm thinking air bubblers would be ideal for my storage tanks. https://drinking-water.extension.org/drinking-water-treatment-aeration/
 
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s10010001

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Heres a good article for smelly water. I've used hydrogen peroxide with good results.
https://www.cleanwaterstore.com/resource/how-to-guides/how-to-eliminate-water-heater-odors/

I actually read that before. I tried peroxide, it worked for a few showers tops. I think the issue is the new water coming in has the same problem so it just comes back fast.


I'm starting to read up on aeration, it looks like I can come up with something for my water storage tank that might be sorta effective, but I also see there is post-treatment options like this: http://www.purewaterproducts.com/products/am001

thoughts? I know it's pricy, but at this point, I was mentally ready to drop $1000 on a non-metallic water heater lol, and that doesn't sound like it would have helped since it's in the water coming in. not my tank producing it.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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I did remove the original Anode rod, it was decaying bad in just a few months. I then tried a Zink rod with no luck with the smell, now I am currently using a powered rod. So that tells me the smell is not the rod decaying right? I have pulled and inspected the powered rod and it looks brand new still.

With no rod, isn't that going to significantly shorten the life of the tank? It's in the attic so I really don't want a major leak haha.


Really has me leaning on the non-metallic water heater.



Being on a well with low water pressure it is no big deal to go without a rod.
.... no one really knows how long a water heater will
last on a well system.... I have seen them last decades or more without a rod in them......

you can attempt anything you wish, but for the moment just take the rod out and see if the
smell goes away .... if it does go away then you know ....
Then wait about a month then decide what to do ......

You can always throw a aluinimum rod into the unit and see if it works
but I have done this before to no avail... it still stunk after a few weeks...

Odds are you will just forget about it and live happily ever after....
 

s10010001

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Being on a well with low water pressure it is no big deal to go without a rod.
.... no one really knows how long a water heater will
last on a well system.... I have seen them last decades or more without a rod in them......

you can attempt anything you wish, but for the moment just take the rod out and see if the
smell goes away .... if it does go away then you know ....
Then wait about a month then decide what to do ......

You can always throw a aluinimum rod into the unit and see if it works
but I have done this before to no avail... it still stunk after a few weeks...

Odds are you will just forget about it and live happily ever after....

I dont actually have a rod in my water heater now, I haven't for some time. I have an electric rod, so there is no corroding of the sacrificial rod. I am still getting smells every shower. I'm doing more reading, and I am thinking I need to get my water testing to find out the levels of Iron, sulfur, and mag to figure out what kind of while house iron/sulfur filter I need to install.

any tips from there? I think this issue is with my source more than the hot water heater. It's worth noting that my cold water is not terribly good to drink either. It's clear, and doesn't skink but it doesn't taste good. We use RO to drink.
 

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I am thinking I need to get my water testing to find out the levels of Iron, sulfur, and mag to figure out what kind of while house iron/sulfur filter I need to install.

any tips from there?
National Labs WaterCheck is the lab most recommended in the Water Softener (water treatment) forum. The Standard well test will be sufficient.

http://watercheck.myshopify.com/?aff=5
 

water pro

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Hey all, I have been troubleshooting a rotten egg smell in my hot water for a while now. The smell kinda comes in bursts. It seems like we can shower for ~5mins or so and it's just fine, feels, and smells clean. Then the puffs of rotten egg smell start coming. If someone takes a shower right after another person the smells start up right away.

My water setup:
Well Pump > Screen filter > Storage tanks (2x 550) > Jet Pump > CSV+Small presure tank > Screen filter > Sedimate filter > Carbonb filter > Salt based softener > House


So, I started by replacing the water heater 9 months ago. The old unit would barely drain there was so much buildup in the tank. I don't remember if the old tank was getting the rotten egg smell, but the hot water was nasty, discolored, bad pressure, and had all kinds of smells. The new tank fixed the color, other smells, and pressure. I bleached the hotlines too when I did the tank.

Now the new tank only has this rotten egg smell. My Water storage tanks don't stink, my cold water doesn't stink. I just got done chlorine shocking my well and entire house for 48 hours. I flushed as much as I could, the water seems nice and clean now. The storage tanks look great. (they're only a few months old too) the old one was cracked.


So? any ideas? Here is the water heater. I have tried a Zink/alum anode rod, that didn't help and there is currently a Corroprotec electric rod in there, again not helping at all. I also installed a big ball valve for easy flushing. The 3" pipe is galvanized, that wouldn't be creating the egg smell, would it? we are considering trying out of non-metallic hot water heater. HD had a 50gal Marathon on sale for $1000 right now, but id rather not since the current unit is pretty new.
I serviced a customer that did facial reconstructive surgery. they were on municipal supply and a commercial softener installed. the complaint was that their autoclave kept clogging up and needed frequent cleaning. I tested the water, it was perfectly soft but had almost 3 parts Fe after treatment. the water had no iron pretreatment. I concluded that 4 (or maybe 5, I forget) galvanized elbows installed after treatment were the entire source of the iron. I'd recommend removing that fitting completely
 
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s10010001

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I serviced a customer that did facial reconstructive surgery. they were on municipal supply and a commercial softener installed. the complaint was that their autoclave kept clogging up and needed frequent cleaning. I tested the water, it was perfectly soft but had almost 3 parts Fe after treatment. the water had no iron pretreatment. I concluded that 4 (or maybe 5, I forget) galvanized elbows installed after treatment were the entire source of the iron. I'd recommend removing that fitting completely

ugh.. ok, im on it! I actually did order one of those 4" pipes with the PEX inside of it. I will stick it in when it shows up.
 

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I did sanitize the whole house. I first drained the water heater completely. Then dropped in bleach via the cold water input port. Then filled water heater.I then put bleach in my carbon filter housing and ran the water (hot and cold) at all faucets until I smelled strong bleach. (it was foaming too)

I left that soak for 6 hours or so, then rinsed it.

Also, my water storage tanks have bleach in them from the Well shock. ran the well into my yard until most of the bleach smell was gone then let it fill the tanks. It's a lower yield well so it's still working on filling the tanks back up.
another way to sanitize your lines and water heater is to put the softener in brine draw, then disconnect the brine line from the salt tank float (being careful not to drop the nut or ferrel), then place the brine line in a gallon of chlorine and run all cold faucets and one hot faucet for a few minutes, then reattach the brine line and place the unit into backwash. wear safety glasses when working with chlorine.
 

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another way to sanitize your lines and water heater is to put the softener in brine draw, then disconnect the brine line from the salt tank float (being careful not to drop the nut or ferrel), then place the brine line in a gallon of chlorine and run all cold faucets and one hot faucet for a few minutes, then reattach the brine line and place the unit into backwash. wear safety glasses when working with chlorine.
Nooo, don't do that!

1) Chlorine is damaging to softener resin either in high strength or in a weak strength but over long term contact with the resin. Although using chlorine to sanitize a new softener installation is recommended, the amount of chlorine should be only a few measured ounces which would be then weakened by diluting into a gallon of water added to the brine tank before being drawn into the resin.

2) Chlorine (or salt) drawn into the resin bed will not flow to faucets downstream as most modern softeners will automatically bypass flow while regeneration is occurring. While bypassed, the only liquid flowing to faucets will be the hard water that enters the softener which then directly exits the softener's outlet connection.
 

water pro

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Nooo, don't do that!

1) Chlorine is damaging to softener resin either in high strength or in a weak strength but over long term contact with the resin. Although using chlorine to sanitize a new softener installation is recommended, the amount of chlorine should be only a few measured ounces which would be then weakened by diluting into a gallon of water added to the brine tank before being drawn into the resin.

2) Chlorine (or salt) drawn into the resin bed will not flow to faucets downstream as most modern softeners will automatically bypass flow while regeneration is occurring. While bypassed, the only liquid flowing to faucets will be the hard water that enters the softener which then directly exits the softener's outlet connection.
I don't agree. most water softener do not by-pass while regenerating. that is why they regen at 2am. dual tanks do by-pass, but single tank systems do not. I've done it a LOT. the chlorine does in fact does get pushed through the plumbing system. Any damage to the resin is minimal because the chlorine is pushed out directly after by backwashing. I've literally done it hundreds of times with (from my experience) no long term harm to the resin. By comparison "C" uses a Cl generator which adds 2 minutes of chlorine during every brine draw with (to my knowledge) no adverse effects.
 

Reach4

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I don't agree. most water softener do no by-pass while regenerating. that is why the regen at 2am. dual tanks bypass, but not most single tank systems.
First sentence is incorrect. You said that second sentence backwards.
I've literally done it hundreds of times with (from my experience) no long term harm to the resin. By comparison "C" uses a Cl generator which adds 2 minutes of chlorine during every brine draw with (to my knowledge) no adverse effects.
That would be for an iron/H2S filter, right? -- not a softener.

If it were for a softener, that would be only during the brining, and would get washed out. It would also be at a much lower Cl concentration than a gallon of chlorine bleach. I can go with the short time of your proposal, but I agree with the Bannerman: to simply suck from the bleach bottle during a complete BD cycle doesn't get the bleach to the WH etc. The slow rinse would rinse the bleach out. I could see interrupting the cycle when the bleach has been sucked, and skip to the in-service condition to let the bolus of bleach come out of the softener. But for the worry about damaging the resin, filling a cartridge filter sump while the softener is in bypass with the bypass valve seems a lot better.

My method would be to incorporate the plumbing sanitizing into the well sanitizing process, if you have a well.
 
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