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Causes and Solutions of Rotten Egg Odor in Hot Water System

by Guest Post on Oct 15, 2011

The hot water system emerges as a savior in chilling winters. But what if the hot water starts sticking? This is not a rare case. Often users start getting a supply of smelly water, which is most of the time similar to a rotten egg. Moreover, things become more critical when none of the solutions work that can control this. Surely it is vexing.

The most common reason for such smell in water is anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria are found in some water that readily reacts with the aluminum and magnesium sacrificial anodes which are used in most water heaters to bring forth hydrogen sulfide gas. This leads to the smell of classic rotten eggs in hot water. This issue is very common in well systems water supply, both in private and municipal.

What you should avoid

Often plumbers and handymen advise removing the sacrificial anodes from the hot water system to resolve the problem of smelly water. Initially, this might solve the problem, but may raise another trouble in long run, i.e. rusting. You may find your heating device rusting out in record time, voiding the set warranty.

Furthermore, people also commit the mistake of replacing a magnesium anode with an aluminum one. This doesn't solve the problem but rather produces rotten eggs that smell just like magnesium.

Controlling stinking hot water

Until you completely get rid of it you can try out this simple and short-term solution. Clean up your hot water system with hydrogen peroxide. For this, shut down the cold water valve that supplies water into the heater and drain out some water from the tank. Now, open the tank from one side and dump in a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Replace everything as early, let the cold water get in again, and allow water running from all the taps. This will wash out the existing bacteria and will probably provide odor-free water until you allow the water to stay in the heater for longer.

Fixing the stinking hot water system

If you want a complete solution, replacing the standard magnesium or aluminum anode rod with an aluminum/zinc alloy anode is the right idea to implement. Here, zinc is the key ingredient that resolves the problem, because as said above aluminum is ineffective. Additionally, aluminum/zinc anodes are the cheapest alternative for this issue. This will not only solve your problem but also ensure that you don't get troubled in near future.

Here are some issues highlighted about Hot Water Systems and ways to control it in this article. It's posted by me John K. Taylor for Stiebel Eltron. Stiebel Eltron is one of the globally recognized manufacturers of water heating systems in Australia whose head office is in Holzminden, Germany. They provide Water Filters and many energy-saving heating products worldwide.

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