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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy Hot water heater sulfur smell

    I replaced our gas water heater with an electric one, now we have a sulfur smell. The cold water is ok. Has any one have an idea why? HELP!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    How long from the swap until the odor appeared?

    How old was the electric heater?

    Might seem like odd questions, but this type of odor is frequently caused by a colony of sulfur-reducing bacteria inside the water heater.......when the odor is not present on the cold water supply. The environment inside the heater is favorable to the growth of these bacteria. If this is the case, then you should try either removing the anode rod in the new heater altogether or replace its stock magnesium rod with an aluminum rod. The latter would be preferable and usually works to eliminate the odor while still serving as a sacrificial anode to preserve the lifespan of the heater.

    Since anode rods don't last forever, it may be that the original rod in the electric heater was long gone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    The water heater is new and the smell started about 2 weeks after. This is at our cabin and the the water is not used every day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    Then I suspect what I described is the cause......if there is no apparent odor on the cold water. It takes about two weeks or more for that sulfur-reducing bacteria to set up shop in the water heater.

    If/when you remove or change out the anode rod, make sure you competely drain and refill the WH. (Turn off the power to the WH during the procedure, of course.) Hopefully, when you refill the heater, the odor will be gone and won't return.

    If you really want to do it up right......turn off the water supply to the WH, drain a couple gallons from the tank, remove the anode rod and then pour a couple ounces of household bleach into the heater before you install the new aluminum rod. Leave things alone for a couple hours or more. Then completely drain the tank and refill. (Have a hot water faucet open somewhere so that the WH fills completely.) Turn power back on to heat the fresh tank of water.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    Thanks, I will try it this weekend.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    It worked!!!!
    Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    Good deal.

    Now let's hope it doesn't return.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hot water heater sulfur smell

    I'm having the same problem - glad to find this post. Hopefully we'll resolve our problem easily!

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