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Thread: Hot Water Smell

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Angry Hot Water Smell

    My hot water smells like a dead rat. Very strong odor. I just replaced my hot water heater and 2 weeks later it smelled as bad as ever. I AM ON CITY WATER and do not have a well. Cold water has no smell. I am at the house every 2 weeks and turn the water heater off when not there to save on electric. After 3 showers it doesn't smell until I return in a couple of weeks. Any help would be appreciated.

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

    Default Re: Hot Water Smell

    Try not turning off the WH while you are gone. A water temp of 140 or better will kill off many types of bacteria while lower temps can/will encourage their growth.

    If this heater has bacteria in it, it is almost certainly a sign that the city isn't chlorinating to a sufficient degree to kill it. Can you smell or taste the chlorine on the cold water?

    Or..... there may be a break/crack in the supply main to your house and the water is getting extra contamination from that.

    If you were complaining of a rotten egg odor that appeared soon after the install of the new heater... then the cause would likely be the type of anode rod in the new heater. But since the old one made smelly water and the new one does too.....I'll stick to my suspicion concerning the fact that you're turning it off. You could wrap the heater with a blanket to help reduce heat loss and costs while you're away....but keep it set at 140F or better.

    Do you know if there is any manganese in the water supply? Any black-ish stains on the sinks, etc?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Hot Water Smell

    Yes there are blackish stains in the toilet bowls. I have checked with my neighbors and no one else seems to have this problem. We put a small water filter on the line just before it goes into the house. The filter was greenish colored within 1 month. The cold water has no smell but we can not bring ourselves to drink it after seeing this filter turn green in just a few weeks. Do you think I should call the water dept. and ask them to come out even tho my neighbors seem to have clean water?

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

    Default Re: Hot Water Smell

    Sounds like you're growing algae in your filter. That'll happen if you have it outside and particularly so if the city isn't chlorinating adequately...or at all. I would suggest you move that filter inside the house and out of the sunlight. Take it apart and clean it thoroughly with some bleach water before remounting it.

    The black staining in toilets (cold water supply only, I presume), etc...leads me to think that you may have some manganese in the supply water. The city water department should be able to tell you that. Manganese can usually be removed via the same procedures that are used to remove iron content, but if the city isn't treating to remove iron cause there isn't any...they may not be removing the manganese either. A water softener can usually/frequently remove the manganese, but as with most things...it depends. The composition of water varies greatly from one cource to the next. For instance, the PH level can effect whether any particular treatment will work without having to introduce other additives to make it effective. (Maybe your neighbors have WSs and you currently don't. ?? )

    Black staining can also be caused by degrading black rubber washers or hoses. For instance, if your WH is connectd via some flexible type connector hoses, those washers could be breaking down and contaminating the supply. Same for washing machine hoses.

    A comprehensive water test might be advisable so you know exactly what you're dealing with.....however, if you simply wish to deal with the smelly water in the WH for the time being...a thought occurred to me; since you're currently turning off the WH while gone and back on when you return....why not just turn it off before you leave AND THEN... let drain it completely. You'll have to wait for it to fill before turning it on again (make sure you open a hot water faucet somewhere so it can fill properly). 40 gallon model would take something like 5-8 minutes ?? to fill... depending. Not a big deal, me thinks. (Again...open a hot water faucet somewhere so the WH can drain faster. No need to stand with it the whole time while it drains. Hook the hose to the WH drain-valve, open that and go on your way.)
    Last edited by goldhiller; 12-01-2008 at 10:27 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Hot Water Smell

    Thank you ****hiler..Since these are the 2 easiest things to try I will not turn off the water heater when I leave and see if this helps. Hopefully it will only up the electric bill a little and I'll know after a month. I'll move the filter inside and out of the sunlight. I should have thought of that but am so upset with the smell that I didn't think of the sun on the filter. If this doesn't help I'll go on to your next suggestions. Appreciate all your help and thoughts....

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