Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Also known as Jean
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this topic has been discussed before, but I thought I'd bring it up again.

We have been fighting stinky hot water for nearly a year. It is just plain gross. We replaced the rod thingy with no effect. We raised the temperature with no effect. We got a water softener and for about a day the smell was gone. Then it came back.

DH has been meaning to pour bleach or peroxide in the tank for some time, but finally got sick of me and DD15 complaining about the smell. He called a plumber friend and got instructions on how to do it. He used peroxide on our tank yesterday, and knock on wood it is odor free. The plumber said it would have to be done again in a month or two, which is fine by us. I just hope it lasts that long!

But what the plumber friend told him was very interesting. He said that he had TONS of calls about this very problem in recent months and wonders just what is going on. Certainly we never had the problem for 17+ years in the same house with the same well. The water heater is about 4 years old.

My theory is this. The weather guys say this is the 4th wettest year on record so I'm wondering if the water table hasn't been "contaminated" with whatever iron bacteria cause the stink. And if this is the case, will a period of drier weather alleviate the problem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,074 Posts
Have you had your water checked for contamination?
Might not be just iron.
We had to have ours checked after 2-100 year floods in 10 months.

I guessing that it's the iron that caused the smell, mine does this unless we use it a lot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,153 Posts
....My theory is this. The weather guys say this is the 4th wettest year on record so I'm wondering if the water table hasn't been "contaminated" with whatever iron bacteria cause the stink. And if this is the case, will a period of drier weather alleviate the problem?
Almost all groundwater contains iron bacteria, they are naturally-occuring and not a result of "contamination." Since this problem is in your hot water system, I believe it is due to another type of natural bacteria that live in groundwater....sulfur bacteria.

When was the last time you disinfected ("shocked") your well and plumbing system? If it has been more than a couple of years, I suggest that you do it and see if that doesn't get rid of your hot water odor problem.

If you want to learn more about your problem and its solution go to this webpage sponsored by the Minnesota Dept. of Health: Hydrogen Sulfide and Hot Water Heaters

How to shock a well and plumbing system --> Well Disinfection
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,743 Posts
We have the same problem with the "stink rod". My dad is really sensitive to smells, so we are just going to replace the whole thing with a Marathon water heater that doesn't use the anode. It's pricey ($700 for a 40 gallon tank), but my dad literally gags and nearly throws up every time the hot water comes on. :rolleyes:

http://www.marathonheaters.com/consumers.html
 

·
Also known as Jean
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks CabinFever for the information on shocking the well and plumbing. This has not been done at all since we've lived here --- as I said in my initial post its going on 17 1/2 years. I'll print this out and give it to DH.

BTW what is the difference between the sulfur bacteria and the iron bacteria?

And Madness I can totally sympathize with your dad. It DOES stink to high heaven. I never felt very clean after a shower with that water. And if I happened to already be in bed after DD had her shower, the smell wafted up the stairs into our bedroom. I had to slather myself in scented lotion to overpower the smell.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
We had the same problem about two years after we built this house. The water smelled like, like, rotten..., like some kind of spoiled egg, vomit, dead fish smell. It was overpoweringly gross. It seemed to be mostly in the hot water and not the cold.

From what we learned it has to do with an anaerobic bacteria that was in our well water and a chemical reaction to the lining and heater rod in the hot water heater.

My husband did the bleach thing in the heater and ran it through all the faucets in the house and it's been almost two years with no more problems. If that doesn't solve it we can get a different heater rod made from some other metal besides zinc ( I think it's the zinc that causes the reaction) but it's expensive $185 or higher.

I would pay it though because the smell isn't something anyone could live with for very long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
47 Posts
I lived in Florida for about 2 years and the water there was terrible. Rotton egg smell in the hot and cold. Shower and tub had a yellow film after you bathed. Everyone said it was the sulfer content of thewater there. We carried water to drink and cook with everyone said nothing could be done to help.
 

·
Also known as Jean
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It was overpoweringly gross......the smell isn't something anyone could live with for very long.
Boy oh boy, that says it all! I'm glad to hear that you haven't had any problems for 2 years (!!!!!WOW!!!!!). I hope (fingers crossed) we are that lucky.
 

·
stranger than fiction
Joined
·
3,093 Posts
I posted a thread on that a while back! We had the same problem as you! Rotten water smell, strong enough to make you gag.

We replaced the rod (which was badly corroded), but it still didn't have an effect. We had previously shocked the well......twice! NO effect. What I finally did was go out and buy a water softener with an iron filter attachment. The smell was gone!

I know that's probably a little more costly route (our system cost just under $2,000) but it was well worth it, and the bonus of course is that the taps don't get that discolouration around them, and our dishes/silverware come out nice and clean (none of that white staining junk). I was sure that my glassware was ruined after a few years of washing with well water (they were all cloudy and no amount of scrubbing would clear them). I ran them through the dishwasher twice with the softener on and they were sparkling!

Something to think about if you were planning on a softener anyhow. They are well worth it! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
We had the smelly hot water also, the plumbing supply said replace the rod but the new one was pretty expensive so he said we could just leave it out the smell did clear up.

Glenn
 

·
Also known as Jean
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dixy --- we JUST purchased a new softener and the smell was gone for a day or so but came back. This softener is supposed to take out a lot of the iron, but I don't think it has a special attachment for that purpose.

Knock on wood, all was still well this morning when I had my shower. The Peroxide treatment may have done the trick for a while anyway.

What I think is interesting is the plumber said he has had a huge increase in calls about this very thing.
 

·
stranger than fiction
Joined
·
3,093 Posts
Not sure what kind you have, but our system consists of two canisters.....one is the actual softener (where you put the salt) and another "softener gadget" (LOL Now there's some techno jargon for ya!) and there is a separate iron filter beside it.....it's a white canister covered with some sort of resin (?) casing and weighs a TON!;) Maybe what you have is something different?

I just recalled something else the plumber told us......sometimes the pipes get so full of slime, etc, that more than one purging of the well and pipes are needed. He said shock the well, run the water til you smell bleach in the pipes, then sit for the day if you can. R-do this the next day. He said that will help kill off any bacteria/slime that has built up in the pipes.
 

·
Also known as Jean
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
how do y'all put peroxide in the water heater? is it h2 - 02??
I did not actually do it, my husband did, but I can tell you how he described it to me. And this is the process the plumber friend suggested he follow. (Disclaimer: You should check with someone besides me on the process. I'd hate to steer you in the wrong direction and have someone get hurt!)

First let the tank cool as much as possible without turning it off. That's sort of tricky, but what DH did was to wait until the kids and I had had our showers and left the house and a couple of hours later began working on the tank. There is a faucet like valve on the side of the tank near the bottom which is used to drain off the water in the tank. I'm guessing you should also shut off the inflow of water to the tank at this point. After the waiting period for it to cool down, drain off most of the water. I think he also opened hot water faucets in the bathroom and kitchen at this point. He let the water from the tank go on the floor in the basement, and the sump pump sent it outside. When most of the water has drained out, carefully remove the valve. Using a funnel, pour a full bottle of hydrogen peroxide into the tank. Replace the valve. Close the open water faucets in the kitchen and bath. Let the water back into the tank and let it sit for as long as possible.

So far so good with our tank. We have had no more smell since we did this procedure. I hope it lasts a while, but even if it doesn't the peroxide treatment was relatively easy and could be repeated.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top