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Sulphur smell!?

Al_19 Member Posts: 170
If the odor is ONLY in the HOT water, then you probably have a tank type water heater with a magnesium anode rod. You would need to replace the magnesium rod with an aluminum/zinc rod, and disinfect the tank and hot water piping with hydrogen peroxide.

If the odor is in both the cold and hot water, then it needs to be adressed from the well.


  • adambuild
    adambuild Member Posts: 414

    We have a client in Jermyn, PA that we just finished a vacation home for and they say that when they use the hot water, there's a terrible sulphur smell!? The home's water is from a well. Being from North Jersey where all the homes we do are on city water, I'm a little stumped. Any explanations? Any solutions?

    Thanks in advance, Adam
  • adambuild
    adambuild Member Posts: 414

    The house, water heater and plumbing are brand spanking new. Why would a magnesium rod cause the smell?
  • Couderay
    Couderay Member Posts: 314
    Fowl smell and taste

    Doesn't matter at least in my duplex changed water heaters and less than 3 months had to get rid of the rods and went with the aluminum/zinc style. Back to normal in less than a week.
  • Glenn Sossin_2
    Glenn Sossin_2 Member Posts: 592
    Divibrio Sulfurcans ??

    See attachments
  • Rich Kontny_5
    Rich Kontny_5 Member Posts: 116

    with the territory in the Northshore area of Milwaukee, we have encountered this problem numerous times.Unfortunately the last one was not completely solved using your technique(s) Glenn.

    It starts with the source water and is amplified by the warming of the water. Makes sense that water expands when heated so the sulphur smell would be more evident after the heat process.

    Seems to me that Glenn Schlueter (State of Wisconsin Water Specialist) addressed this problem at one of his informative seminars. I will research his and see if something can be done with the source water prior to household use.

    R. Kontny

    Make Peace our Passion while supporting our Troops!
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • martin
    martin Member Posts: 144
    Nothing like a good rotten egg

    In NE Indiana if its in the country the rod comes out, if the city no. Yes it voids the warr, but the mfgs. know it happens and dont ask for the tank back. My wholesaler just started to stock heaters with alum. rods so no longer necessary.
  • Rich Kontny_3
    Rich Kontny_3 Member Posts: 562
    Rotten Egg Smell

    Finally had a minute to research the rotten egg smell with "The State of Wisconsin, DNR website"

    If you go to that site and look up private water wells you will find a section on different water contaminants.There you will find a 4 page pamphlet (that is printable) that explains the problem and gives solutions.

    As posted it starts with sulfur bacteria that is a very common element in nature, it occurs naturally in some aquifers.Sometimes it is caused by the well drilling techniques and this is a likely suspect in this case.

    Whether it is naturally occuring or part of the well drilling process makes little difference as far as solving this problem goes.Shock chlorination of the well with chlorine can treat the well but should be done with proper care and techniques.

    As far as the water heater goes you don't necessarily have to remove the anode. Especially with a new home! Instead make sure your heater has a properly sized and maintained relief valve and then increase your water temperature to a temporary setting of 160 dergrees for about 8 hours. This temp. will kill off the SRBs. Remember to warn users of the higher temp and make sure you turn it back down to the safe levels after the treatment!!!

    I can e-mail this to interested parties or they can look up the site.

    Rich K.

    Make Peace Our Passion while Supporting our Troops!
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