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Stinky water

I am primarily a solar installer, and have finally run into a true stinky water situation. 

the system has a 75 gal bradford white internal coil tank, double wall HX.   The customer reported stinky water when the system was installed, and he pulled the anode rod and I never heard from him again.  a year later he called with a couple of questions, and I found out that he's had to shock the tank with chlorine tablets a half a dozen times in the year the system has been in.  Primarily after he's been gone for a few days.

the system consistently gets over 140F (today on a cloudy day it's at 130 from yesterday)

does anyone have any suggestions on either an anode rod chemistry that may help this, or any other suggestions, I will appreciate them.




  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,843
    Odors.... We don't need no stinkin' odors!!!

    FWIW, my system up in the mountains doesn't even have a tank or an anode, and it too stinks. It stunk worse when I did have a tank and anode.

    Am going to do a chlorine shock this weekend to put this stuff at bay.

    Also, the schmutzy schmell USE to be limited to the DHW side of the system, but since I have replaced all the copper lines with PEX lines, I now have it in both the cold and hot water lines...

    Lines use to be copper. Makes one wonder if all this plastic is such a good idea eh....

    Here is a link to a Wisconsin DNR document.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Karl_NorthwindKarl_Northwind Member Posts: 139
    stink stank stunk

    This place has all copper, but is in cranberry country (read: in the middle of the bogs) and has who knows what in the water, including a big honkin water treatment system. My plumber has never seen anything like it.

    I wouldn't drink the water there.   the solar tank gets routinely to 160, and he's shocked the system a few times, but I wonder if the bacteria is in the well water, and just finds a quick place to flourish.    We put in an aluminum/zinc anode at the first complaint, but then they just removed it.

    I'll be over that way this weekend and may stop in. 


  • Joseph_4Joseph_4 Member Posts: 198
    if its well water change anode rod to zinc or aluminum

    Hi, I live on NYC/Long Island border. I just had a customer who I installed an oil fired water heater about 14 months ago, call me up and tell me for about 5 months now his water smells on and off like rotton eggs. I've never had this complaint before. checked with my plumbing supplier and he told me very occasionally he hears of this problem. I  read in the water heater handbook   (bought on this site) that all anode rods are generally made from magnesium. If your locale water source is well water, the magesium anode rod can cause the bad odor. changing it to zinc anode rod is number one in helping solve problem, aluminum anode would also help. handbook also has cleaning procedure with hyrodgen peroxide.

    Hope this helps you a little

  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    Its Sulphur.

    At a water treatment class recently, we had a discussion about the effects of heating domestic water that is high in sulphur content.

    I will try and dig out my notes and post the relevant discussion points.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,819
    a fix

    Hello:  I've had good luck with odor using powered anodes.  For whatever reason, they work well to get rid of odor from the hot side of things.  Not to place an ad, but Water Heater Rescue is the main place I know for info and parts to deal with this.

    Yours,  Larry
  • Karl_NorthwindKarl_Northwind Member Posts: 139

    Never heard of a powered anode for a water heater.  I did work on a powered corrosion protection system in waaaaaaayyyyyyyy northern Quebec once.  Powered by a 20KW Jacobs wind generator.  one of very few of those that charge batteries, not the grid.

    I believe that system was running 24VDC at 200A 24/7. with a diesel backup generator.

    It was at the port Facility at St. Augustine QC.  about 5 miles East into the estuary if you want to google earth it, you can see the shadow of the wind turbine on the snow. 

    I'll look into the ittie bittie ones.  


  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,819

    Hello:  My house is off grid and uses 24 VDC, but has only .63 KW.  So I don't get too far off topic, the house is heated with hot water.  :~)

    Yours,  Larry
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