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new hybrid hot water system problem

jabrooks
jabrooks Member Posts: 9
started noticing bad smell from hot water after geo thermal heat and hybrid hot water tank install. water tested - high heterotrophic plate count. flushed system, worked for a while. water heater failed (less than 1 year old). replaced. Problem returned. Installer has no idea why. Had plumber in, they installed uv filter (after the water softener/filter system we already had) and that has made no difference. manual for the water heater says keep it at 140 or you will have "stinky water" - (direct quote). it is at 140 and now all i can say is we have very hot and very stinky water. I don't think it's safe from a bacteria, safety or general health issue. all everyone keeps saying is it's probably contamination of the well. we have filters enough to make this holy water - very frustrated . very expensive water heating system but am ready to throw it all away and start over. Any suggestions?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,123
    It's probably not the water heater itself -- though that may not be helping. It probably is the well water itself.

    Therefore, the first thing to do is to test the well water. If you have, or have had, a bacteria problem in the well, that is very serious. Unfortunately, it also tends to vary with groundwater conditions, so may not show up all the time.

    And, of course, it shouldn't be there at all;. A properly constructed well, even in a somewhat doubtful location, should not have any bacteria at all (though the water may well have an odour -- usually rotten eggs, indicating hydrogen sulphide -- but not always -- which will almost always be more noticeable in hot water than in cold). If it does is chronic, the problem is either the siting or construction of the well.

    I suggest that you get the well water tested, both after it has been left undisturbed for at least a few hours and also after it has been pumped at near capacity, again for at least a few hours. In many areas the local health authority will do at least the minimal testing -- bacteria, iron, total dissolved solids, hardness, etc. -- for a minimal fee or sometimes no charge. This should be repeated both in dry conditions and in high ground water conditions and after a significant rain storm.

    Some conditions -- hydgoen sulphide, high hardness, iron, mangaese, etc. -- can be remedied by various treatment schemes which, however, must be tailored to the problem.

    Simple filtration ;will not remedy any of the problems, however, and in the case of bacterial contamination may make them worse (the worst bacterial contamination of water I ever hit was in a building with activated carbon filtration). UV light will kill bacteria and virus, but it must be on the raw water, it must be sized correctly for the flow -- and it must be regularly maintained. Chlorination will also kill bacteria and virus, if there is adequate contact time (15 minutes) and will also reduce or eliminate a number of other odour causing problems.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,052
    Is there an anode ride in the tank? That is a common cause of DHW stink
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    kcopp
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,291
    Hi, When you drain a little water from the bottom of the tank, is it grey or black? Smelly? If so, I’d see if you can put a powered anode in to replace the existing one.
    Yours, Larry
  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    thank you all for your suggestions. have been in home for 15 years - only problem was high managanese which has successfully been fixed with filtration system(2013). the smell and black water(coming out of tank etc when system flushed) only started after geo thermal heat system and hybrid water tank. no anode rod on this system and do think this is the problem. will void warranty on system if we put one in . seems like the only way to go. the filters are on the cold water side before the hot water tank. water was tested and high counts were taken from faucets and can only assume there was cross contamination , will try to get sample before it goes into the inside water system. Water was tested in 2020 and this high heterotrophic plate count was738 - way over accepted limits. UV filter was just installed this past fall, all of my jewlery, silverware and now cooking utensils are changing color. I have read other comments about the water heater - sounds like the company has stopped producing them because of the problems. Just feel like no one could help. Again, i appreciate all your suggestions.
  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    correction - there is(a) an anode rod - we wanted to replace it with an electric one but it would void the warranty on the heater
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,825
    I agree w/ @Larry Weingarten on the electric anode... Some magnesium Rods will react w/ the water. You can substitute w/ an aluminum one. another solution is to drain down the tank, flush out any residue and then add a cup of bleach or hydrogen peroxide to shock it. That will help. Whos tank is this?

  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    thank you for your time and suggestions. We have done the drain/flush/bleach and it works for maybe a couple of weeks, not a long term solution. It is a state hybrid water heater. The company was not very forthcoming with any type of assistance with us as a consumer or with the company that installed the original and the replacement. I have been reading and following comments regarding this type of water heater and it doesn't sound promising. read one place that the company has ceased production. don't know if this is true but it wouldn't surprise me. they seem to fail on a regular basis and the repair cost is prohibitive. When we have a final decision i will post it for any who are interested. right now i am going to have the water from the relevant sources tested again. Thank you all
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,990
    edited May 4
    so it is just a steel tank electric water heater with a heat pump kludged on?
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,137
    You have repeatedly mentioned your geothermal (ground source I assume) heating system in this thread. Do you think there is some connection there? Is it closed loop or open loop out of curiosity?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,825
    edited May 5
    Im dealing w/ the same set up now.
    State still makes this unit. It is your water reacting w/ the anode rods..
    Best option here is to replace the anode rods,(they do make one for this issue) drain and flush all the old remnants of the magnesium anode rods (typically there are 2) Draining and flushing may take a few times.
    Then fill and add a cup of bleach.
  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    the geo thermal heat system is separate from the hybrid water heater. the system it replaced was hot water and heat in a single unit. i don't think the geo system is the problem, the water heater is. we will replace the anode rods and do a total system flush. it has been a nightmare - no one (except people here) are willing to acknowledge that the water heater is the problem. if this doesn't work then i am going to hire a plumber to put in an electric one and throw this other one out. maybe then i can start wearing my jewelry again, buy new silverware and use the brass cookware . thank you all
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,990
    The electric one, unless it is a plastic or anodeless stainless tank, will have the same problem. Use the powered anode. I'm not sure i see why it would void the warranty, but the tank should last far longer than it would with the electrochemical anodes and it is less of a cost than replacing the tank.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,137
    If you do throw out the hybrid, which would be a shame, you can try the Rheem Marathon which is a highly efficient (insulated) traditional electric unit with a plastic tank that should last forever.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,825
    mattmia2 said:

    The electric one, unless it is a plastic or anodeless stainless tank, will have the same problem. Use the powered anode. I'm not sure i see why it would void the warranty, but the tank should last far longer than it would with the electrochemical anodes and it is less of a cost than replacing the tank.

    I agree that it is a good option But it will "void" the warranty as it is not approved by the Manufacturer. Having said that they may never know if they were swapped out unless the owner says something....
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,990
    I'm not sure that is the case. I think you can use aftermarket replacement parts without voiding the warranty and the warranty didn't seem to say that proper installation and maintenance would void the warranty. I believe there is case law that says the part has to have been the cause of the failure.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,291
    Hi, There is a special anode called the KA-90, which is aluminum with a little zinc. It's made for odor problems, but doesn't work as well as a powered anode in my experience. As a powered rod can throw current better than a sacrificial rod, I doubt warranty from tank corrosion will ever be a problem. Also, I like to use hydrogen peroxide to treat for odor. It's quick, non-toxic, and doesn't need to be rinsed out. Just two cents. ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,825
    Yes, the State part for this is.... 42" 3/4" Diameter Anode Rod For Smelly Water
    STA100108571
  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    We have contacted the installer of the whole geo system and stated where we are and miracle of miracles they have now decided that the electric anode will not void the warranty . will update on the "smell" situation in a couple of weeks. You all have really helped us (and i am sure many others) so thank you for being so willing and able to share your experience and experiences.
    Judy

  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    update to the "stinky water". The installer has replaced the rod and has also admitted they are replacing rods in all of these tanks that they installed. not very impressed with how difficult they have made it to get this rod replaced and to even admit that there is a problem. I guess the end will tell all. in a couple of days we should have our answer about the smell.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 478
    In all fairness, water chemistry is a complicated issue. Sometimes the issues are difficult to diagnose and remedy. It sounds like you have a lot of variables that are affecting the situation. Individual water supplies at a given location can be problematic. No one has mentioned iron and/or sulfur reducing bacteria. These are bacteria that FEED on iron and/or elemental sulfur in the water supply.
    ethicalpaul
  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    we did have water tested before this install ( a couple of years ago) and after this problem started. most tests were similar in results except for the manganese(which was the problem with staining of our dishes) and the heterotrophic plate count(which was off the charts). We have been here for long enough that it was obvious the problem was the water heater. the farther we got into this heater the more convinced we were that the problem was not our water but what the water heater was doing to the water. we do have variables but we also have an obvious change and that is why we hope to have corrected it
  • jabrooks
    jabrooks Member Posts: 9
    final update - our water is better and this new rod seems to have done the trick. the installer did confirm that they have replaced the rods in almost all of the heaters they have installed.( a fact they refused to acknowledge when we first approached them with the problem). Just glad to have found a resolution, and again thanks to all of you for sharing your knowledge.'
    Judy Brooks
    ratio