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Rotten egg smell

RayH
RayH Member Posts: 79
I have city water in Florida the smells with hydrogen sulfide that seems to be coming mostly from the hot water side. I installed a Big Blue with a 20" coconut carbon filter cartridge. I also replaced the anode rod with one the manufacturer called a "stinky water anode rod." The city water has a lot of chlorine already in the water but I thought about taking the rod back out and adding a lot of bleach? I also heard about an electric anode rod? Any thoughts about getting rid of the smell?

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,550
    Hi @RayH , Go with the electric, or powered anode. The sacrificial rod that's sold for odor only works under "light" conditions. It's an aluminum rod with some zinc in it. Powered anodes don't seem to generate hydrogen gas, which the sulfate reducing, anaerobic bacteria that cause odor like so much. This way, you still get tank protection without odor.

    A test you can do is to remove and plug the anode port for a few days to see if the odor goes away. If it does, you know the anode is part of the problem. One more thing I do is never chlorinate the tank, but rather use two pints of drug store hydrogen peroxide per 40 gallons of tank size. This adds oxygen to the water, getting rid of the bacteria in a way that's non-toxic to you. Also it doesn't need flushing out.

    Yours, Larry
    MikeL_2mattmia2RayHkcopp
  • RayH
    RayH Member Posts: 79
    Larry, I just ordered one. You made my wife 😊.  I owe you one. 
    rick in Alaska
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,550
    Hi, Happiness is good! I'll add that it's a good idea to trust, but verify that the powered anode is really working. Most come with a little light that lets you know. ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • RayH
    RayH Member Posts: 79
    I tried the electric anode rod and 4 bottles of hydrogen peroxide with no luck 😛. I still have the hydrogen sulfide smell only on the hot side?  Previously, I had a zinc anode rod.There's a  Big Blue with a coconut carbon filter which I'm thinking of replacing with a sediment filter. A water test shows PH - 7 and no iron. But after 3 months when I change the filter it's very orange? I have city water in Florida and everyone has softeners. I'm not sure if getting one will solve my problem?
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,550
    Hi, This is no fun! Is the filter just on the hot side, or cold supply to the water heater? If so, try removing the cartridge and just let unfiltered water run through. Filters can be a great breeding ground for bacteria. If you get a water quality report, it should show no more than 250 ppm for sulfate. Did you try that test of removing the anode and putting in a plug? It would be telling. We'll figure this out! B)

    Yours, Larry
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 184
    If I recall, there are different types of iron in water... or how they are incorporated into the iron.
    Maybe the test for iron doesnt test for both type ?

    We have iron (well), and a water softener takes care of it along with our hardness.
    I did have rotten eggs water heater stink for a while, but then I switched the anode to magnesium.
    Never had a smell after that. Your post caused me to go down and look at where I wrote on the heater "Mag anode 2017". Yikes, 5 years.. I better put a new one in this year for sure.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 122

    If I recall, there are different types of iron in water... or how they are incorporated into the iron.
    Maybe the test for iron doesnt test for both type ?

    We have iron (well), and a water softener takes care of it along with our hardness.
    I did have rotten eggs water heater stink for a while, but then I switched the anode to magnesium.
    Never had a smell after that. Your post caused me to go down and look at where I wrote on the heater "Mag anode 2017". Yikes, 5 years.. I better put a new one in this year for sure.

    You may be referring to dissolved iron and particulate iron. Not sure how correct this is scientifically speaking just how I have heard it described, dissolved is whats in the water, particulate is the visible iron (flakes chunks etc).

    @RayH Have you had anyone familiar with iron bacteria take a look at your water? the test we usually do for this is checking the toilet tank for the tell tale slime. We have tons of it and remove it with a "sanitizer" unit sold by water right. Personally I don't ever get the smell of it, but customers often refer to the smell this stuff can give off as "rotten egg" and we always jump to the water heater anode as a general first rule. As to why it might only be in the "hot" side, your water heater is a potential breeding ground for it. Other than that has anyone done an on site hydrogen sulfide test? I don't like to send water in for testing unless its a health hazard (liability reasons) and even then I do my own simple tests first, it's always better done at the source.

    Please don't just put in a random softener. If you have iron bacteria it will make the problem worse, and if you have hydrogen sulfide it won't do anything for it, though you should smell it in your cold water as well if its hydrogen sulfide.
    RayH
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,550
    Hi @RayH , One more test you can do is to put some cold water in a teapot and heat it up. If you can smell the rotten egg odor in the steam, than you know the problem is in the water supply, not just being generated in the water heater. @GGross , your post reminded me of this test. Thanks! No doubt there is some sort of water treatment for hydrogen sulfide.

    Yours, Larry
  • RayH
    RayH Member Posts: 79
    Hi Larry, I took the  coconut carbon filter out and  waiting to see what happens.  I have treated  hydrogen sulfide in the past for well water. It required a large aspiration tank and very expensive.  I have city water and pex tubing. I can eliminate any reaction from copper pipes.  Not sure what removing the anode rod would do?
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,550
    Hi @RayH , Removing a sacrificial anode would stop further generation of hydrogen gas. This gas is food for the anaerobic bacteria. It makes them happy, so they multiply and become a smelly problem. A powered anode should not generate the gas, which is why they are supposed to work for getting rid of odor. Are you pretty sure that your tank had only one sacrificial anode?

    Yours, Larry
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 122
    The current method we are using for hydrogen sulfide is actually not all that expensive. we use these Impression plus air systems from Water Right, I am sure there are other ways out there, but this works well for us. Basically it allows the hydrogen sulfide gas to release from the water in the tank, it then allows the gas to discharge separately from the water. Check out the sanitizer on the top left of the menu as well, they are really nice for getting rid of iron bacteria.
    https://www.water-right.com/filtration/impression-plus/impression-plus-air-systems/
  • RayH
    RayH Member Posts: 79
    Larry ,I have a 50gal AO Smith Hybrid water heater. As far as I know it only has one anode rod 
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,206
    Not sure what model you have. There is a possibility there are 2 but on this particular model (Model HPTU) the 50 Gallon shows only one.
    However I would double check.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    Larry WeingartenRayH
  • RayH
    RayH Member Posts: 79
    I just spoke with A O Smith tech support.  They said that there units with a longer warranty have an extra anode rod to extend the life of the unit.
    I'm wondering if it would help if I use the magnesium rod and the electronic one together?🤔
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,562
    Just remove the second rod. If you have a powered anode it will adequately protect the tank. The second rod is to give it more rod to consume so it protects for a longer period, not to give it more protection while the rods still exists.
    Larry WeingartenRayH