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Smelly Hot Water (Indirect) - HeatFlo/Buderus

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JBoss
JBoss Member Posts: 3
Hi -

I was hoping someone could help me out. We had a brand new Buderus System and HeatFlo (60 gallon) added back in 2020. In December of '21, we replaced our failing well water system (new softener, UV, etc.).

As soon as we replaced the water system, only then did our hot water start to smell. I did call them back (great company) to kind of isolate the issue. The fact that our cold water is fine kind of left me thinking it was something with the hot water tank. I called up HeatFlo and the service rep said that when the biology of the water changes, it could cause a reaction in the tank to produce the smell (which I suppose makes sense).

Now after reading the spec sheet, HeatFlo went to Aluminum from Magnesium back at the tail end of 2020 (go figure). Do you believe with the new water system and the legacy magnesium anode rod, is causing the smell? Our water was tested after install, and all was well with it (pH, softness, sediment, etc.). I'm just trying to isolate the issue and if it is in fact the rod that is the culprit here or a tweaking of our new water system parameters.

The company who installed the system won't even come and service it because we are 'no longer a customer'. And, a lot of folks in the area aren't serving the Buderus line, no techs, etc, - reason why it's been a few months we've gone without inspection.

Thanks for your time.

Comments

  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,072
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    Smelly water can be caused by the chemical reaction with the anode rod, as the tech explained to you this is a water supply issue. If you have a well your water will absolutely change periodically through the life of your home. This is normal and natural behavior, and has very little or nothing to do with the equipment you have installed, or the timing of everything. We use the KA-90 anode rods on all of our water heaters, they are a aluminum/zinc/tin anode and have helped alleviate or minimize smelly water issues in our area. It is possible that you have another issue with your water, but these anode rods (if they fit in your tank) are a relatively inexpensive thing to try out.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,354
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    Hi @JBoss , The KA 90 anode is good and works in mild cases. Water conductivity, chemistry and amount of usage all affect odor. Sometimes just softening less does the trick. I'd begin with this test... Remove the anode and pour in two pints of drug store hydrogen peroxide per forty gallons of tank volume. plug the anode port and watch it for just a few days. if the odor stays gone, good. Now you can experiment with less softening and/or using a KA 90, or go with a powered anode rod. They are used for more difficult cases and almost always fix the problem. With the softening, you want to leave 60-120 ppm of hardness in the water.

    Yours, Larry
    GGross
  • JBoss
    JBoss Member Posts: 3
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    @Larry Weingarten, problem is I don’t believe there is any easy way to remove this rod. The anode rod is on the side of tank itself. 

    Perhaps I’ll give the guy who installed the water system a buzz and adjust the softener settings. 
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,354
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    Hi, In their instructions the manufacturer does say "removable and replaceable" about the anode. It might be true with the right tools :D So, if that port can be plugged and peroxide added from the top, you could still do that bit of testing to confirm the source of the odor. Do you know how much calcium and magnesium hardness your water has before softening?

    Yours, Larry
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    I think the rod in the HeatFlo is 1-1/2 or 2" NPT, it goes into one of the side ports.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • JBoss
    JBoss Member Posts: 3
    edited May 2022
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    @hot_rod, that’s how I interpreted the schematic on the website. 

    @Larry Weingarten, not thinking, but I have a filter off the UV system on the water supply. I tried the bleach solution as recommended by the water company with but that seemed to only mask the issue for a few days. Perhaps I can place the 2 pints of peroxide there and turn on the hot water to draw it onto the tank and let it sit over night and test/check the water next day. 
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,354
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    Hi @JBoss , I'm trying to test in a way that makes it clear that the anode is or isn't at fault for the odor. Bleach or peroxide will have a temporary effect. If the anode is removed for a test, the chemical (I prefer peroxide because it's non-toxic at this dose and doesn't need to be flushed out) will kill off the anaerobic bacteria and it won't come back because the anode isn't feeding it with hydrogen gas. So, if the odor stays gone, you know it's the anode and you have choices on how to proceed in replacing it. If odor returns even with the anode gone, you know the problem is elsewhere. If you try the test leaving the anode in place, the results can only be inconclusive.

    Yours, Larry