My Hot Water Heater Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Hot water heaters are essential for every household. But what happens when they go wrong? If your hot water heater smells like rotten eggs then it’s unpleasant, it makes your house smell terrible and it makes you worry that there’s something seriously wrong! But what can you do to fix this?

What Makes This Smell?

Normally, a hot water heater that smells like rotten eggs is due to anaerobic bacteria that are found in some water types in some parts of the country that react with the sulfur, aluminum and magnesium anodes that are part of your hot water heater. It’s not a problem with the heater and it doesn’t mean that your heater is broken, it is simply a problem that’s faced by certain people in certain parts of the country. However, your hot water heater provider is not going to be able to fix this for you!

What Not To Do

Many people attempt to soften their water to make this smell go away. Don’t do this! You’ll just make the smell worse, as this isn’t the way to fix it. Some plumbers recommend that you take the anodes out of your boiler, but this just means that your heater’s going to go very rusty, very quickly.

What Can You Do?

If you turn off the cold water valve to your heater, open a hot faucet somewhere in your house to relieve some of the pressure in your heater, drain some water from your tank (but not all of it) and put some hydrogen peroxide bleach in your heater. Close all your valves again, let the cold water back into your heater and run some water from all of your taps. This will work for a while, but it’s not a permanent fix.

The best way to fix this problem is to replace the anodes in your boiler with a zinc anode. This normally removes the reaction that causes the rotten egg smell, and it will give you a much more permanent fix than running the hydrogen peroxide through the system. If you don’t have any history of working with hot water heaters, make sure you call in a professional to do this – it’s not worth ruining your hot water heater at the sake of saving the call out charge of a professional plumber! Simply call a plumbing company and tell them what you need doing, and they’ll be able to send somebody out who can do this for you.

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