“Rotten Egg” smell coming from water heater

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    • #274532
      Avatar photoadam zhong

        I installed a brand new water heater approximately one month ago.

        The last two weeks a terrible rotten egg smell is evident every time a hot water tap is turned on and the water is a dark grey color.

        If I let the water run for a fairly long time, the smell does improve slightly and the water will clear. Also if I continue to keep the water moving it isn’t too bad, but there is still a slight smell.

        I work during the day, so it is impossible to keep water moving all the time. By the time I get home the water is once again grey in color and smells awfull!

        Please help!

      • #289916
        Avatar photoGuest


          Last year, I also had the egg smell after about a couple of months after installing a new water heater. Apparently, according to the manual, this smell is from the interaction between the water and the anode rod that is in the tank. The anode rod is there to keep the tank from rusting, and removing it will void the warranty. However, the manufacturer should sell a different rod that will cut down the egg smell. The chemical reaction of the rod and water causes the sulfer smell.
          If you completly drain your tank (turn it off at the breaker box first, then turn off the water feeding the tank)and then refill it, the smell will go away for another month or so. If you leave the tank sit for a few days without water circulating, it may come back again. If it does, drain the tank like before. That’s the best help I can offer!

          For me, I’m tempted to just remove the rod and forget the warranty…

          Dave G.

        • #289917
          Avatar photoGaryPurolite1

            There is more to it than that. First, though some here may not like it, you can remove that rod altogether. Following Dave G’s suggestion on draining the tank, remove the rod (being careful not to break any of it off). You should be able to locate it with a drawing that is in the water heater manual. Add 1 cup of household bleach (unscented kind), refill the tank and allow that to sit with the water in the heater for 1 hour then flush until the chlorine odor is gone. The “mag rod’s” primary purpose is to prevent corrosion of the metal in the water heater. Most all water heaters today are lined and the mag rod is not really necessary. It would be if the tank lining is damaged. If you have a concern about that you can replace the mag rod with one made of aluminum.

            There is another potential player in the water called a Sulfate Reducing Bacteria (SRB) that may be in your well water. This is not a harmful bacteria. It is the primary causer of that odor. You can get some relief by occasionally shock chlorinating your well water. I assume you are on a private well. If on municipally treated water you wouldn’t have to do that.

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