- This topic has 2 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 21 years, 8 months ago by mmilner.
27 Mar 2000 at 2:49 am #272728MasterPlumbersKeymaster
I HAVE A RENTAL PROPERTY THAT HAS HARD WATER AND A STRONG SULPHUR SMELL. I HAVE INSTALLED A SEARS WATER SOFTNER. THIS HAS HELPED THE HARDNESS AND THE IRON BUT NOT THE SULPHUR SMELL ESPECIALLY WITH THE HOT WATER. ANY SUGGESTION THAT WILL NOT COST AN ARM AND A LEG. THANK YOU.
28 Mar 2000 at 1:33 am #286197GuestParticipant
We bought a fixer upper home whose water softener wasn’t used for years; repaired, but, hot water still smelt like iron/sulfur. When we replaced the hot water heater (sediment?) problem was resolved.
28 Mar 2000 at 2:26 am #286198mmilnerParticipant
Hi Ray: To follow is an explanation to your sulfur smell in your water. You may have to consider purchasing a new heater. Good luck. Marty
The most common odor complaint “Rotten Egg Smell” is derived from hydrogen sulfide gas dissolved in the water. Concentration as little as 1PPM can result in this odor. The smell is the result of 4 factors which must be present for the odor to develop in the water heater.
1. There must be a high concentration of sulfate in the raw water.
2. There must be little or no dissolved oxygen in the water.
3. There must be sulfate reducing bacteria within the water heater. This bacteria is non-toxic to humans.
4. There must be an excess of active hydrogen in the tank. This is being provided by the cathodic action of the anode.
With these factors the hydrogen and sulfur combine to form hydrogen sulfide gas, which gives off the rotten egg smell in the water.
Active use of the water heater will reduce the problem but idle heaters will allow the accumulation of this gas and add to the odor problem.
Water softening equipment also aggravates the odor problem by eliminating chlorine and increasing bacteria in the water supply. In many situations the smelly water condition is not experienced until after a water softener is installed.
Smelly water can most easily be eliminated or reduced by replacing the anode with one of less active material (magnesium or aluminum) and then chlorinating the water heating system.
DO NOT REMOVE THE ANODE thus leaving the tank unprotected. By doing so you void all warranty on the heater. Removal of the anode does not affect safe operation but it will shorten the life of the water heater as the anode acts as a sacrificial rod thus slowing down the corrosion process.
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