We recently bought a new house in Ottawa Canada. We are on well water
and use a gas hot water tank. We've noticed that we have a smell
coming from the cold and hot water. We've already bleached both the
hot water and the cold water. But the smell returned.
Now our next step seems to be to removing the Magnesium Rod in the hot
water tank. I'm being told that that is most likely the cause of the
problem for the smell of rotten eggs from the water. I'm being told
that the magnesium rod is not interacting will with the sulphur in the
Does anyone know what else could be causing the smell ? As well, will
removing the magnesium rod do any damage to the hot water tank ? Will
that most likely fix the problem ? Should we bleach both yet again ?
You should have your water tested at least every other year. The
results will show all the trace minerals and contaminants in your
water and will most likely show you where the smell is coming from.
Only then can you intelligently devise a plan to treat the water.
Yes I did test the smelly water and the lab says there is no harmful
bacteria. Its a smell of rotten eggs. We changed to an aluminum rod
about 1 month ago and the smell is still there. Removing the rod is
not the way I want to go as it will kill the tank in 3 or 4 years. I'm
now at a loss of what to do since the aluminum rod isn't making the
smell go away.
Anyone else with an idea how to fix this ?
Removing the rod will fix the problem because your tank will corrode away in
a few years. That's not the fix you had in mind I'm sure. The anode rod
exists to prevent corrosion, corrosion that the glass lining process can't
protect against. (the process can't get to every nook & cranny inside the
Change the rod every few years and your tank will last decades. Mine has
lasted 28 years. I've only owned this house for the past 1.5 years so I'm
sure the rod has been replaced, or it's a damn good tank. (It's a combo rod,
so I can't easily tell if it's been removed)
I don't understand people who say a water heater tank has a life expectancy
of about 10 years. I guess it would have that short a life if you didn't do
anything to it, but replacing the anode every few years costs much less than
replacing the tank & is much easier too.
Of course the 3 foot thick mound of sediments on the bottom may impact its
lifespan too, but then the anode was never designed to prevent cold water
contaminants from settling on the bottom and hardening into pseudoconcrete.
I dont understand people who expect a hot water tank to last forever.
Because its inconvenient and messy when it fails I believe in replacing
the tank at least every 10 years or so. If I dont the tanks gets very
noisey from sediment in the bottom of the tank..... besides in my adult
life its not very often and few major appliances are so cheap.
just think of how much is spent on vehicles in the same time span. hot
water tanks are actually a minor expense.
few things last forever and new models often cost less to operate or
offer better features......
Because locally the crud that must accumulate in the tank doesnt
dissolve and drain out I tend to leave the tank undisturbed till its
replaced... I tend to replace the tank before it fails after all its
my current tank is 50 gallons 75K BTU I DONT like running out of hot
water. my next tank will likely be larger, since the added cost divided
by years is actually minor.
The OP should try removing the anode completely and remember some tanks
have 2 to see if that fixes the smell. They can always replace the
anode later if they want.
if the smell is both hot and cold its probably not the tank......
have they called a water filtratrion company, there are a wide variety
of fiters available for taste and odor.
should be easy to solve:)
Section 31.....You mention that the COLD water smells also? How would
the rod in the HOT water tank effect the COLD water?
The rod in the tank is used as a sacrifice. The rod erodes away saving
the tank. If the rod is still intact, then I don't see this as your
problem. You should check the rod annually.
Do you have any filtration on the well water? You should have some
form of filtration on the well. This will keep the sediment down. One
of your filters should be a charcoal filter. Now many will say that
this filter is for taste, but it may improve the smell as well. In
your case I would go with three filters, 20micron, then 5micron, then
I have a well at my house. The water taste and smells fine. I have a
two filter system. The first filter is a 20micron for large particles
and the second filter is a 5micron used to catch everything else.
Start with filtering your water first.
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