We're on well and septic. Last year we developed a sulfur smell in
our water - but only some taps and only the cold water - if you ran
the water for a while, the sulfur smell would dissipate. I figured it
was probably bacteria that took up residence in the pipes. I shocked
the system and ran the chlorinated water through all the taps and let
it sit for a day before flushing the system. That cleared up the
Now the smell has returned, but it is predominantly noticed in the hot
water. If bacteria have set up shop in the water heater, I want to
make sure that I chlorinate them fully.
We've got a big 80 gal electric water heater. My question is, what's
the best way to get the chlorine saturated through the hot water
system and what's the best way to flush it again? We have one outdoor
tap that is connected to the hot water, so I could run the water
through there and back into the well head to get it fully saturated.
But once I get 80 gal. of chlorinated water in a tank, I'm suspicious
about how long it will take to get the chlorine flushed from there by
simply running water through the hot water spigot. Is it better to
drain the water from the water heater tank (there is a valve at the
bottom) and at what point in the process?
One complication is that we have a very low refresh rate on our well
(only about 1.75 GPM) and our well casing only holds about 35 gal of
water when full (up to the level of the water table). That means that
I if close the intake at the top of the water heater and drain it,
when I re-open the intake I have to be careful to open it only a
little bit. If I open it fully, it will fill up the tank at many GPM
and I'll dredge the bottom of the well before the tank is full and end
up with a bunch of gunk in there. Of course, I can't see how fast the
water tank is filling up. I have no idea how fast the water gets
pumped into the water heater tank with the valve open full - only that
it's fast enough to drain the well casing before the tank fills up
(done it before).
Any advice on the best way to get this done appreciated.
Thanks. Unfortunately, while the web page indicated does have general
information on how to shock a well, most of which I already know, it
does not help me with the specifics of how to deal with the water
heater. I've found a number of places on the web with instructions
for shocking your system, but none address my specific question.
I was hoping that someone on this forum might offer some more detailed
advice on this one area.
Once you add the bleach mix to the well, you then run water through your
plumbing system until you smell chlorine. Turn everything off and let it
set for a day or so. Then run the system until it's clear.
If you open a hot water line, you will get the chlorine mix into the
Another choice for the water heater tank is to remove the anode, if you
can, and pour some bleach directly into the tank.
The first time I shocked the tank, I siphoned bleach backwards through a
kitchen faucet. I got the siphon going by opening the drain cock on the
tank and drained water until I could smell chlorine.
Obviously you will have to shut off water to the tank for this to be
effective otherwise you'll be under pressure.
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