I'm on well water and every 6 months or so, I get odors coming from the
water. I believe it's Iron bacteria (or something to that effect).
Anyway, I usually do a treatment by pouring a measured amount of chlorox
down the well to shock the system. Unfortunately, this ends up with
clorine odors in the house for weeks (I don't purge the system after adding
the chlorox.....we're in severe drought here and I don't want to waste the
water....unfortunately, the side affect is a stopped septic system). Are
there any systems available such as RODI etc... that I could install to
eliminate this? I've got a water softener that I've never used (came with
the house) but don't think that would help much. Thanks for any advice.
Understood Bob. My neighbors are all on the same well basically and had it
tested. I thought I remembered it being "Iron Bacteria". I suppose I
should look for a reasonably priced lab anyway..... Regardless, assuming
it is this iron bacteria, is there any way to remove it without shocking the
system with chlorine?
The first thing to do is to find out EXACTLY what's in your water. It isn't
good enough to just think it's iron bacteria, Insist on seeing the report,
and be positive that the water was tested at a time when it WASN'T being
treated. If you can't be sure of that, then get it tested yourself (also at
a time when there is no chemical being added). Find a local INDEPENDENT lab
that's not trying to sell you some equipment.
Most good labs have different levels of testing, ranging from coliform, up
to hazardous chemicals. Some of them will want to come out to take the
sample, and some will provide you with a sterile bottle that you can fill
and bring back to them. Whoever takes the water sample, they must run the
water for at least 5 minutes (at the tap closest to the well).
Do not involve your local board of health. They are usually only concerned
with coliform, and if they find any, they might temporarily shut the well
what are the results of your last mandatory annual test?
E. coli O157:H7
Hepatitis A Virus
check your state for a link or here's illinois:
Is the smell from both hot and cold taps or just from the hot tap?
If from the hot tap only, it could be sulfate reducing bacteria
interacting with the anode rod in the hot water tank. The only cure I
know of is to remove the anode rod. There are low smell anode rodes on
the market but they didnt work with my heater.
Otherwise, do what another poster suggested. Get that water softener
working. It does reduce iron levels. There's iron bacteria in my water
and I have a softener. I've never experienced any smells coming from
the cold water tap.
On Wed, 18 Jan 2006 18:59:58 -0700, "James \\"Cubby\\" Culbertson"
You shouldn't run a water heater without and anode rod. It's there so it can
corrode faster than the tank. When it's totally depleted or removed, the
exposed metal parts of the tank corrode much faster. Water heaters usually
come with a magnesium anode rod and sulfur in the water sometimes causes an
offensive odor. You need a rod made of a less active metal like aluminum or
zinc. If you tried one and still had the smell, then try the other one.
I tried both the zinc and the "K90" which I believe is a zinc-aluminum
rod. Both stunk up the water.
The funny thing is that the previous heater had no problems. It lasted
for 15 years, though I've only owned the house for 6. I neglected to
look if it had a rod in it when I took it out.
I've talked to numerous plumbers, and in this area the first thing
they do when they install a heater is to remove the anode rod. To
prevent call backs due to smell, I'm told. I've noticed myself that
heaters seem to last a lot longer on well water than on city water.
In my old house on city water, I could just about predict to the day,
every 5 years, a day after the warrenty ran out, when I'd have to
replace a heater. Well water just isnt as aggressive as city water.
So I figure that the old heater didnt have a rod and it lasted 6 years
without smell and possibly more before I bought the house. I think
I'm safe for at least that long.
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but just out of curiosity, do *GAS*
hot water heaters have sacrificial anodes in them to prevent corrosion,
as well? Or just electric? (It seems as though it shouldn't
matter...they're both going to corrode.)
Thanks folks for all the replies. A few things. I guess I'd better get a
test done just to insure I'm working on the right problem. Second, I
didn't think of the hot water heater. That may definitely be a
possibility. I'll have to look into that. I'd really rather not hook up
the softener but that may be a final option I consider depending on what I
On Fri, 20 Jan 2006 20:19:52 -0700, James \\"Cubby\\" Culbertson wrote:
I agree about the test.
If the hot water is the problem and you're concerned about corrosion, you can
invest in a Marathon water heater (electric). It has a plastic tank, thus no
corrosion. Cost is more, but you get what you pay for.
You might also try a whole house filter - OmniFilter I have was about $35 -
and use carbon impregnated filters in it. The carbon filter removes particles
down to 5 microns and the carbon helps to remove odors.
Might be an easier to maintain option than the softener - besides, if the
softener is like the ones I'm familiar with, it will increase the sodium
content of the water which is bad for those on a sodium restricted diet.
(substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly)
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