If you are facing the problem of smelly water at home and the pungent smell of rotten eggs is unbearable, then you must act fast to get rid of the smell. The smell is characteristic of hydrogen sulfide gas that mixes with water and makes it so smelly that it becomes unusable. Before you start looking for remedies, try to determine the cause of the problem. Is the supply water that comes to your home have the same smell that you get inside the house? If the answer is no, then the problem is within your home, because usually municipal water does not have such issues and there are reasons for it.
While you concentrate inside your home, try to find out if the water at all points across the house like in kitchen, bathrooms, garden and any other place that has a water connection have the same problem. If the problem is more in the kitchen and bathroom but does not affect the other areas of water usage, try to find out if the hot water is most smelly, chances of which are quite high. If only the hot water circuit is affected, you have to look for solutions that are different from what you would have done if the supply water was at fault.
Municipal water is smell free
Generally, municipal water supply remains free from the odor problem because chances of hydrogen sulfide mixing with water are very less. On the other hand, if you draw water from wells, the chances of hydrogen sulfide combining with it could be much high as mentioned in the website https://www.aquaoxfilters.com/hydrogen-sulfide-rotten-egg-smell/. Organic matters like decaying plant material inside the earth decompose with time to produce hydrogen sulfide. Wells that run deep into the ground contain water that comes in contact with the gas produced naturally and the reason why you would find smelly water in wells. Municipalities that do not depend on wells as a source of water do not have any chances of supplying smelly water.
Poorly constructed wells can be a source of smelly water as also wells located near sewer lines or septic systems. Surface water can also contaminate with hydrogen sulfide and smell like rotten eggs if it meets some polluting elements of the sewage system.
But these are all about contamination of water at the supply point, which is not your concern because you already know that the hot water system is to blame for water smelling like rotten eggs at your home.
Why is hot water smelly?
Water heaters are potential sources for hydrogen sulfide gas generation. All water heaters use sacrificial anodes that contain metals like sulfur, magnesium, and aluminum which on coming in contact with water that contains anaerobic bacteria reacts instantly to produce hydrogen sulfide. The gas dissolves in water and imparts the pungent smell to the hot water. The problem might occur at some places only but not be prevalent across the country. Trying to soften the water to get rid of the smell can make things worse. In this regard, it is much essential to know what you should not do to drive away the smell as much important it is to know what you should do.
Do not sacrifice the sacrificial anodes
It might seem that sacrificial anodes are at fault and its removal could solve the problem. Some handymen and plumbers advise their clients to do away with the sacrificial anodes, but this is grossly wrong. The purpose of the anodes is to avoid rusting of the water heater, and its removal will corrode the water heater and make it defunct in no time even though you could get rid of the smell in the water. Removing the anodes will devoid the device of all warranties provided by the equipment manufacturer. In the same way, desist from trying to replace magnesium anodes with aluminum ones because aluminum is as bad as magnesium in generating hydrogen sulfide.
Take the first step to getting rid of smelly water
Instead of trying to take a great leap right at the beginning, start with some baby steps to remove the pungent smell from water. Here are simple, cheap and effective methods that might not be long lasting but would give you the confidence of making an excellent start to get the water rid of the smell of hydrogen sulfide gas.
- Cut off the supply of cold water to the water heater.
- To reduce the line pressure, open a hot faucet at any place in the house.
- After draining some water from the tank, open the plumbing at one side and add hydrogen peroxide of standard concentration available at the drug store to the water. A pint per 20 gallons is the recommended dose.
- Shut out all points and run cold water into the system and allow some water to drain out from the taps and spigots.
Your efforts pay back because you can enjoy the odor-free water for at least a week.
You can also use chlorine bleach instead of hydrogen peroxide, but the latter is more effective and works fast. The method will work well if you are sure that the problem of smell is with hot water only. If both hot and cold water has the smell, which can happen due to the presence of sulfur, this method will not work.
Using an aluminum and zinc alloy anode in place of the standard aluminum or magnesium anode can solve the problem in longer terms. The zinc in the alloy is the crucial ingredient that inhibits the gas formation. Therefore, do not make the mistake of assuming that aluminum and aluminum zinc alloy are interchangeable. It is the cheapest method of making water odor free that lasts long. Use only one alloy anode and not two as it can aggravate the problem instead of providing a remedy.
The method works well only if you are not using softened water because soft water increases the conductivity of water that increases the production of hydrogen sulfide gas.