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Old 09-04-2005, 09:27 PM   post #1 of 13
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Default Hot water tank stinks

Hi
My 3 year old hot water tank is starting to smell like rotten eggs when I take a shower. I must smell worse after I shower. I was told it was a bad Anode rod. One plumber told me to change it and another plumber told me to just take it out and plug it. Can anybody tell me just what the rod does? I would think that if it came with the rod that one should replace it.
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Old 09-04-2005, 10:11 PM   post #2 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

I agree with the first plumber to replace the anode rod. The 2nd plumber is a total idiot in my opinion . The anode rod is there to prevent the tank from rusting. The rod acts as a place the corrision builds up on it instead of the tank. The process to replacing the rod is simple, turn the water, gas or electric off, attach a hose to the spiget on the bottem of the tank, open the spiget and drain the tank completely, remove and replace the rod, Now for the last part of this is close the spiget and turn the water on but leave the electric or gas off for a while once the tank refills open the spiget again and leave the water on until the crud build up is gone and the water flows clean out the hose. You want all the crud to come out. I drain my hot water tank yearly and replace my anode rod at least once every 2 years and I have never got the rotten egg smell (BTW do not light a lighter next to the water in this condition it is explosive). I do live on a well system and the rods do come out rather rough but it is cheaper to replace the rod then the tank.
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Old 09-04-2005, 10:15 PM   post #3 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

I have gotten both opinions from plumbers too. the last water heater I had put in took out the rod cause he said it caused the stink in a short time. my previous one still had it in and no smell.

The rod is supposed to attract the minerals that would normally coat your tank and make it deteriorate faster. Plus it would be less efficient if the burner had to heat through a layer of gunk before the heat could get to the water. in this situation you don't want that kind of insulation

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Old 09-04-2005, 10:16 PM   post #4 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

The anode is there as a 'sacrificial' metal, so that corrosive water will eat it instead of the lining of the tank. They make one out of magnesium that is designed to help out with hydrogen sulphide disolved in the water. There's also a bleach treatment you can try. You put 1.5 pints of bleach for a 50 gal heater & let it sit over night. But, if the H2S is coming from bacteria then you'll have to do it again at some point in the future.

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Old 09-05-2005, 09:29 AM   post #5 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

Hi
thank you all for the information. I will change the rod.
Rod
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:50 AM   post #6 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

Michael,

What is in the water to make it flamable? I've never heard this before and it sounds a bit interesting.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-05-2005, 12:43 PM   post #7 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeJ
Michael,

What is in the water to make it flamable? I've never heard this before and it sounds a bit interesting.

Thanks in advance.
michael. please dont answer joe's question. i can see the headlines now. man levels whole block using a lighter and a hot water heater.film at 11.00...... ROF
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:00 PM   post #8 of 13
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Wink Re: Hot water tank stinks

JoeJ, H2S is flammable. ~LINK~
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Old 09-05-2005, 03:52 PM   post #9 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

Thanks Cat for your response. I should have put that in my response about hydrogen sulfide and forgot. The rotten egg odor is hydrogen sulfide, It is not absorbed by the water and is released when someone opens the water valve therefore it can potential be explosive if it gets near a ignition point (a gas water heater pilot, a gas stove or even if a person smokes and lights up in the bathroom). I know living in a area that has a well that I have to change the anode rod more often and you should see what my looks like after only 2 years, I do make it a habit to drain and flush my water heater on a yearly habit, the loose sediments in the tank would make you think twice about drinking your water but is completely normal and I have done it for years. When I bought this mobile home they had orginally put in a dinky 40 gal tank and it could not keep up with the hot water useage in my home. About 5 months is all I put up with that and went to a fast recovery 80 gallon water heater. Since the water heater is in a heated area of the home I went without one that is insulated and got it for under $200.00 from a home improvement store that going out of business.
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Old 09-05-2005, 10:34 PM   post #10 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

Do you have sulphur in your water???
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:02 PM   post #11 of 13
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Do you have sulphur in your water???
No, but it is a chemical reaction that creates the hydrogen sulfide in the water tank. Just remember that hydrogen is available as what is water (H2O) 2 parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, When we test the well (yearly) it has had a trace amount of sulphur and the test is becoming more and better every year.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:19 AM   post #12 of 13
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Default Re: Hot water tank stinks

Thanks CatDaddy, that was interesting, way over my head, but interesting just the same.

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Old 09-10-2005, 10:40 AM   post #13 of 13
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Thumbs up Re: Hot water tank stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by CatDaddy
The anode is there as a 'sacrificial' metal, so that corrosive water will eat it instead of the lining of the tank. They make one out of magnesium that is designed to help out with hydrogen sulphide disolved in the water. There's also a bleach treatment you can try. You put 1.5 pints of bleach for a 50 gal heater & let it sit over night. But, if the H2S is coming from bacteria then you'll have to do it again at some point in the future.

HTH!
-=A=-
Thanks for explaining the real reason for the smell. I didn't want anyone to think, as some have said, that it was an idiotic thing to do to remove dozens of the rods to eliminate the smell. IMHO, replacing the rod with a new one is the idiotic thing and won't address the problem.

Of course removing the anode will shorten the life of the WH, but it will make taking showers practical.
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