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  1. #1
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    Default Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    I looked at a vacant house today that had a 1 year old 80 gallon electric water heater tank. The circuit breaker to the tank was off and the agent said the house has been vacant for a few months. While there was no hot water, the water I ran on the hot side of the plumbing fixtures throughout the house was very pungent and had the rotten egg/sulphur smell. The smell did not go away no matter how much I ran the water but I'm pretty sure I didn't run 80 gallons worth.

    I've run into this before but only with older water heaters which I assumed had corroded anode rods. I'm making mention of the stinky water in my report but I was wondering if anybody has an idea why this smell would be so strong in a 1 year old tank? Is it just a result of the house being vacant and the water sitting dormant in the tank and unheated? I don't see how the anode rod could be corroded already, assuming it is present inside the tank.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    If the house is on a public water system, I would have to say something bad about the quality of life in your neighborhood. Good ball team though.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    If the house is on a public water system, I would have to say something bad about the quality of life in your neighborhood. Good ball team though.
    Hmmmmmmm......ya lost me here John .

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Good stuff here Solutions to Stinky Water In Water Heaters
    I also recommend turning the water heater up as high as it will go for a couple of days to kill the bacteria. If that works it is alot easier than all the others
    Did you ask the broker if she farted?
    That's always worth the price of admission just to see the look on her face


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Nice link and info Wayne. I'll pass this along to my clients in addition my recommendation to have the tank serviced by a professional plumber.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  6. #6
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
    Patrick McCaffery Guest

    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Hi Nick,
    I think what John is referring to, is that you will get the sulfer smell from well water.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  8. #8
    Scott Coslett's Avatar
    Scott Coslett Guest

    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Nick -

    Is this a private well? Did you run the cold water? If so, any sulfur odor? Running the cold water will help to determine if the sulpher is in the well. Sulphur in the well (not the same animal as bacteria in the water heater) can get expensive to treat if the concentrations are high. Since the house has been vacant for a while the sulphur odors have likely increased in concentration over time. If the supply system is used on a daily basis (i.e. the house is occupied) the occupants may not even notice the presence of sulphur because the supply system is 'ventilated' on a regular basis.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Not well water. Municipal public water system. And the odor only came out on the hot side of the plumbing fixtures.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  10. #10
    Timothy M. Barr's Avatar
    Timothy M. Barr Guest

    Cool Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    I get the same smell from vacant house if they are on well water. When I test the well for bacteria it usely is contaiminated. A good dose of bleach takes care of it. If city water ,it may have stagnet in hot water tank


  11. #11
    Bruce Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Nick
    This is a normal occurrence with a water heater that has been shut down and the water not drained. The cold water reacts with the anode rod. This is not something that is caused with age. Nor is is something that is caused with the water to the home. Although you can get the rotten age smell from the water that is coming to the home. It will be from both the cold and hot water and will not go away. By running the hot water for about 30 to forty minutes with the hot water tank on. the smell will go away. Do not tell your people to call a plumber on this one. They will have to pay the plumbers fee and after the plumber tells them that all they will have to do is run the water you will not be looking good. And if they get the wrong person out there and he tells them they need to buy a new water heater. And for an 80 gallon water is over a thousand dollars. Think how you would feel.
    Bruce Adams


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    I hear you Bruce but if I were the buyer and I had a rotten egg smell coming out of all my plumbing fixtures, I think I'd want a professional plumber to make the call. Now my clients can do as they like. They can contact a plumber and let the plumber do his thing or they can undertake some of the DIY measures you and others have mentioned. But say they follow the DIY route on my recommendation (which is not my recommendation). Say the smell never goes away, they get frustrated with the situation and me for my recommendation, and they get a plumber who tells them what they want to hear (ie - they need a new tank even if they don't), who do you think they will set their sights on? I can't control unscrupulous tradesmen. All I can do is report what I find and put the rest in the buyer's hands.

    Luckily, there are some other plumbing issues to be addressed so it's something a plumber can look at along with other items.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 10-15-2010 at 08:50 AM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  13. #13

    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Nick,

    The odor is from mineral deposits that have collected on the Anode Rod that is inserted inside of the tank. This occurs when the tank sets idol for an extended period of time. There are occasions when the tank can be drained or purged, but in many cases, the Anode Rod may need to be replaced. Depending on the age of the tank, replacement may prove to be the most cost effective measure if purging the tank is not successful.

    Art Palmer


  14. #14
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    state of jefferson
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    ihave had the problem with my water heater before. i dump a cup of bleach directly into the water heater and wait one hour then empty it. run water thru it until the bleach smell disipates. it is a diy thing but it works every time.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ingleside Illinois
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    Default Re: Rotten Egg/Sulphur Smell From 1 Year Old WH Tank

    Like others I've had the same rotten egg smell, I removed the anode rod several years ago and suddenly this occurred. What worked for me was draining the heater & flushing it.


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