The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

Why does my hot water smell like rotten eggs? (Part 2 of 2)

hot water
In Part 1 of this post, we talked about some of the causes of a rotten egg smell in your hot water. Today, we’ll talk about some of the remedies for this stinky situation.

How do I get rid of a sulfur smell in my hot water?

To remove a sulfur smell from your hot water, you either have to prevent hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S = the source of the smell, as you may recall from Part 1) from forming, or kill the bacteria responsible for it.

Technically, there is a third approach that some “experts” will advise: removing your anode rod. Don’t do it! Not only will removing your anode rod accelerate tank corrosion (which could lead to a tank failure), it also voids your water heater’s warranty! Keep the anode rod right where it is, doing what it’s supposed to do – sacrificing itself to preserve your tank.

Fixing a stinky hot water problem: Three solutions

Solution 1: Kill the bacteria with hydrogen peroxide
If you know your way around a water heater, you could try this fix on your own. If you don’t, contact the water heater experts at P. Gagnon & Son and we’ll take care of it for you.

  • Shut off your water heater’s cold water inlet valve
  • Drain about 10 percent of the water from your hot water storage tank
  • Disconnect the metal hose that connects to the cold water side of your water heater.
  • Using 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2 – the stuff you get at your local drug store for a buck), pour in one cup (8 oz) of hydrogen peroxide for every 10 gallons of water your tank holds (four cups for a 40 gallon tank, for example).
  • Re-connect the hose, turn the cold water valve back on to refill your tank, then let it sit for a couple of hours. The hydrogen peroxide will kill the bacteria — and the smell along with it.

Solution 2: Replace your anode rod with a zinc + aluminum model
Another way to possibly fix the rotten egg smell in your water heater is to remove the magnesium or aluminum anode from your water heater and replace it with one that’s made of both zinc and aluminum – just make sure you get one that’s the same style and size as your current anode. You should notice a difference in a day or two.

Solution 3: Replace your storage-type water heater with a tankless propane water heater
A third possible solution is to bypass the need to store hot water in the first place – something you can easily do by replacing your storage-type water heater with a high efficiency tankless propane water heater. You’ll get unlimited hot water, save 30 percent or more on your water heating bills, and you won’t have to think about replacing your water heater for another 20 years.

If you still have a problem after trying Solutions 1 and 2

If neither of these solutions fixes the problem, the issue might be with the water supply rather than the water heater; in that case, your cold water will stink, too, and you will need to filter out the sulfur at the source. Unfortunately, that’s a problem we can’t solve for you on this blog!

Considering making the switch to a tankless propane water heater or upgrading your conventional propane water heater? Contact us for a FREE, no obligation estimate on a high efficiency water heater for your Southern Maine or Seacoast, NH-area home!