LESLIE: Jeff in Delaware is dealing with a mysterious sulfur odor from a well. Tell us what’s going on.
JEFF: Well, we have a well and I have a water softener on it, a filter and – cartridge filter – and we still have a lot of iron in our water and it has a real strong sulfur smell. And I don’t know anything else to do and it – sometimes, if it sits for – if we go out of town and come back a day or two later, the smell is just horrendous. And I was just wondering if you guys could give me any tips.
TOM: Jeff, that sulfur smell may not be coming from the well; it could be coming from the water heater. Have you considered that?
JEFF: No, sir.
TOM: Because if the anode in the water heater is wearing away, that can result in a very strong sulfur odor. Have you noticed if the sulfur odor is more prevalent in the hot water or the cold?
JEFF: Hot. Yes, sir. It is.
TOM: Yeah. I don’t think it’s the well at all; I think it’s your water heater.
JEFF: Oh, wow. That would be great. OK. What’s the solution?
TOM: Now, you can replace the anode in the water heater.
TOM: It basically unbolts from the top of the water heater. If you look at the top of the water heater, you’ll see what looks like a big hex nut. And you can unscrew that, pull out the old rod and put in a new one.
JEFF: Oh, OK.
TOM: So I think you might be looking at the wrong place for the source. I think the problem is the water heater and not the well.
JEFF: Well, I will sure try that. That’ll be a simple fix for me.
TOM: It certainly will be. It’s called a "sacrificial anode" for that reason. You sacrifice a little bit every time, for all the time that it’s in there. And at some point, sometimes it develops the point where it has a sulfur smell.
If you add a replacement anode to there, that should help alleviate the sulfur smell. Because, essentially, what’s happening is the anode contributes to the production of hydrogen-sulfide gas and that’s what has that nasty, rotten-egg odor to it. OK?
JEFF: Well, I really do appreciate that. Man, I appreciate you taking my call. I sure do.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.