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How to Get Rid of Rotten Egg Smell from Hot Water

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve Bob in Oregon on the line who’s dealing with a water situation. Tell us what’s going on.

    BOB: Well, what happens is that when I turn on the hot water, I get this smell that smells like rotten eggs.

    TOM: OK.

    BOB: And I’m on a well. The cold water, I don’t get that aroma but it’s just the hot water. And I’m wondering if I should worry or just be inconvenienced.

    TOM: I think the cause is the sacrificial anode inside your water heater.

    BOB: OK.

    TOM: If that wears out, you can get …

    LESLIE: That’s such a serious name.

    TOM: What, the sacrificial anode?

    LESLIE: Yes.

    TOM: It’s supposed to be sacrificial.

    But the sacrificial anode, as it wears out, can lead to this sulfur odor happening inside the water heater itself.

    Now, how old is your water heater?

    BOB: Oh, I’m not sure. I think it’s probably in the neighborhood of seven or eight years, though.

    LESLIE: OK. That’s around the end of its life.

    TOM: OK. So, it’s – yeah, well, it’s really borderline whether or not you want to replace the anode. You may find that it’s probably better, since it’s closer to the end of the life than the beginning of the life, just to replace the water heater. But I suspect that that’s what happening.

    BOB: OK.

    TOM: If you go Google “sulfur odor in water heaters,” I’m sure you’ll find the multi-page, detailed explanation. But trust me when I say it’s inside the water heater and it has to do with the anode. And if you replace it, it’ll probably go away but I’m just worried about the cost versus benefit, because the water heater is already past its half-life.

    BOB: Tom, should I be alarmed about drinking the water?

    TOM: It is well water and because it’s well water, it should be thoroughly tested.

    BOB: Yeah.

    TOM: And if you’ve not had that done, you definitely need to do that.

    BOB: No, I haven’t and I live on the coast and it’s been my experience that coastal underground water is worse than it is in a lot of other places.

    TOM: Well, listen, you’re living on a dream there, my friend. You need to have this tested. We need data to figure out what’s going on. So I mean it might not be the sulfur that’s harmful; there could be some other contaminant in that water.

    So I would definitely get the well water tested and then I would look into replacing the water heater. Make sense?

    BOB: I’ve been thinking about it but you – I think you’ve just given me the boost that I needed.

    TOM: Alright. Well, get her done, man. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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