LESLIE: Terry in Ohio is on the line and dealing with a stinky, hot water smell.
Terry, does it smell like rotten eggs?
TERRY: It’s only happening in one bathroom. My husband replaced our electric hot-water heater two years ago with a gas. And it actually has been happening almost since that switch occurred. But the hot water smell is only in the upstairs bathroom. And so I don’t know why we’re getting this smell. We’ve put bleach down in the tank and tried to clean out the tank but we continue to get this smell back.
TOM: When you say the tank, you’re putting bleach in the water heater itself?
TERRY: It’s very diluted. Just a little bit.
TOM: Yeah. OK. Well, a couple of things. First of all, if the hot-water smell is throughout the entire house, then that’s usually caused by a problem with the anode rod in the water heater itself. But since it’s only two years old, I’m thinking that that’s probably not the case. It’s more likely a problem with biogas. And that could simply be something in the drain in that particular bathroom that’s causing this hot-water smell. Because you’ll get these microbes that will grow inside the drain and they can really smell terribly.
So, what you need to do in a case like that is to – the best thing to do is to take the drain apart, if you can get under the sink, and take it apart and clean it really thoroughly in another sink somewhere. And get a bottle brush down there and scrub it with a good, strong bleach solution or you can use some oxygenated bleach, even better yet. And that will kill those microbes that are there.
And then once you put it back together, I want you to fill the sink up to the point where you have that water goes down the overflow, which is usually built into the sink body. And make sure you put some bleach in the hot water, too, so that it will slowly trickle down that overflow for a bit of a time. So this way, if there’s any organic matter in that overflow, it will also be eliminated. So I suspect it’s in the drain as opposed to being a problem with the water heater. Because if it was a problem with the water heater, every single sink would have that hot-water smell.
TERRY: That’s kind of what I figured but we couldn’t figure it out. So, I thought – I listen to you guys every Saturday, so I thought I’d give you a call.
TOM: Yeah, well, you know, it’s hard because it doesn’t – it only happens to – sometimes to – once a lifetime. But we hear about this all the time, so we’ve got a pretty good idea where to look for the problem, OK?
TERRY: Oh, great. I appreciate your help.