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Thread: Electric Hot Water Tank Suddenly Stinky

  1. #1
    DIY Member drizler's Avatar
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    Default Electric Hot Water Tank Suddenly Stinky

    40 gallon State Electric hot water tank 5 or so years old in a rental trailer I own. Lots of lime in the water in the area. Lots of sediment build up 2 years ago when I last drained it. It had built up to the point where the lower element had shorted at the time.

    That was then this is now. Tenant says it started to stink a couple weeks ago never did before. Also claims it is very weak on hot water and taking forever to heat up and little available. I am going to go drain it tomorrow morning so I want a feel for what to expect beyond what I did before.

    I am thinking the lower element is buried and burned out again. I am curious about the coincidental stink though, any opinions before I go get dirty?????? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    That smell is coming from bacteria in the water. It's building up in your water heater and it gives you a smelly water heater. I suggest cutting off the water and put a few pints of hydrogen peroxide in to the heater and then hook it back up and run some water through it. Open all spigots and taps for a while. It should cure the smell. If the water sits in the heater for a long time, then it will smell again, so be careful when going out of town.
    Plumbing Solutions, LLC
    Your Local Plumber in Columbia, S.C.

  3. #3
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Sounds like the anode rod. When they go you will sometimes get a sulphur smell.

    John

  4. #4
    Journeyman & Gas Fitter Doherty Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o1 View Post
    Sounds like the anode rod. When they go you will sometimes get a sulphur smell.

    John
    Yeah I agree with this.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The tank's been there for 5-years, wouldn't the smells start when installed if the water and the anode type weren't compatible?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    The tank is running cool much of the time and has sedimentation/scaling issues. I've never had stinky water, but this sounds like an ideal environment to grow bacteria.

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