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Thread: Rotten Egg Smell in Water

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Akiov's Avatar
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    Default Rotten Egg Smell in Water

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a newbie when it comes to this, so I need all the help I can get! I just purchased a house that is on a well and septic (coming from city water at my current house). The house sat vacant for just over two years prior to me purchasing it. Currently, we have an Ecowater R/O system that has been determined to be non-functioning and an EcoWater Water Softener that was installed in 1993. I've met with Kinetico, Culligan, and a local company that specializes in Well drilling and water treatment. Each one has had a different recommendation on the best way to treat our issues. We have the following issues...

    Overwhelming rotten egg smell on both hot and cold water (we have to open the door if the water is running for more than a few minutes)
    Raw Well Water Hardness - 23
    pH - 7.0
    TDS - 350
    Iron - 2ppm
    Water softener Water Hardness - 4 grain
    Water softener Iron - 1ppm (water is has a slightly pink hue to it)
    Water thru our R/O System (which is also coming thru the filter in the fridge) - 300TDS
    Manganese
    Slightly Sulfur (According to Culligan)
    Iron Bacteria (According to Kinetico)
    Tannin (According to Kinetico)

    - Kinetico recommended the 2060 non-electric twin tank, Powerline filter, Vertical Mach Super kit, and K5 Drinking System.

    - Culligan has recommended an Iron Soft Plus system (all in one softener, iron & sulfur remover)

    - Local Well company uses Nelson Water Treatments for their systems. So they recommended an AIO system to remove the iron which has a Fleck 2510SXT electronic control valve. If we replaced the water softener they recommended the Fleck 9100 and the NR04 (4-Stage) RO system.

    I would like to go ahead and replace the RO system since it's not working at all. It also seems like it would be beneficial to replace the softener, depending on costs. If we were to go with the Nelson systems, we could replace all 3 systems for about the same price as either the Kinetico or Culligan system. However, I can't find much on the Fleck systems to know if they have a good reputation or not.

    Any input on what would be the best approach to fix our issues would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Alicia

  2. #2
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akiov View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a newbie when it comes to this, so I need all the help I can get! I just purchased a house that is on a well and septic (coming from city water at my current house). The house sat vacant for just over two years prior to me purchasing it. Currently, we have an Ecowater R/O system that has been determined to be non-functioning and an EcoWater Water Softener that was installed in 1993. I've met with Kinetico, Culligan, and a local company that specializes in Well drilling and water treatment. Each one has had a different recommendation on the best way to treat our issues. We have the following issues...

    Overwhelming rotten egg smell on both hot and cold water (we have to open the door if the water is running for more than a few minutes)
    Raw Well Water Hardness - 23
    pH - 7.0
    TDS - 350
    Iron - 2ppm
    Water softener Water Hardness - 4 grain
    Water softener Iron - 1ppm (water is has a slightly pink hue to it)
    Water thru our R/O System (which is also coming thru the filter in the fridge) - 300TDS
    Manganese
    Slightly Sulfur (According to Culligan)
    Iron Bacteria (According to Kinetico)
    Tannin (According to Kinetico)

    - Kinetico recommended the 2060 non-electric twin tank, Powerline filter, Vertical Mach Super kit, and K5 Drinking System.

    - Culligan has recommended an Iron Soft Plus system (all in one softener, iron & sulfur remover)

    - Local Well company uses Nelson Water Treatments for their systems. So they recommended an AIO system to remove the iron which has a Fleck 2510SXT electronic control valve. If we replaced the water softener they recommended the Fleck 9100 and the NR04 (4-Stage) RO system.

    I would like to go ahead and replace the RO system since it's not working at all. It also seems like it would be beneficial to replace the softener, depending on costs. If we were to go with the Nelson systems, we could replace all 3 systems for about the same price as either the Kinetico or Culligan system. However, I can't find much on the Fleck systems to know if they have a good reputation or not.

    Any input on what would be the best approach to fix our issues would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Alicia
    How long have the people at the well drilling company been doing business?
    Sounds like theirs would be the simplest way of treating the water , less equipment and lower year to year cost.
    The AIO valve is good, and depending on the water and the usage as to how often it might need cleaning.

    I have yet to hear of a PINK tannin... yellow , brown, gray and even some times black ,,, but PINK?
    Is there an iron filter with pot perm in use?

  3. #3
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I can give you a layman's opinion. I am NOT an expert, but am the proud owner of a water treatment system that's doing a fine job for me. It was installed by a local old-timer here who worked out of a pickup truck, but was recommended by a neighbor. I knew jack about water treatment then, but would feel very comfortable installing a new system by myself if I were to move now. I'm a recovering engineer, so like to understand how things work in my world. I rejected Kinetico out of hand because it was a little too spooky for me and way too expensive. I would have been locked into their service for life, and didn't like that much. Culligan was less spooky, but the lock-in still turned me off.

    What I wound up with is a chlorine injection -> Carbon filter -> softener system. Very conventional, easy to understand and service. Fleck 2510 valves on both the carbon and softener tanks. My experience and the scuttlebutt on this forum suggest that Fleck is good stuff, and the modern 2510SXT adds fancy easy-to-program electronics to an already excellent valve. One day I might add an RO system just for fun, but there's no obvious need for it. A neighbor of mine swears by Kinetico, but I can't for the life of me figure out why -- his hot water stinks (but that's a bacteria issue in the water heater, I'm sure), and a brand-new toilet is ugly, 7-11 gas-station dirty after only 3 months' use.

    A big factor, IMHO, is your desire and ability to manage a system yourself. If your primary tool in your toolbox is your checkbook, and DIY-type home maintenance is NOT your idea of fun, then you might be better off with your local dealer, assuming he's well-established with a good reputation. Kinetico or Culligan are national names, to be sure, but you'll be dependent on a local dealer. If I were in that situation, I'd ask around to see what others have done and how satisfied they are. Get a list of reference accounts from your prospective dealers and go visit them. If your water is that bad, you're probably not alone, and wandering around the neighborhood to talk about water treatment is a dandy way to meet your neighbors and find out how handy THEY are. If you see a big home-delivery water truck outside the house, that would probably be a sign that they're NOT too happy with their water, so be sure to talk with them. My water smells pretty bad and is pretty hard coming out of the ground, but after treatment is every bit as good as Evian, and a hell of a lot cheaper.

    There's a small chance that the pink tint is coming from the presence of Serratia marcescens bacteria. A chlorinator will take care of that, as well as other nasties, real or imagined. You should disinfect the entire system if it's sat stewing for a couple of years. My wife loves our chlorinator even more when she sees the horses peeing in a neighbor's field.

    Good luck; BTW, where is Indianapolis, FL? Google Maps draws a blank.
    Last edited by Mikey; 11-27-2012 at 06:29 AM.

  4. #4
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akiov View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a newbie when it comes to this, so I need all the help I can get! I just purchased a house that is on a well and septic (coming from city water at my current house). The house sat vacant for just over two years prior to me purchasing it. Currently, we have an Ecowater R/O system that has been determined to be non-functioning and an EcoWater Water Softener that was installed in 1993. I've met with Kinetico, Culligan, and a local company that specializes in Well drilling and water treatment. Each one has had a different recommendation on the best way to treat our issues. We have the following issues...

    Overwhelming rotten egg smell on both hot and cold water (we have to open the door if the water is running for more than a few minutes)
    Raw Well Water Hardness - 23
    pH - 7.0
    TDS - 350
    Iron - 2ppm
    Water softener Water Hardness - 4 grain
    Water softener Iron - 1ppm (water is has a slightly pink hue to it)
    Water thru our R/O System (which is also coming thru the filter in the fridge) - 300TDS
    Manganese
    Slightly Sulfur (According to Culligan)
    Iron Bacteria (According to Kinetico)
    Tannin (According to Kinetico)

    - Kinetico recommended the 2060 non-electric twin tank, Powerline filter, Vertical Mach Super kit, and K5 Drinking System.

    - Culligan has recommended an Iron Soft Plus system (all in one softener, iron & sulfur remover)

    - Local Well company uses Nelson Water Treatments for their systems. So they recommended an AIO system to remove the iron which has a Fleck 2510SXT electronic control valve. If we replaced the water softener they recommended the Fleck 9100 and the NR04 (4-Stage) RO system.

    I would like to go ahead and replace the RO system since it's not working at all. It also seems like it would be beneficial to replace the softener, depending on costs. If we were to go with the Nelson systems, we could replace all 3 systems for about the same price as either the Kinetico or Culligan system. However, I can't find much on the Fleck systems to know if they have a good reputation or not.

    Any input on what would be the best approach to fix our issues would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Alicia
    Do not install an RO until you 'fix' the other water quality problems or you will ruin the RO.

    Independent water treatment dealers are usually better than national brand dealers like Kinetico and Culligan etc., or big box store brands like SEARS, GE, Whirlpool. Independent dealers sell equipment with components made by very old manufacturers that have very high quality products. Such as Clack, Fleck, Autotrol, Structural Fibers, Purolite, Sybron Chemicals etc.. Those companies do not advertise to the general public so you may have never heard of them. Put their products together and you get a softener etc. and that is what many independent dealers do, or they buy from suppliers such as Nelsen etc.. Suppliers don't advertise to the public either because like the component manufacturers, they do not sell to the public.

    The suppliers' dealers do the advertising and selling National brands buy from those same manufactures and the big box store brands are all made buy te same company, Echowater. Echowater also has higher quality equipment that is sold exclusive dealers, and it is as high priced or higher than Culligan and Kinetico.

    All of the national brands are proprietary equipment meaning you can't get parts or service from anyone but their one and only local dealer in your area.

    There are many more independent dealers than there are national brand dealers, and as you have seen, some well drillers and also a few plumbers selling industry standard, non proprietary equipment that you can buy parts from (including online) and get service from locally.

    The problem is to not be oversold or sold something that is not going to be the solution to your poor water quality problems. Like a larger control valve than the softener or a filter requires. Or larger or more equipment than your family or house needs, or a twin tank softener when you have no need for one. And then there is the problem with being sold things like stainless steel tanks and/or being charged way more than fair prices.

    If you are handy, or have some guy that is more handy than handsome, you can buy online and install it yourselves and save a bunch of money.
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 11-27-2012 at 06:10 AM.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  5. #5
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    The system from Nelsen sounds perfect. The 2510AIO is an excellent valve, I would recommend learning how to clean the injector assembly. All of the systems and components they are describing look great.

    If you do replace the RO without correcting the other problems, you will be changing filters more often, and the membrane, but those parts are cheap. If you replace that now, you will be fine as long as you understand that you will have increased maintenance until the POE treatment is running properly.

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Alicia, before you buy it, ask the people you want to buy the RO from, if you should use it with the amount of iron you have in your water.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  7. #7
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    No, the membrane is not rated for 2 ppm iron, the membrane will foul quicker than normal. Membranes are about $40, it will easily remove the iron, but the iron will foul the membrane.

    In a residential application like this, you may only get 3-18 months out of a membrane, depending on what state the iron is in.

    As to the reputation of the Fleck product lines, they are used by most of the major name water treatment companies. They are the manufacturer of the best selling control valve of all time, (5600 series). Their entire product line is considered top quality. The 9100SXT and the 2510 are based on valves that have been around for decades and are basically commercial grade. Nelson uses non proprietary Fleck controls which is preferred since it keeps the cost much lower due to the availability of competition.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 11-27-2012 at 02:23 PM.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    Was that a mis-spelling? You live in Indianapolis, FL? Where is that located?

  9. #9
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Maybe he's a snowbird, traveling between Indianapolis (IN) and somewhere in FL. However, if you Google (pure Google, not Google Maps) "Indianapolis FL", you'll find a house for sale at "8906 Timberwood Dr, Indianapolis, FL 46234". Go to the listing, and you'll see it's a few miles west of Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Or maybe he's in the geographically challenged group which grew up in the '70s. A study of the University of Miami freshman class done in the '80s, as I remember, showed that a ridiculously high percentage of them couldn't locate Miami on a world map.

    I blame it on high-speed air travel. There's an old blonde joke:

    "Where did you go on your honeymoon?"
    "I don't know -- we flew."

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Akiov's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the info! For those that picked up on my location...I live in Indianapolis, IN but am currently in Florida for a wedding. For some reason the system won't let me put Indiana - keeps defaulting to FL. Who knows!

    My plan was to purchase the RO system at the same time that I install the iron filter and water softener. That way I don't have to worry about the iron levels and ruining the RO system. Given our problems, do I need to have some sort of chlorination system installed in addition to the iron filter? Kinetico and Culligan both said that we had iron bacteria (in addition to the tannin etc) while the local company said we do not. The local company has been around over 20 years and has a great reputation. His recommendation was that if I was that worried about bacteria or other things like that in the well, he felt a UV light system would be the better way to go rather than the chlorination system - but at this point it would be overkill for our problems. Any thoughts on a chlorination system vs. UV light system?

    I had been talking with a company online, Budget Water, that sells systems that you can purchase and install yourself. Their systems are even cheaper than the local well company. But I know that cheaper isn't always better so I want to be confident that whatever systems we get, will fix our problems and last a long time. Budget Water recommended a chlorination system with the retention tank (they call it a terminox with a chemical feeder). However, in talking with them, some of the systems use soda ash. I am not at all familiar with soda ash, but from what I read it doesn't seem the healthiest way to treat these issues. Has anyone had experience with a system that uses soda ash?

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    UV and any type reducing bacteria but especially IRB isan't going to work. Th ebacteria will coat the quartz sleeve and that prevents transmission of teh UV into the water surrounding the lamp.

    Since only the Kinetico guy sees IRB, I doubt you have it, the same for tannins but if you have to treat IRB, chlorine is the better choice. Check the toilet tanks for a clear to black snotty slime at and below the water line. Flush and as the water goes down (in the tank, not the bowl) rub the plam of your hand on the surface at and below the water line, it should be slightly rough and not slippery slimey. If you have the slime then you have IRB but... That doesn't mean it is a problem because it is a harmless group of bacteria and usually doesn't cause a problem unles you have a lot of it. If so then shocking the well properly can seriously reduce the numbers for some time, usually many months.

    The 9100 is a twin tank type softener vontrol valve and unless you are consistently using water 24/7, you don't need a twn tank softener.

    As to Budget Water, they do things much differently than most dealers do. I suggewt you do a search for "water Softeners" + Fleck just like that and you'll find many other online dealers to ocmpare to.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    I would seriously consider getting a proper water test done on your well. Has anyone done anything other than basic tests? Have any of the dealers recommended getting a real laboratory test done? Considering how inexpensive they are, and the conflicting results you are getting, you should consider this. Water Test America is a popular choice, and for their $99 test, it is extremley inexpensive. Surprisingly, their is someone on this board that doesnt believe water testing is necessary, but considering you will be drinking and bathing in this water, I think $99 is a good bargain.
    Last edited by ditttohead; 11-28-2012 at 07:29 PM.

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    Water Test America is a popular choice, and for their $99 test, it is extremley inexpensive.
    I just looked at their website; their $99 "Well water basics" is said to include "TOTAL COLIFORM BACTERIA and E. COLI (FECAL) BACTERIA, METALS (PRIMARY AND SECONDARY): LEAD, ARSENIC, COPPER, IRON, MANGANESE, SODIUM, INORGANIC AND PHYSICAL FACTORS, NITRATES, HARDNESS, COLOR AND ODOR THRESHOLD." No mention of H2S, IRB or SRB, but this short list may not be all-inclusive. Their $199 "240 contaminant well test kit" does list everything covered, but doesn't inlcude these common smell-producing items, possibly because the sample gets too stale in the mail for accurate analysis. For not much more, you can buy Hach tests to cover most items of real interest.

    Gotta give 'em credit for for jumping on the fracking paranoia, though.

  14. #14
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    I just looked at their website; their $99 "Well water basics" is said to include "TOTAL COLIFORM BACTERIA and E. COLI (FECAL) BACTERIA, METALS (PRIMARY AND SECONDARY): LEAD, ARSENIC, COPPER, IRON, MANGANESE, SODIUM, INORGANIC AND PHYSICAL FACTORS, NITRATES, HARDNESS, COLOR AND ODOR THRESHOLD." No mention of H2S, IRB or SRB, but this short list may not be all-inclusive. Their $199 "240 contaminant well test kit" does list everything covered, but doesn't inlcude these common smell-producing items, possibly because the sample gets too stale in the mail for accurate analysis. For not much more, you can buy Hach tests to cover most items of real interest.

    Gotta give 'em credit for for jumping on the fracking paranoia, though.

    They have done a good job of marketing, but even so, I dont think it is paranoia to test water. I think it is prudent if you are not on a regulated supply to have your water tested.

    A couple years ago I was visiting a jobsite in Brawley California, the crop dusters were all over the place spraying their chemicals, and I dropped by a guys house whos water was direct from the most disgusting stagnant channel I have ever seen. His comment... "Ive been drinking this water for thirty years, why woud I care whats in it?". I took a sample and had it tested, coliform, lots of interesting chemicals, ecoli fecal bacteria, ... If nothing else, this guys immune system was very built up!

  15. #15
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditttohead View Post
    I dont think it is paranoia to test water...
    Me either; I didn't mean to imply that. I have my well tested every few years for coliform and E. coli, but the county does that for free. I've got Hach tests for all the common items plus H2S, IRB, SRB, and SLYM, but the last 3 are pretty pricey, so I probably won't continue them after the current expiry date of my 3-pack. There's nothing in the environment to suggest a need for anything more exotic, and the well is in 200' of limerock, so all in all I feel pretty safe.

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