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Thread: Odor - Hot Water only (within a well-water, water softener system)

  1. #1

    Default Odor - Hot Water only (within a well-water, water softener system)

    We have a water-odor issue, but it's only on the Hot Water side of our well-water system (with a water softener).

    My family owns a house in Michigan we use sporadically. The well water system is connected to a water softener that’s been in place for about 12 years.

    When we leave the house, we flip the switch to the well to “off,” open all faucets, turn the gas HWH off, and during the winter leave the heat on its lowest setting. We do not empty the hot water heater.

    Upon our return after a few weeks or more, we start everything up and though the cold water is fine, the water from the HWH has an odor, sort of like rotten eggs. Before re-lighting the HWH, I’ve tried to “flush” the water inside the HWH by opening the hot water side of all faucets to run for an hour. This allows the system to dilute the water that has been standing in the HWH so that the odor subsides. If we use the house for a few days (showers, dishwasher use, etc) eventually the hot water does not include an odor.

    Any suggestions as to how I can avoid this issue, to keep from having stinky water, and also to keep from having to run faucets for an hour? If a certain type of salt (or salt substitute) will work, I’ll try it. Thank you.
    Regards,
    Richard

  2. #2
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    http://www.ehow.com/how_7894797_put-...er-heater.html

    The low temperature setting of a hot water heater will encourage bacterial growth. Santizing the water heater is the first step.

    The link above is actually not too bad. You can also do the heat sanitization method but use extreme caution when doing this. Do not allow the kids or the elderly access to the water during the time of heat sanitization. Turn the water heater to its maximum setting for an hour. The burner should turn itself off after a short amount of time after it has reached its maximum temperature. The water can cause extreme burns almost instantly at these high temperatures. Let it set for an hour, run the hot water through the lines of the house, and set the temperature back down to its proper setting.

    This will usually take care of the problem.

  3. #3

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    Wow. Thank you, Dittohead.

    I had no idea it could have been bacteria. For a number of reasons, I will employ the heat sanitization method during my next visit in May. Since I will likely be alone during that trip, hazards to others should not be an issue.

    I truly appreciate knowing this, and while I will not keep the heater lit while being away for several weeks at a time, I will heat the standing water to as hot as possible before using it. Again, thank you.
    Regards,
    Richard

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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    I had similar problems even during normal use. Initially I replaced the stock anode rod with one designed to suppress bacteria growth, but I now have a solar water heater that easily maintains the water at 160° and no longer have a smell problem. That's also hot enough to kill Legionella, which is comforting. I maintain the high temperature to the kitchen, but use a tempering valve to the bathrooms to drop it to 125° or so.

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    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
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    Nicely done Mikey. I have seen too many people brag about how hot the water is with their solar systems and send it throughout the house. The potential for serious or deadly injuries is greatly increased with that hot of water. The use of proper tempering valve designs is critical.

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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
    The use of proper tempering valve designs is critical.
    Well, we'll see if this is a proper design. It's a Cash Acme Heatguard 110D, working OK now, but in the summer the cold water side can easily be 120° as the in-attic piping warms up. I don't know what will happen when the cold side gets way out of whack, but I'll find out. It's only a temporary situation, since the cold water flow from the well will pretty quickly drop the temperature to 70° or so. Timing is everything, though -- the hot side rests at around 120° also, so it'll be a race to see whether the hot or cold gets to the valve first. If it turns out to be a problem, I can move the tempering valve to be farther from the water heater and closer to the incoming cold water.
    Last edited by Mikey; 03-29-2013 at 04:53 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    That's an excellent link. I did the same thing for a couple of years, but got tired of it. It was a little more trouble for me, since the water heater is difficult to get access to. The replacement anode did the trick for me for years, and the super-hot water is the icing on the cake, to use a lousy metaphor. Randy's comment about stagnant water being more difficult is obviously true -- that's another issue.

  9. #9

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    Thank you to everyone for the suggestions. I'll ask the local handyman (who has done great work for me in the past) to rig one of these. It seems like this, combined with super-hot water upon our initial arrival, will do the trick.

    Again, thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Smooky View Post
    Regards,
    Richard

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