Upon taking a warm shower, it can be incredibly shocking to be covered in smelly water. When bacteria gets within a water heater, the resulting smell of the hot water can be impossible to ignore and require immediate attention.
Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to restore the water heater and remove the odorous bacteria from your household’s hot water. By using one of the below solutions, you can have the effectively return freshness to hot water and make sure that your water heater remains in good condition.
Initially, you will want to check the anode to see if it has been compromised or become corroded. If it has, you may be required to replace it to cut down on the production of bacteria. While selecting a new anode to replace the corroded one, it is better to buy a aluminum or zinc one that will lead to a lower production of bacterial creation within the water heater. If you can help it, avoid replacing your anode with a magnesium one as these often break down at a faster rate.
This solution relies upon shocking the water heater tank with high levels of bleach or chlorine in order to completely kill off the bacteria residing within the tank. As a principle, you will need to pour one gallon of bleach or 1/2 gallon of chlorine for every 30 gallons of water within the heater. For complete instructions on sterilizing your water heater with bleach, click here.
As a final solution, the temperature of the water heater can be raise to a level in which hot water will not be able to survive. To perform this task, the water heater must reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71 degrees Celsius for 3-6 hours. Doing this on a regular basis should have the effect of keeping bacteria levels down and maintaining fresh smelling water.
As a precaution, raising the heat to this level can be dangerous with some water heaters. It is highly recommended that you first contact your water heater dealer to consult on whether your heater can sustain this temperature of heat or whether it is beyond the model's limitations. If you receive positive confirmation from your dealer, be sure that they outline how to operate the pressure relief valve before trying this method.
If all else fails, you might be in the market to buy an entirely new water heater. If this is the case, you can use the following guide to purchase and install a brand new water heater.
Photo Credit: Scott Akerman