Most homeowners use hot water on a daily basis to shower, clean dishes, and disinfect laundry. A water heater works to maintain a ready supply of heated water that can be sent to the plumbing fixtures throughout your home. If you notice that your hot water supply suddenly has a strange odor, this could be an indication that your water heater needs some work. Try addressing your smelly water problems by taking action in the following ways.
1. Check for odors in the cold water supply.
It's important to determine if the odors that are emanating from your hot water supply are affecting your home's cold water supply as well. Turn on the cold water tap and allow the water to run for a few minutes. If you can smell the same odor coming from both your hot and cold water, then your municipal source water or private residential well may be contaminated. You will need to call for professional help addressing source water issues.
2. Replace the sacrificial anode in your water heater.
Once you have determined that only your home's hot water supply has a strange odor, you can start troubleshooting your water heater. Many strange smells are produced when the sacrificial anode rod inside your water heater's tank reacts with water that has a high concentration of sulfates. Over time, the sulfates can eat away the anode rod and leave your water supply smelling a bit funny. Replace the anode rod if it appears to be compromised and you should be able to eliminate the odors plaguing your hot water supply.
3. Flush your water heater's tank.
If the sacrificial anode rod isn't the problem, then sediment buildup inside your water heater's tank might be producing the odors you notice when accessing hot water in your home. As water sits in the tank waiting to be used, minerals and other sediments within the water settle on the bottom of the tank.
These sediments form a crusty layer that can begin to break off and contaminate your hot water supply. Emptying the water heater's tank completely and scrubbing the interior surfaces clean will help remove odor-causing sediments from your hot water system. An experienced plumber can flush your water heater regularly to ensure the appliance performs as efficiently and safely as possible.
Don't let strange odors in your hot water system cause you discomfort. Troubleshoot your water heater to prevent more serious performance problems and to eliminate foul odors from your water supply in the future. For more information, contact your local water heaters service.