Whats that smell? Volume ii - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Whats that smell? Volume ii

Posted 03-18-2009 at 03:13 PM by faucetman886

Of all the articles that I have written the one titled ďWhatís that Smell?Ē has been the most popular. I cross publish some of my articles on some Ezine (thatís internet magazine slang) sites for further exposure and the chance to help more folks. This article consistently gets the most reads and comments and the problem is still one of the most frequently discussed in the chat rooms and forums. Now at my house the problem probably stems from too much fiber in my diet and I handle it with an industrial strength air freshener but most everyone else has septic or sewer gas (methane) seeping in to the house as I discussed in the aforementioned article. There is another offending problem, the rotten egg smell in the water not in the room is caused from sulfur dioxide. This rotten egg smell happens mostly to people who have well water. The reason this smell happens is because of the iron in the well water and from iron leeching from old cast iron piping in older homes. Water heaters do not tolerate this iron content. The odor happens when the iron in the water comes in contact with the aluminum anode rod in the tank, the purpose of the anode rod is to act as a sacrificial catcher of the impurities entering the tank and as it does that, it slowly dissolves. This rod needs to be replaced with one made of magnesium. The rod is located on the top of the tank usually behind and between the hot and cold water supply and looks like a big nut. A new magnesium anode will cost about $25 and to change it you will only need a socket set or wrench. The follow are the simple steps to facilitate this replacement:
Step1 Turn your gas control valve to the pilot position or trip the circuit breaker to turn the power off to the water heater. Turn the water supply off to the tank. Drain your tank completely. There should be a hose bib connection at the bottom of the heater on which you can connect a garden hose and drain to the closest drain or run outside. To be safe from a scalding danger let the heater cool off before draining.
Step 2 Remove the aluminum anode rod by loosening the old rod from the top with a socket of the appropriate size or with a wrench and replace it with the magnesium rod.
Step 3 The warranty on your water heater is based on the thickness of the anode rod, on a 6 year warranty the anode rod is dissolved in the 5th year, on a 9 year tank in the 8th year and so on. If you read the manual in some cases it states that if you remove the rod your warranty is voided. Regardless choose a rod of the thickness that will correspond with the age of the tank so that the dissolving will coordinate with the life expectancy of the tank. If you only have 5 years left on the tank there is no need to install an 8 year rod.
Step 4 Once you accomplished the removal and replacement of the rod itís time to flush the tank. With the boiler drain valve at the bottom of the tank open, turn the water on in short spurts to flush as much of the iron sediment out of the bottom of the tank. You may have to repeat this numerous times so as to flush as much as you can to clear the tank.
Step 5 Now you should be ready to fill the tank. Shut the bottom boiler drain. Open the pressure relief valve to allow air to escape and turn the water supply back on. Turn on at least one hot water faucet in the house so your water pipes donít fill with air which will cause your faucet to sputter and can contribute to water hammer. Shut your pressure relief valve the minute you see water and then turn off the faucet.
Step 6 (optional) To limit the amount of iron from entering your plumbing in the future install a sediment filter at the entry point of your water supply. Average cost should be $40.00. This will also help to keep your faucet aerators clean and increase your water pressure if it is inhibited by clogged aerators.
Step 7 Now you are ready to set your gas valve back to the on position or turn the circuit breaker back on.

Please note that you can burn your heating elements up in a hot water heater by turning it back on with no water in it, so make sure it has completely refilled before restarting.

Hopefully this will eliminate your smell problem with the water. If the smell is coming from a drain or you smell it in a room when you walk in, please refer back to my original article mentioned at the beginning.
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  1. Old Comment
    Great post. Thanks for blogging!
    Posted 03-20-2009 at 11:02 PM by Nathan Nathan is offline

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