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Old 07-06-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
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Hot water odor advice


We’ve been in the house over 20 years. We have a conditioner due to high iron in the well water. We never had an odor problem before.

In August we had a Geothermal Heating system installed and second 80-gallon hot water tank that pre-heats our hot water by the output of our air conditioner. We started noticing an odor in out hot water in January and had our conditioner checked. By May the odor was really bad and we drained the bottom of the hot water tanks and what came out was literally black! We changed the anode rod in the electric tank but that did not solve the problem.

This past weekend we chlorinated the well and that has solved the problem (so far). Of course we have no idea how long that will last.
Our plumber is recommending a $1,200 UV light system that needs to be serviced every year. I think this is overkill!

Is there any type of manual chlorine injection system that we can mount at the input to our dual hot water tanks? My thought is to chlorinate the hot water tanks manually every so often, maybe twice a year if necessary, but I’d like to do it without having to open up the tanks in any way.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:38 AM   #2
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Hot water odor advice


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Originally Posted by papageek View Post
Weíve been in the house over 20 years. We have a conditioner due to high iron in the well water. We never had an odor problem before.

In August we had a Geothermal Heating system installed and second 80-gallon hot water tank that pre-heats our hot water by the output of our air conditioner. We started noticing an odor in out hot water in January and had our conditioner checked. By May the odor was really bad and we drained the bottom of the hot water tanks and what came out was literally black! We changed the anode rod in the electric tank but that did not solve the problem.

This past weekend we chlorinated the well and that has solved the problem (so far). Of course we have no idea how long that will last.
Our plumber is recommending a $1,200 UV light system that needs to be serviced every year. I think this is overkill!

Is there any type of manual chlorine injection system that we can mount at the input to our dual hot water tanks? My thought is to chlorinate the hot water tanks manually every so often, maybe twice a year if necessary, but Iíd like to do it without having to open up the tanks in any way.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
I also had a bad smell from my hot water tank and black grainey stuff coming out of the taps. I also changed the anod rod to an aluminum one also and still didnt help. what did help was to turn up the temperature on the tank by 20 degrees and it disappeared in 1 day. It is going on one week and all is fine. good luck.

Alec

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Old 08-12-2011, 10:04 AM   #3
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Hot water odor advice


I don't really think that a UV light is going to take care of an odor. . .

I've never heard of it before anyway, but I guess that doesn't mean it isn't possible.

The "annual servicing" is just changing out the bulb every 12 months. Make sure you get a unit that has a timer on it that will alarm at 12 months, have him leave you a spare bulb, and have him show you how to change it. It's not that hard.

I do think that the idea above of turning up the tank 20 degrees is worth a try.

If that works, then you should have a tempering valve put on the outlet so that you're not getting 150 degree water at your fixtures.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:20 AM   #4
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Hot water odor advice


Thanks for answering my thread Alec, but our problem goes deeper.

We have two hot water tanks. The first one is pre-heated by our geothermal heating and A/C system. The second is a standard electric hot water heater.

We really canít increase the temperature because the pre-heated tank depends totally on how often our A/C runs. I think this is a problem related to two things, going green, and our water chemistry. A geothermal A/C system uses the hot side of the compressor to pre-heat your hot water so the temperature of the tank canít be controlled. The same would be true if you had solar hot water.

In our case the smell is coming from a high level of magnesium in our well water. EPA standard is <0.05 mg/L. Ours is 1.0 mg/L.

Weíve most likely had the problem for a long time and installing the geo system merely made it obvious for the reason you just stated. We canít control the temperature.

Actually, after having our water tested 2 weeks ago, our plumber who we trust completely had a chlorine injection system specked out. Itís being constructed as I write this and will be installed next Tuesday.

I did just give him a call to make sure the lab who specked things our knows about the ďtepidĒ hot water tank built into our system.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #5
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Hot water odor advice


Thanks for the reply Alan,

I was writing my post to Alec while you were posting.

As you can see, we are not going with the light bulb, which I was not happy with anyway. The water chemistry said we need Chlorine and a large holding tank, 110 gallons, to allow the chlorine to mix with the water before it goes through a charcoal filter to take the chlorine back out.

Oh well, there goes all the saving for the geo system for the first couple years

Iíd add a smiley face after that, but donít know how to insert one upside down!
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for the reply Alan,

I was writing my post to Alec while you were posting.

As you can see, we are not going with the light bulb, which I was not happy with anyway. The water chemistry said we need Chlorine and a large holding tank, 110 gallons, to allow the chlorine to mix with the water before it goes through a charcoal filter to take the chlorine back out.

Oh well, there goes all the saving for the geo system for the first couple years

Iíd add a smiley face after that, but donít know how to insert one upside down!
I also have a geothermal hot water tank. There a 2 panels on mine, which are upper and lower. So i opened the panels only to find the bottom panel temp gauge set as low as possible, so thats when i turned it up 20 degrees and gone was the smell and black sediment coming out of the taps.

Alec
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:42 AM   #7
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Thanks Alec, I'll look into that.

My system has two tanks. An 80 gallon tank that is heated only from the geothermal system, followed by a standard 50 gallon electric water heater.

But I will check to see if there is a temperature setting on the geo tank

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