Smelly Water Problems

If you have smelly water coming from your water heater follow the directions below to get your water smelling and tasting better.


What causes water heater odor?

The most common cause of hot water odor is bacteria in the water system.
This is more prevalent in homes that use well water and cities that use wells as their water source.

Setting your water heater temperature at 140 degrees or above should help cut down on bacteria growth.


How to remove smelly water

The directions are for cleaning your water heater with chlorine bleach ( clorox).

Shut off the electric or gas supply to the tank.

Turn off the cold water supply to the tank.

Open the hot side of the kitchen faucet to allow air to enter the tank.

Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and drain water heater.

Close the drain valve.

Now you need a way to get the bleach into the tank.
If your water heater has a flexible line where cold water enters the tank, unscrew the line from the tank.
If not, remove the pressure relief valve. An element could be removed from an electric water heater.

Use a funnel to pour the bleach into the opening.
Use 5 ounces of bleach for every gallon of the tank capacity.
Example - A 50 gallon water heater would need 250 ounces of bleach ( about 2 gallons).

Reinstall the water line or relief line.

Refill the tank with water.

Close the hot side of the kitchen faucet as soon as all the air is out of the line.

Run all hot water fixtures ( including the dishwasher and clothes washer ) until you smell bleach.
The idea is to kill the bacteria in the water lines also.

Let the water stand in the water heater tank and water lines undisturbed for two to three hours.

Drain your tank again and refill it. Let it set undisturbed for 30 minutes and drain the one more time.

Refill the tank. Open all of the hot water fixtures and let them run until the smell of bleach is gone including the dishwasher and clothes washer.


Gas Water Heaters
Relight the water heater pilot light.

Electric Water Heaters
Turn the power back on.

If the drain valve clogs up when your tring to drain the tank go to the flush hot water heater page to see how to replace the drain valve with a ball valve.

You may have to repeat this procedure more than once but usually one time takes care of smelly water or water heater odor.


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