Hot water in the house is meant to be a modern-luxury, but if what you are getting from the tap smells like rotten eggs, it can feel and smell anything but luxurious. Take a look at some of the common myths about smelly hot water.
Myth: Smelly hot water is usually related to the water supply and not the hot water heater.
This myth is usually relatively easy to debunk. Simply flush all the hot water from your water lines by allowing the cold water only to run for about 30 seconds or longer. Grab a clean glass, capture the cold water, and take a whiff. If you do not smell anything, you have an issue with a foul odor in your hot water heater and not with your water supply.
Myth: If your hot water smells funny, you need to replace the unit.
Even though it can be rather concerning to have a foul odor coming from your hot water heater, this is not usually a sign that the full unit needs to be replaced. In fact, many water heaters go to the landfill or recycling center annually due to a simple problem like a foul odor when they could be fixed and offer many more years of service.
Myth: Smelly hot water can't be solved with a water heater flush.
A hot water heater flush is a general part of maintenance that should be done about every year. Typically, this process is done to eliminate sediment inside the tank, but it can also be helpful if you have bad odors coming out with your hot water. Sometimes, a flush can help with the issue if water has grown stagnant inside the tank due to idleness, which can be an issue in homes that sit empty for long periods of time.
Myth: You can add bleach to the hot water tank and get rid of the smell.
It is never a good idea to try to add any kind of chemical to your hot water heater tank in order to eliminate an odor. the chemical residue can damage the interior of the tank as well as the heating elements and other components. If you bring a plumber to your home to tackle the issue, they may use special solutions for cleaning, but these solutions will be used and then carefully washed away so there is no remaining residue that could pose a threat to the health of the unit.
If you're suffering from smelly hot water, reach out to a residential water heater repair professional to learn more.