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    Electric water heater water stinks after returning from vacation?

    Ever wondered why the water from electric heater smells if not used for some days? Looking out for understanding the reasons behind this and a solution to resolve this problem? Find advice from experts here.

    One of the first thing when return from vacation we do is take shower. But sometimes we smell stinking water initially come out like rotten something. It's obvious it is caused by water which stayed electric heater in idle situation for so many days and started forming bacteria.
    These bacteria are cause of this smell but my question is what can be done to take preemptive action to avoid this in first place?
    Is there way to forcefully empty heater tank by closing inlet flow?
  • Answers

    4 Answers found.
  • The smell is mainly due to stagnation of water in the heater for a long time. What I suggest is you add a little quantity of potassium permanganate in your overhead tank and then leave the water out what is there in the electric heater so that the heater will have only the water after getting treated with permanganate. Still after coming back if there is a smell in the water heater you have to close the inlet water into the heater and vacate the heater tank. Then you can open the inlet so that fresh water will come into the heater. It is better to add once in a while a little permanganate to the overhead tank.

    always confident

  • Using potassium per magnate or chlorine powder for disinfecting the overhead tank is a good practice especially when the water is contaminated from the municipal sources itself.

    Otherwise, simply opening the tap connected to geyser for sometime will empty it out and fresh water from the overhead tank or direct pipeline will replace it. Doing this for 2-3 cycles will get rid from the stinking odour.

    Periodic cleaning of the overhead tank is also a pre requisite for having clean smell less water in bathrooms.

    Knowledge is power.

  • The aluminum anode rod of water heater needs to be replaced to prevent such smells. You should change anode rod to extend the life of water heater. Sulfer smells are intensely rare in municipal water systems. By far the most common cause of smelly water is bacteria that is in some water and its this bacteria that reacts with other minerals in your water as well as the aluminum anodes in your water heater that creates the hydrogen sulfide gas, making the rotten egg and sewer odor that you smell in your water. To get rid of the smell of well water by rubbing a hose bib or tap as close to the well as possible and fill A5-gallon bucket or other container and notice if there are odors. If the water smells like asphalt or oil this can be from manganese. If water smell like a rotten egg then the odor may be present only when the water is first turned on or when hot water in run. It smells like fish because of occuring organic material in the earth like barium pr cadmium metals. Water smells like Rotten egg can occur when water comes into contact with organic matter or with so lme minerals such as pyrite.

  • A.If we leave the water heater unused for a long time or use it at low temperatures, then the water coming out can be malodorous. At times this foul odour can be related to the major water source to the water heater/house, for instance the overhead tanks or underground tanks that store water.

    So, it would be simple to see whether the foul smelling water is from the hot water or from other pipes which would indicate that the storage tank is the culprit.

    Often, we find discouloured water ( light brown tinge) coming from the water heater, while the rest of the pipes have clear water. This would indicate that there is rust built up within the water heater.

    Generally the traditional water heaters(the elements) last for 3-5 years, the newer ones last for 5-10 years ( depending on the use and hardness of water). So, if the life of the water heater is long overdue then we need to consider replacing it.

    If the raw water pumped in has high sulfates, then also, we can have foul smelling hot water. Bacteria in the water reduce sulphate to sulphide and can inturn be converted to hydrogen sulfide.

    Most conventional water heaters have the anode elements that can produce sulphur, magnesium or aluminium. The anaeorbic bacteria in water react with the sulfur to produce 'HYDROGEN SULFIDE' gas ( the rotten egg or foul fish odour we used to get in our chemistry labs).

    Using this water can lead to sense of vomting( because of the foul odour), headaches, irritability or fatigue etc.

    B.1.It is not advisable to switch off the water inlet control valve to the heater. If we are returning from a vacation, then the simple thing would be to flush the pipe by allowing them to discharge water for a few minutes.

    2. Turn on the water heater and then empty the water a couple of times, this flushes away the sufide and the water with bacteria also.

    3. If you have an exclusve supply from an overhead tank to the water heater, then you can add common household bleach to chlorinate the water ( the techniue used in swimming pools and small tanks). Roughly 2 liters of bleach for 150 liters of water. The contact period is around 7-8 hours, then run the water off.

    4.If you have a common water connection, the you need to empty around 4 liters of water from the water heater if you have a draining valve and disconnect the inlet pipe, add bleach water via the cold inlet and then allow the contact time to elapse, this is better done by a professional.

    5. Hydrogen peroxide (around 500 mls for 75 liter tank) can also be used to get rid of the smell in the water tank/heater.

    6. Potassium permanganate is also used to counter foul odour in water because it is a strong oxidant. Around 0.5 mg/liter can help in reducing the water.

    C. You can drain the water from the water tank. This is done by closing the water inlet and attaching a suitable plastic/rubber hose pipe to the mouth of the drain valve that is located in most water heaters. You need to check with the brochure of your water heater to see whether this is advisable.

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