Sulfur Smell In Hot Water? Here’s 4 Ways To Fix It.

Sulfur Smell In Hot Water is a Widespread Issue

Sulfur smell in hot water

Plumbing and water treatment companies are often faced with complaints pertaining to bad odors emanating from the water heaters. These unpleasant smells are commonly described as ”water smells like rotten eggs” or ”sulfur smell in hot water”.

The odor issues can cause numerous problems for the inhabitants, and often becomes a topic of conversation when guests are around. Today, we present the optimal, most efficient, method to get rid of this sulfur smell in water.

What Are The Causes of This Sulfur Smell In Hot Water?

First and foremost, it is worth noting that the sulfur smell in water can be caused by a number of different reactions.

If the odor is present only in your hot water, it is usually created by the presence of sulphate-reducing bacteria (sulfur bacteria) in your hot water tank. In some cases, it can also be caused by a chemical reaction between your magnesium rod and the hot water.

If the Sulfur Smell is present in both hot and cold water, the problem usually comes directly from the water source and it’s caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas in the water underground. Since it’s coming from your water supply, this problem is the most expensive to fix since you need water tests and water treatement systems.

Here Are The Best Ways to Stop The Sulfur Smell in Hot Water

Preventing the Development of Sulphate-Reducing Bacterium 

Generally seen living in a low-oxygen environment such as water heaters, deep wells, as well as in the plumbing network, this sulfate reducing bacteria take their energy from sulfur. Since they usually proliferate in hot water, it is standard for the rotten egg smell to amplify when faced with these environments.

Temporary Solution: Concentrated Chlorination Treatment 

A temporary solution would be to do a concentrated chlorination treatment (chlorine bleach), which involves adding a predetermined amount of chlorine to your well and circulating the water through all your water systems. Once the smell of chlorine is noticeable throughout your home, simply let the water run until the smell disappears.

It is not recommended to use or consume this water for 24 hours after treatment, which makes this solution much less convenient. In addition, since this is a temporary solution, keep in mind that odors will be back in 1 or 2 months.

Permanent Solution: Corro-Protec Powered Anode

Since 2012, there’s a new way to solve this sulfur smell in house water and it’s guaranteed to work. By creating an environment in the water heater where the sulphate-reducing bacterium is not able to survive, the Corro-Protec anode will be able to stop that sulfur smell in only 24 hours.

In addition to being guaranteed for 20 years, the Corro-Protec only takes 15 minutes to install. Today, more than 80,000 households have adopted this solution and solved their hot water odor problems for good.

Corro-Protec Powered Anode Rod
Sulfur Smell In Hot Water? Here's 4 Ways To Fix It. 3

“Our house was having the sulfur smell in our hot water for some time after putting in a new hot water heater 9 months prior. After several attempts to shock our water and asking around for suggestions, we took to the internet and found Corro-Protec on a YouTube demonstration.

Best $$ we have ever spent. Anode rod was easy to install and smell was 90% gone immediately. Was completely gone by my morning shower so I was happy!!!’

Laura P.
United States

Rectifying This Reaction Within Your Water Heater 

Each water heater is equipped with a magnesium anode rod in order to temporarily limit corrosion within the tank. In most cases, the smell of sulfur will be caused by high levels of magnesium content water that comes into contact with the original anode already present within the water heater.

If the odor issue in your home water plumbing system comes from the reaction between the magnesium anode and your water, several options are available to you. However, it is important to know that these options are not all good in the long run.

Remove Magnesium Anode (NOT RECOMMENDED) 

It would be possible to eliminate these odors by completely removing the magnesium anode from the tank. However, doing so is very dangerous for the water heater because it will then be without its protection against rust. The weakest and most exposed places will then rust faster forcing you to change your tank after only a few years.

Replace the Magnesium Anode With an Aluminum Anode 

It is also possible to replace the magnesium with an aluminum anode. Water will no longer have a poor chemical reaction while supported by the new anode, and odors should completely disappear.

However, even though aluminum anodes are cheaper than magnesium anodes and last longer, the main issue is that as the anode dissolves, debris tends to harden and sink to the bottom of the reservoir. This can potentially end up in your faucets and cause breakage. In addition, some scientific research raises concern regarding aluminum residues found in water which could have adverse effects on people’s health.

Install an Powered Anode 

In conclusion, a powered anode is the ideal solution to these problems, because in addition to stops this sulfur smell in hot water in a few hours, these anodes are made from insoluble titanium, which limits their debris.

In addition, this technology requires no maintenance and is good for several years. Corro-Protec anodes are easy to install in your existing tank and will fix the problem, no matter what the cause of the odors, in just a few hours.

” Yes! The dreaded sulphur smell is gone. I did try an aluminum anode but was still getting the smell.

I ran my old water heater without an anode for over two years until i got a blast of crap blocking my tub faucet valves and elected to buy a new tank and along with a Corro- Protec Anode. So far so good and enjoying the green lighted comfort feeling furnace room now “

Yvan T.
Ontario, Canada

Other Kind Of Smell

It is important to know that a water softener will not solve the sulfur smell problem. Be aware that there are other kinds of odors in hot water tanks. This article is only about how to deal with sulfur odor problems. If you have other issues, you can read our full article :

https://www.corroprotec.com/blog/hot-water-tank-isnt-working/

See how Corro-Protec anode can stop sulfur smell in your hot water.

About Vincent Veilleux

After earning my Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the UQTR University, I entered the water heater industries to explore my passion for new experiences and green technologies. In addition to my primary job fonctions, I also studied at NACE about Corrosion and Cathodic Protection.

127 Comments

  1. T. Taylor on April 27, 2020 at 8:09 am

    We had an expensive system put on our well due to high Iron and magnesium, along with an acidic pH and a bit of hardness. Improved the water quality dramatically; however, with two 50 gallon water heater, the hot water side still smelled of rotten egg or “metallic” in a sense.
    I researched and bought a Corro-Protec for each and installed them two days ago. In less than 24 hours there was no detectable odor AT ALL from our hot water! None!
    I did have a minor glitch in that one of the two power supplies, though lit green, was humming loud enough to be heard from several feet away, but, in an after hours text to the “Contact Us” number, I got a response in minutes asking for my address to send another power supply!
    I definitely appreciate the responsiveness and felt compelled to chime in on just how well this product has worked so far! Worth every penny! Installation, besides getting to and removing the original anode, is actually pretty easy, as well.

    • Chris Adams on June 4, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Thank you for your detailed comment. I definitely learned a lot!

  2. Jessi Olsen on April 3, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    we have naturally high sodium water – we bought this place and it had a brand-new hot water tank. After a couple months of living here, it started to smell when we showered and used hot water… We tried shocking our hot water tank with hydrogen peroxide, it worked great but, unfortunately, the effect only lasted 4-5 weeks before the smell returned. We then tried to replace the magnesium rod with an aluminum zinc rod. We put some hydrogen peroxide in when we did the replacement, but low and behold, smell returned after 4 weeks same as the magnesium anode. My question is, what’s next? Do we need to shock the well? Does the electric titanium anode work if we already know a zinc aluminum anode does not?

    • Corro-Protec on April 5, 2020 at 7:20 pm

      Hello Jessi,

      If you replace the magnesium anode with an aluminium one and you still have the smell, it means you have the sulfur reducing bacteria inside your water heater. The only way to solve that will be to install one of our Corro-Protec Powered Anode. This way, you won’t have this rotten egg smell anymore!

  3. Pat on February 25, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Couldn’t believe it but this product took care of our sulfur smell in hot water couple minutes after installation!!! Thank you sooooo much !

    • Yeimi on July 26, 2020 at 11:38 pm

      Hi I just moved in to this rental they changed the whole water pump unit and put in a new one but water is still smelling horrible both hot and cold I keep asking my landlord to pls fix it and her handyman just keeps telling me to wait that it will go away its been almost 3 months and still having very smelly water it seems like he dont want to fix the problem a have little infants and toddlers and having to wash bottles with this smelly water is not an option for me so have been buying gallon water for washing his bottles who can I call to check out the problem

    • Joanna Slaven on August 3, 2021 at 8:59 am

      well installed the corp protect Saturday smell went way down and water better looking too.. it’s now Thursday and just a slight smell…

  4. Sandy on February 7, 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Can you help me locate the anode rod on the Rheem XE50T10HD50U1?

  5. Nikki on February 4, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Does this work if you have a salt water softening system?

    • Corro-Protec on February 5, 2020 at 11:17 am

      Hello Nikki,

      Yes, it’s working with a salt water softener!

      Regards,
      Vincent

      • Dominique Routhier on July 27, 2020 at 12:31 am

        Hi, we installed a Corro-Protec after years of looking for a solution to the very unpleasant odor coming out of our hot water in our cottage. This was a miracle! Now we have a trailer by the cottage with the same issue. It’s a 10 gallon little tank with no anode! Is it possible to add one? That would be wonderful

    • Pat on February 25, 2020 at 10:44 pm

      We have a water softener and it took care of the smelly water immediately

  6. Drew on January 29, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    I have a 38 gallon water heater is there a certain size anode I need to buy?

    • Jimmy on April 23, 2020 at 3:11 am

      I cannot find any information here on the location of the anode in the hot water heater can you show me where to find that information

      • Corro-Protec on April 23, 2020 at 8:22 am

        Hi Jimmy,

        The anode should be located under a plastic cap on the top of your water heater. If you are not sure, you can search the model number online to find the owner manual and it will be detailed where the anode is.

        Regards,
        Vincent

  7. Stephanie Warner on January 27, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Hi
    We have a bad smell in our laundry which has the hot water cylinder in it. The smell varies in strength but seems worse in the mornings when we are using the hot water most often. There doesn’t appear to be any smell coming from the water out of the taps though. Any ideas?

    • Corro-Protec on January 30, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Hello,

      If you have smell coming from only one specific place, the cause of the smell is somewhere in the fixtures or pipes supplying this specific faucet.

      Regards,
      Vincent

  8. Joseph on January 14, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Just installed mine a wk ago was pretty sceptical of it working but so far it has worked exactly as promised!! Worth the money!!

  9. Tare Delaney on November 10, 2019 at 9:54 am

    when you bath in that water when it has a bad smell odor real loud would it harm your body or your lungs or make you sick smelling it

    • Corro-Protec on November 11, 2019 at 8:14 am

      Hello Tare,

      We are specialized in cathodic protection and unfortunately we can not answer medical questions. The different scents in hot water can come from various sources, if in doubt, you should have your water analyzed by experts in water treatment.

      Thanks,

      Vincent

  10. Tom on November 3, 2019 at 7:04 am

    I don’t have any odor in my cold water. I still have sulphur odor in my hot water after removing the anode. Will this product still remove the smell?

    • Corro-Protec on November 5, 2019 at 2:24 pm

      Hello Tom,

      Yes, our Corro-Protec powered anode rod will take care of that sulfur smell in your hot water!

      Regards,
      Vincent

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