For the last while, we’ve had a sulfur (like rotten eggs) smell coming from our hot water.
There are several possible causes for this. Because it’s only there when we run the hot water, that comes down to only two possible causes.
One is the rod in the tank needs changing. Since our tank is less than a year old, we know that’s not the cause.
The other is bacteria. The smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide from the bacteria. Not an uncommon problem, and only slightly more common on well system. The bacteria itself is harmless. The smell is just unpleasant.
The way to treat the smell from hydrogen sulfide is hydrogen peroxide. This is a septic friendly treatment, too.
Getting the hydrogen peroxide into the hot water tank is the issue.
I found some instructions and videos online. The basic way to do it is;
First, shut the water off to the hot water tank.
Next, drain some of the water out.
Then, open up into the tank at the cold water pipe (where that is in the system depends on the tank, it seems) and pour in about 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide per gallon. So for our 40 gallon tank, it would need about 4 cups of hydrogen peroxide. After that, the tank is closed up, the water turned back on, and it’s left to sit for about 3-4 hours to kill off the bacteria. The peroxide breaks down over that time, so by the time it’s used, there is no longer any hydrogen peroxide left.
I don’t like the idea of opening the tank.
In reading some comments under one of the sites I found, a different way to get it in was suggested.
When draining the tank, the water will automatically stop flowing after a while, because a vacuum forms. What was suggested was to tape a hose to a faucet, then put the other end into a container with the hydrogen peroxide. The hot water tap is turned on, and the vacuum suctions the peroxide from the container into the hot water tank.
So that’s what I tried.
This is a sink in the basement, which we never use. It doesn’t even have drain pipes; just a bucket under the sink.
Locally, we could only find small bottles of peroxide containing just under a cup, so we got 4 of them, which I emptied into one container. The hose is from an old set up we had for our aquarium that I used to get water from our sink to a 5 gallon bucket. It fits into the tap. I tested it after Gorilla Taping the hose in place and were are no leaks.
As you can see in the picture it did work.
For a bit.
However, there just wasn’t enough of a vacuum to take up more than about 1 1/2 bottles of peroxide.
That’s likely not enough to get rid of the bacteria, but I really don’t want to open up the tank if I can avoid it. It’ll just mean some air gets in the tank, which will come out when we run the taps later.
I just don’t want to mess with our new tank!
Update: Well, several hours later, and the smell is gone! It looks like it was enough peroxide. Maybe we caught it early enough, before it got too bad, since we haven’t had the smell for very long. Here’s hoping it stays away! 😀