Water quality Hot water dribbling from faucet

Published on March 26th, 2018 | by Henri

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Tap water smells bad

Q.  I am hoping you can help me. I have foul smells emitting from both the cold and hot water faucets in my home. The hot water heater is barely 6 months old so I doubt that the anode rod could be the problem. One of the “solutions” for my problem that I found online suggested I turn the water heater up for 12-24 hours to kill any bacteria in the lines. This did not help.

I have well water and wondered if chlorinating the well would do the trick. You probably covered this in one of your former columns (thanks, by the way, for coming back into my Daily Herald each Sunday), but I don’t recall what you had to say. Presently, the odor is not too bad, and if I run the water, the stench clears up. Maybe the fact that we have had such a dry summer has had an effect.

Thanks for any suggestions you might have and keep up the column.

A. As you assume, it is unlikely that the sacrificial anode is failing this soon and the fact that the foul smell is also present in the cold water also indicates that the water heater is not the culprit.

Raising the temperature in the water heater to 140 F is a code requirement in many areas to kill bacteria, and it also require the installation of a mixing valve to reduce the temperature of the water to a non-scalding 120 F.

Sulfur-like or rotten egg smells are usually caused by bacteria in the well or the rock through which the well was drilled. Depending on its origin, the odor may be simple or more difficult to eliminate. The best approach is to have a water quality expert test your water to identify the bacteria causing the foul smells. Some bacteria may not be a health danger, but it is always a risk. He or she can recommend a fix.

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