Rotten Egg Odor In Hot Water

The source of a sulfurous or rotten egg odor in the hot water system, but not the cold water system, may be due to desulfovibrio bacteria.  A water heater can become contaminated with desulfovibrio bacteria, which is harmless to health and which thrives in (usually stagnant) hot water in the presence of magnesium (the material usually used for the anode of a hot water heater).  A sample of the hot water can be tested for this contamination by a water testing lab.  If the result is positive, a possible solution is to shock sanitize the tank with hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach.  It may also be necessary to replace the magnesium anode rod with an alternate anode rod material such as aluminum.

It is recommended to consult your local plumbing contractor for further details and remedies.

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About Bruce Low

Inspector of homes, condominiums, cottages, multiplex residential structures and light commercial buildings for buyers and sellers. Maintenance, preservation, and safety inspections for home and building owners. Rental Weatherization (DILHR), caretaker, and construction progress draw inspections. Radon testing. Licensed, bonded and insured.