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How to Get Rid of Hot Water Odor

Hot water in your home can sometimes begin to develop a pungent, rotten-egg odor. This smell comes from the hot water tank and is a result of bacteria growing in the water. The bacteria reacts with magnesium and aluminum in the metal of the hot-water heater and they begin to emit a strong odor.

Hot water odors from hot-water heaters.

Things You Will Need

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Screwdriver

Hot water in your home can sometimes begin to develop a pungent, rotten-egg odor.  This smell comes from the hot water tank and is a result of bacteria growing in the water.

The bacteria reacts with magnesium and aluminum in the metal of the hot-water heater and they begin to emit a strong odor.  This problem happens most often for those who draw water from a well.

It can also happen if you don’t use your water heater very often. 


Using Heat

  1. Raise the temperature of your water heater by adjusting the thermostat. Raise it so that the water is above 140 degrees F.
  2. Let the water heater sit for several hours. During this time, keep children away from faucets as the hot water coming from them can cause serious burns. During this time the hot water will kill the bacteria.
  3. Readjust the heater to the normal temperature.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. Turn on a hot-water faucet in your home to drain a few inches of hot water from your hot-water heater.
  2. Remove the lid on the hot-water heater. This may require opening latches or unscrewing screws that hold the lid in place.
  3. Pour 3 pints hydrogen peroxide into the hot water heater. The peroxide will kill the bacteria but will not damage your health.
  4. Replace the lid of the hot-water heater.
  5. Turn on all the faucets in your home for several minutes until the smell is gone.
  6. Tip

    Contact a professional plumber to replace the anode in the water heater if the smell returns.

Things You Will Need

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Screwdriver

Tip

  • Contact a professional plumber to replace the anode in the water heater if the smell returns.

About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images