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Specialists in Electric Hot Water Cylinders

Why Does My Hot Water Smell Bad?

16 May 2023

Ideally, when you open your tap, you’re rewarded with a stream of hot, clear water ideal for washing up or bathing. However, if instead you receive a stream of water that smells very strongly of rotten eggs, there could be an underlying problem. Why does your hot water smell bad? Let’s investigate a couple of potential issues.

1. You’re Not Using Your Hot Water Often

One potential issue is that you’re not using your hot water very often and your thermostat is set too low to kill off the bacteria in your water. This allows sulphur-producing bacteria to thrive and spread throughout the cylinder, causing bad-smelling water.

2. You Have a Water Softener

If you have hard water, you might have invested in a water softener. While this will do wonders for your skin and hair, it doesn’t do a lot of good for your water supply. This is particularly true if your unvented cylinder uses a magnesium anode rod. The magnesium reacts with the soft water to create sulphate gas within the cylinder, which causes bad-smelling water. Note that this will also be accompanied by air and water coming from the tap.

3. You Use a Well but Haven’t Treated It

Well water is often touted as being healthier and cleaner than water from the municipal water supply. That can be true in many cases. However, it’s important to realize that if you don’t use the water in your well, it sits stagnant until you do. That gives plenty of opportunity for bacteria to begin thriving. The solution? Treat your well regularly with chlorine to kill off unwanted bacteria.

Treating Bad-Smelling Water: Step 1

The first step in treating bad-smelling hot water is to determine whether the cause is within the cylinder or outside of it. To do this, you’ll need to open just the cold-water tap. Catch water in a glass or another vessel. Smell the water. Does it smell like rotten eggs? If yes, then the problem is outside your unvented cylinder, and you will need to treat the problem at its source. However, if your cold water smells fine, then the problem is within the cylinder itself.

Treating Bad-Smelling Water: Step 2

If the problem is within the tank itself, you’ll need to contact a professional. Never attempt to service an unvented cylinder on your own. The high pressure inside the cylinder makes that very dangerous.

A professional, certified plumber from EasyFlow can come to your home and inspect your unvented cylinder. Depending on the results of the investigation, they may recommend flushing the cylinder, treating it with a hydrogen peroxide mixture, or replacing the cylinder entirely. Note that if your cylinder is 10 years old or older, a replacement will usually be the recommendation. The average cylinder only lasts 1015 years.

If your hot water has started to smell like rotten eggs, the best option is to call for professional help. The experts at EasyFlow can help you clear up the problem quickly.


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