Test To Determine If Your Hot Water Tank Is Causing The Sulfur Smell

Sometimes, about 10% of the time, the sulfur smell is caused by the anode (see pic) in your hot water tank. It can seem like you have sulfur on both the hot and cold water. Here are the instructions

on how to determine if the sulfur smell is caused by the anode or source water.

There is a quick test you can do to help determine if the smell is caused by the anode. This is important because if the sulfur smell is caused by the anode in your hot water tank, applying a sulfur remover will not remove the sulfur smell. This is because your hot water tank is after the sulfur remover.

NOTE ONE; If you have outside taps and have smelled sulfur in the past, you most likely have sulfur in your source water, you don't need to do this test.

NOTE TWO: If you never had a sulfur smell and have recently changed your hot water tank a few months prior to the smell surfacing, it could be caused by the anode. So doing the test could not hurt.

NOTE THREE: If you have a tankless hot water heater this would not apply to you.

The test

Go to your kitchen tap and let only the cold water run for 20 minutes. This will help clear the pipes of any sulfur gas. After 20 minutes, fill a glass of water up and quickly bring it to your nose to detect a smell. Having another person around such as your spouse can help you detect a faint smell.

Repeat this 4 to 5 times. If there is a strong or faint smell, you have sulfur and will need to treat with a filter. If you do not have any smell on the cold water, turn off the cold and turn on the hot water. If the water starts to smell once it gets hot, the smell is most likely caused by the anode.

How to fix the anode

If you rent the hot water tank, call your rental company and tell them the anode is causing a sulfur smell in your water. They will fix it for you.

If you own the hot water tank, find the manual, locate the anode and remove it. You will need to turn the water off, remove the cap that holds the anode and take a saw and cut it off.

After, put about a half bottle of bleach in the tank and put the cap back on. Let the water sit in the tank with the bleach for about 6 hours. Then you can flush out the bleach with hot water tap on running in the bath tub. Basically, let the hot water run for about 30 minutes in your bath tub to drain it of the bleach.

About the anode

The anode is literally a "pain in our side" for water treatment professionals. It is there to alkalize the water from within the tank and theoretically extend the life of the tank by about 10%. The truth is no one really knows if it actually works or not.

When you research online what to do, you will find people for and against removing it. I have been doing this for more than 12 years and my advice is to simply remove it, don't replace it with another one.

If you have a functioning water softener, the anode is not needed.

Hope this help.