Can a Water Heater Flush Solve Smelly Water?

Aug 08, 2022

If hot water from your sink or shower smells like rotten eggs, you could need a water heater flush. Hot water that smells like rotten eggs can mean you have hydrogen sulfide in your water. Fortunately, a water heater flush can often solve the issue by cleaning out any sulfur bacteria inside the tank. Learn more about the main cause of rotten egg smells, how to know if your water heater is at fault, and why a water heater flush is often a good smelly water solution.

What Causes a Home’s Water to Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

When your water smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, there’s a good chance the issue is in your water heater. Typically, a sulfuric smell indicates that hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria is in your plumbing system. When bacteria builds up inside your tank, it will interact with your water heater’s aluminum or magnesium anode rod. This interaction then produces hydrogen sulfide gas, creating the rotten egg smell.  

How Do I Know If My Water Heater Is the Cause of a Sulfur Smell?

While bacteria and hydrogen sulfide gas in your water heater tank are often the cause of a rotten egg smell, you’ll want to see if the smell changes based on the temperature of your water. If your cold water doesn’t smell like sulfur, but your hot water does, you can feel fairly confident your water heater is at fault. However, when your cold water also smells like rotten eggs or has another bad odor, you likely have another plumbing system issue that a plumber will need to identify.

Can a Water Heater Flush Be a Smelly Water Solution?

If you find that your water only smells like rotten eggs when it’s hot, you can often solve the issue with a water heater flush. Though you should be flushing your water heater at least once a year, many homeowners forget to regularly flush their water heater, leading sulfur bacteria to grow in their tanks and create a bad smell.

A water heater flush allows you to remove the bacteria from your tank and the smell that comes with it. When you hire a professional plumber to handle the flush, they’ll drain the water heater’s tank of all its water and then rinse the tank to remove any sediment or bacteria inside of it. Once the tank is clean and ready to be refilled, the smell should be gone.

What If My Water Heater’s Anode Rod Is Rusted Through?

Besides flushing your tank, the plumber should check the status of the anode rod before leaving your home. If the plumber finds that your water heater’s anode rod has rusted away or is seriously corroded, you’ll need more than a flush to solve the issue. Anode rods are designed to absorb rust to prevent it from spreading to the tank. Over time, your anode rod will start to break down and interact with sulfites in your water. 

When you have a significantly corroded rod, a flush will only stop the smell for a short time, as the interaction between the corroded rod and sulfites will increase the creation of hydrogen sulfide. As a result, you’ll want a plumber to replace your old anode rod with a new one and perform a water heater flush to solve the rotten egg smell.

Choose Newcomb and Company for Water Heater Flush Service in Raleigh

If your water is smelling bad and you’re looking for a plumber near you in Raleigh or the surrounding areas, Newcomb and Company is ready to help. Our certified plumbers regularly provide water heater flush services to homeowners and businesses in the RDU area. Besides providing water heater flushes to solve smelly water and prevent rust, we offer several plumbing services, such as drain cleaning, shower repairs, and toilet replacements. 

Learn more about our plumbing services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule a water heater flush, please contact us.

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