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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Well water smell..

Had a new deep well, 250 feet, put in about a month ago. Currently awaiting water test results to come back but thought I would ask here for some thoughts.

After the well was put in and flushed, the cold and hot water looked and smelled fine. After about a week pr so, the hot water started getting the rotten egg smell and finally got bad enough you could smell it throughout the house when someone turned on the hot water.

So after doing some searching, I decided to up the temp on the water to to 150 degrees, left it overnight, then drained it the next day. Set temp back down to about 125 degrees. Did this as I had read that the smell could have been due to a bacteria and the high temp would kill it off. Then flush to get rid of the old water.

So after about a week, the smell slowly returned but not as bad as before. So I then again decided to repeat the process but this time have left the temp turned up to about 145 degrees. Yes, I know about the safety issues but this is more of a test than a fix. It has been a week now but the smell has not returned.

What I have noticed after using the water more though is that every once in a while for a second or two, I get the rotten egg smell from the cold water. Smell never lasts and water always tastes fine and is always clear.

So now some quick past history. I had this well done as my 26 foot well had started going dry due to lack of rain. So instead of having to worry about his every time we had a prolonged dryness we decided to go ahead and put in a deep well. After the fact I had noticed that in the toilet tank, not the bowl, that a black stringy growth had started. Now that we are on the new well the growth is completely gone. In some of my research I have found that certain items, I think iron or something, will cause this growth. I am thinking that this started with the really low water and slow recovery in the old well.

So what is the possibility that the issues I am having with the new well could partly be that some of the issues with the toilet could have happened in the hot water tanks and possibly the expansion tanks and the new water is reacting with it? Or could it be that there is something in the water and by keeping the temp up it is actually killing off or prohibiting the creating of the foul odor?

I will know more this week once I get the results back but wanted to get more opinions.


boaterbob
Premium
join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

Begin by reading:
»www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/···ers.html

or the shortened URL:
»preview.tinyurl.com/do32p



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

So, I had already seen that site as it was one of the ones I came across during my research. I am guessing that the high temp may be killing off the bacteria before it has time to react. Espicially given that the smell has not reoccurred since turning up the temp.

I know that the results from the water test will give a better picture and what direction I should take. But again, was looking for some insight from others, especially those that have had to go through this personally.


laserfan

join:2005-01-14
Texas
reply to ropeguru

A new anode rod might help, but if it doesn't you could spend a heckuva lot of money to try to eradicate what to me sounds like possibly a minor problem in the general scheme of things.

I'd start by having a talk with the well driller. He's gonna know a lot about what you're experiencing and will likely have the best advice for you (given all local conditions are different).

I have a 705ft well with water that not only smells as yours, but tests at 120gpg (very hard water is >10!!!!).

We put in an aeration tank and aux pump (well pump sprays water into aeration tank, aux pump draws on this tank & serves our domestic water) and this solved our smelly water problem though we still had to soften the heck out of the hard water...



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

yeah... Talked to the well driller and his comment was that it is probably hydrogen sulfide gas and that eith an air injection, carbon filtration, or both would work. Apparently he has seen this in the area. Have not had time to catch up with him for my options and prices if that is what it is.

One thing I forgot to mention is that when the temp was turned down onthe wather heater and we had the smell, it was turning the tub brown. Just the tub and nothing else. After turning up the temp the color has not returned.



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
reply to ropeguru

The smell is probably hydrogen sulfide and nothing to worry about. The gas is very common in deep well water in our area. I'll bet you can fill a glass of water and within ten seconds you will not be able to smell anything coming out of the glass. If you chlorinate the well, the smell will go away for a while but come back again. We freaked out when we smelled it when we moved into our prior house more then two decades ago. The 200 foot well had just been dug. I had someone (who was fortunately honest) come out and test the water who told us not to worry about it. That was a great well and produced more water then I could possibly use IF I had a family of 12 with a swimming pool. My neighbor used to come by the house and fill up water jugs because she liked the taste of our water so much. About ten seconds after the water leaves the spigot, the smell is gone. I would find small particles of coal in the water every now and then, which made me wonder whether coal wasn't the source of the hydrogen sulfide. Enjoy your new well.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Yeah, the output of the well is great. It flowed 16GPM for over an hour with very little drop in water level.

I am not smelling the odor in the cold water at all with the exception of a brief one or two second whiff and then it is gone. It is the hot water that when the temp is turned back down into the safe range, 125 degrees or so, that the smell is so bad that it will run you out of the house.

The taste is great and we love it. Even when boiling the water we do not get any smell. Only from the water heater when the temp is lower. We just found out that natural gas is available to us and I am wondering if eliminating the hot water storage might work by going to an on demand heater.



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

We smelled it more with hot water. You smelled it more in the shower than anywhere else. I just assumed the higher temperature caused the gas to outflow at a higher rate. I'd save your money and learn to live with it. You get used to it quickly once you are sure it is not harmful. I never put in a filtration system which they tried to sell me. I lived there 13 years.



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to ropeguru

I would highly recommend a standard gas hot water heater with a pilot (not electric start). When the power goes out as it often does in our area, you have hot water. It will pay for itself in energy savings over a few years. I've looked in to the on-demand systems and from what my plumber tells me, they break down a lot and are not worth the trouble. I've lived in this house 13 years and have replaced the hot water heater once.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to Kramer

said by Kramer:

We smelled it more with hot water. You smelled it more in the shower than anywhere else. I just assumed the higher temperature caused the gas to outflow at a higher rate. I'd save your money and learn to live with it. You get used to it quickly once you are sure it is not harmful. I never put in a filtration system which they tried to sell me. I lived there 13 years.

I would deal with it but the WAF of the smell is not there.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

Sorry, I do not understand that sentence.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

1 recommendation

WAF = Wife Acceptance Factor

having smell = irritating wife



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

Ohhh, totally understood now. I can't help you there Tell her I said she will get used to it... I'm sure that will help

I be more afraid of the chemicals a filtration system might expose you to. In the end a filtration system is probably the only fix, but don't let someone sell you a chlorine drip system. That will hurt the resale value on the home, because people will assume the chlorine is for bacteria, which a properly functioning drilled well will not have.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

said by Kramer:

Ohhh, totally understood now. I can't help you there Tell her I said she will get used to it... I'm sure that will help

I be more afraid of the chemicals a filtration system might expose you to. In the end a filtration system is probably the only fix, but don't let someone sell you a chlorine drip system. That will hurt the resale value on the home, because people will assume the chlorine is for bacteria, which a properly functioning drilled well will not have.

From what I was told I would only need an air injection or carbon filtration system. So no chemicals needed. The carbon filtration systems I have looked at use a backwash setup and no media replacement. So overall it might not be too bad.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

I had another neighbor that had one of those and he liked it. It looked like a big scuba tank.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

said by Kramer:

I had another neighbor that had one of those and he liked it. It looked like a big scuba tank.

Yep.. About 5 feet tall and 12 inches wide. Supposedly the only maintenance is the backflush which can be done automatically.


Jim
Premium
join:2003-02-10
reply to ropeguru

»www.hellenbrand.com/my_files/Pro···roch.pdf
This is the one we have but the water right out of our well is very 'fragrant'. I don't really know what the filter media is but it works like a charm.
We also have a softener downstream of this.
--



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
reply to ropeguru

Sounds good. It's only money and the happiness of the woman of the house is priceless.



Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to ropeguru

If you smell it in the hot and cold all the time it's most likely the hydrogen sulfide gas. If you only smell it in the hot water then it's most likely the bacteria in your water heater. Based on your description it might be hydrogen sulfide gas. However since it's only a second or two on the cold it's possible the hot and cold are mixing a little at certain fixtures, giving you that couple seconds of smell from the cold. I don't know anything about how to get rid of the hydrogen sulfide gas, but I do know about getting rid of the bacteria. You have 5 options:

1. Dump bleach or hydrogen peroxide into the water heater on a regular basis
2. Keep the water heater really hot and install a mixing valve to temper it down to safe temperatures
3. Remove the anode rod(s) altogether and replace your water heaters more often as they will fail sooner
4. Install an electric anode rod (remove all other normal rods)
5. Buy a water heater that doesn't use an anode rod. Rheem Marathon is one such unit.

I have read about people switching from magnesium to aluminum anode rods and some people claiming they work and others not having success. That seems very hit or miss so I don't recommend it. I tried that on ours and it didn't help at all. I pulled the anode rod out and put a cap in it's place. When my water heater dies I'll be buying the Rheem Marathon.



PSWired

join:2006-03-26
Annapolis, MD

2 recommendations

reply to Kramer

said by Kramer:

I would highly recommend a standard gas hot water heater with a pilot (not electric start). When the power goes out as it often does in our area, you have hot water. It will pay for itself in energy savings over a few years. I've looked in to the on-demand systems and from what my plumber tells me, they break down a lot and are not worth the trouble. I've lived in this house 13 years and have replaced the hot water heater once.

When the power goes out, his well pump will not be working and he'll have no water, hot or cold


StillLearn
Premium
join:2002-03-21
Streamwood, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Midwest
reply to ropeguru

I would do either or both of these.
1. Put in a filter similar to this: »www.discountwatersofteners.com/t···oot.html That Centaur Carbon media is really good.

Expect to pay $250 to $300 for installation. Put it right after your pressure tank to handle the whole house. You could go to the bigger one if you have a lot of use. This actually removes sulfur and iron compounds, as well as some other stuff.

2. For the water heater, buy a "powered anode". Search that term. It will cost a fair amount of money, but it will protect the water heater. The reason your hot water smells is that the zinc anode reacts with sulfur compounds to make hydrogen sulfide. Removing the current anode is often suggested, but that will hasten the leaking of your water heater. Switching to an aluminum anode will not protect as well. Expect to use an impact wrench with a big socket to remove the existing anode. The manufacturers would prefer you buy a new tank. When you install a replacement anode, powered or otherwise, you don't need nearly the torque that you needed to replace the anode. Use Teflon tape.



ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

I had looked at some of thsoe setups minus the solution tank. When I pipe mine in, I am going to T off before the filter to run piping to the outside faucets. Really do not care about the water they get. Will probably end up doing the install myself. Doesn;t look too hard.

Also saw the powered anode and was wondering if they were worth it.


garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
·callwithus

said by ropeguru:

Also saw the powered anode and was wondering if they were worth it.

They are if you have a water softener. The sodium or calcium ions in the water really can accelerate corrosion in the heater.


Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2
reply to PSWired

said by PSWired:

When the power goes out, his well pump will not be working and he'll have no water, hot or cold

Very true, senior moment. Like almost everyone I know around here, if he doesn't have a generator, he will soon. It takes a large portable to power a water pump. It takes a small sub station to power a water heater and a water pump.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Since I now know I can get natural gas here, my plan is to put in a whole house generator that is NG powered. Won't get used very often so with NG no worry af the fuel sitting and going bad.



Kramer
Premium,Mod
join:2000-08-03
Richmond, VA
kudos:2

Since the 1990s, I think my average has been a power loss for 5 days or more, once every 3 years.

Expand your moderator at work


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Re: Well water smell..

Tests requested were a bacterial and chemistry. Samples were taken form cold water tap that had not been used 8 hours. THree samples taken. First was immediate and was first draw for chem, second and third were after running water for 2 minutes and were a 2nd draw chem and bacteria.

Was planning on turning temp down on water heater since it has been up now for over 7 days @ 50 degrees.