water heater

Without our home’s water heater, we would have to take cold showers and deal with cold tea all the time. As with all important things in our home, our water heaters should be well-maintained so we can lengthen their lifespan and ensure that we are getting the best quality of water out of them.

Now, there may be a time when you have overlooked a few important steps in your water heater maintenance, causing a strange odour to come from it. Others characterise the smell as chemical-like, while some would attribute it to the smell of rotten eggs. The truth is that you are actually smelling a component known as hydrogen sulfide, a very risky substance that is neither good nor beneficial to your health.

Even as you are reading this, there is a chance you are currently getting a whiff of the strange smell from your heater. If you would like to know more about it and see if you may do something about this strange odour problem.

In that case, look no further than the helpful pieces of information we have listed below for your reference.

1. How Does Hydrogen Sulfide Get Into Your Water Heater?

Even if you did not add any material or liquid to directly contribute to the occurrence of hydrogen sulfide in your water heater, there might still be an offset of it due to two main reasons.

The first reason is attributed to the high sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB) count in your water supply. Remember, some households are not fitted with a water filter to lower the bacterial and germ counts within their water; hence, these harmful organisms may affect the quality of your supply overall.

The second reason is focused on your water heater component, usually being the cause of corroded magnesium or aluminium anode rod. This is quite easy to fix; you just have to replace the said component so that your water supply will no longer get contaminated moving forward.

2. How Do I Get Rid of the Odour?

Your most viable option would be to contact your local plumber to flush out the heater for you. The smell will still remain if you are not going to do this. Not one drop should be left so you can be sure that future supplies will remain to be clean. If you want to be sure about its quality, you may install a filter to do most of the heavy lifting for you.

You may even hit two birds with one stone, as you can also assign the plumber to replace the corroded rod if needed. If you are unsure if it’s still in great condition, ask them to inspect it as a whole.

3. How Do I Prevent It from Ever Happening Again?

You have two main options to avoid the occurrence of hydrogen sulfide. We had already mentioned the installation of a water filter, so put that at the top of your list. The second method is replacing your usual heater rod with the zinc or aluminium-zinc alloy anode. Those materials are not prone to corrosion; thus, you can be sure that they will last you longer than their magnesium counterpart.

Ask about this the next time you interact with your plumber so that they may prepare the needed materials.


Clearing your water heater of hydrogen sulfide can be a daunting task; that is why it is always advisable to call an expert plumber to do the job for you. If you are unsure of whether or not your heater is contaminated with it, you may check for all the major signs that may indicate its occurrence.

Familiarise yourself with all of the helpful information above, and do not hesitate to call the plumber at the first sign of trouble.

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