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Old 10-23-2018, 06:10 AM   #1
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Hot water sulfur smell and anode rod?

Hi all! This year we noticed a significant sulfur smell from our kitchen hot water tap. Iíve read the smell can be caused by a reaction with the magnesium anode rod and that it might be fixed by using a magnesium rod. Can anyone verify that so I can decide what to do next spring? The smell isnít a bacteria smell, as Iíve been careful to chlorinate the water in the fresh water tank all the time and the cold water tap has no smell. Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 10-23-2018, 06:45 AM   #2
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Hi all! This year we noticed a significant sulfur smell from our kitchen hot water tap. Iíve read the smell can be caused by a reaction with the magnesium anode rod and that it might be fixed by using a magnesium rod. Can anyone verify that so I can decide what to do next spring? The smell isnít a bacteria smell, as Iíve been careful to chlorinate the water in the fresh water tank all the time and the cold water tap has no smell. Thanks for any suggestions.

Check out video #5 at this link below provided by Suburban. It explains what you are describing and how to fix such:


Suburban Water Heater Video Guides
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:05 AM   #3
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Fairly common if you are leaving the water in the hot water heater when not using it.
We typically leave the water in ours if we expect to go back out in less than a month. Sometimes that is too long and it smells. I usually simply pull the anode/drain when I get home while I'm unpacking. Once it's drained I put the anode/drain plug back in. I usually place a piece of painters tape over the electric switch so I don't accidentally turn it on until it's re-filled.

That's important-- shut off the gas and electric to the water heater when you drain it. If you forget and leave the electric on and plug in at your next camp site you will most likely immediately burn out the heater element.

Happy Camping!
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:15 AM   #4
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Fairly common if you are leaving the water in the hot water heater when not using it.
We typically leave the water in ours if we expect to go back out in less than a month. Sometimes that is too long and it smells. I usually simply pull the anode/drain when I get home while I'm unpacking. Once it's drained I put the anode/drain plug back in. I usually place a piece of painters tape over the electric switch so I don't accidentally turn it on until it's re-filled.

That's important-- shut off the gas and electric to the water heater when you drain it. If you forget and leave the electric on and plug in at your next camp site you will most likely immediately burn out the heater element.

Happy Camping!


Thanks, KyDan. Do you think the smell is due to the water reacting with the anode or actually due to bacteria? I debate about that. Iím no mechanic and have never actually pulled the anode out myself. The dealer winterizes for us and replaces the anode when they dewinterize. So Iíd love to avoid having to drain the tank between camps. We go out almost every weekend in season so it doesnít sit long. But I hear you. It might be the only solution.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:21 AM   #5
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I'm surprised it smells in just a week but once it happens it's easier to happen again. I wish I could give you an answer but other than removing and replacing each time I have no other solution.
Good luck!
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:44 AM   #6
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Next spring when you take it out of storage...it's time to do a water sanitation to your system. do a search in the forum here and there are all kinds of posts about it. Also Youtube tutorials on how to do it Basically you need to sanitize all your water lines as well as the hot water tank...1/4 cup bleach for every 15 gallons of fresh water capacity. Many of us in the forum do that at least annually, usually part of the de-winterizing process.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:33 PM   #7
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Check out video #5 at this link below provided by Suburban. It explains what you are describing and how to fix such:


Suburban Water Heater Video Guides
Thanks. Good resource.
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:36 PM   #8
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One other potential issue is the water supply itself. As a lifelong user of well-water, if the household supply is used to fill the fresh tank, or if an RV park's water has a high sulfur content, you will notice the sulfur odor from the hot side more than the cold. And if water is left to sit in the tank, the sulfur may be more noticeable.

This does not discount the other possible causes...it's just another option.
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:59 PM   #9
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Hot water sulfur smell and anode rod

Every weekend when we leave our trailer for the week, we turn off the electric / gas to the hot water tank before our round of golf. By the time we get back the water has cooled somewhat but is still warm enough to wash hands etc. We then drain all of the hot water out of the hot water tank by turning on taps and draining the lines into the holding tank. We have found that when the hot water sits in the tank for a week, it is very stinky after sitting for the 4 or 5 days .

Enjoy!

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Old 10-23-2018, 09:26 PM   #10
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Every weekend when we leave our trailer for the week, we turn off the electric / gas to the hot water tank before our round of golf. By the time we get back the water has cooled somewhat but is still warm enough to wash hands etc. We then drain all of the hot water out of the hot water tank by turning on taps and draining the lines into the holding tank. We have found that when the hot water sits in the tank for a week, it is very stinky after sitting for the 4 or 5 days .

Enjoy!

dnicoll

I'm not arguing against your practice. If you detect any odor, definitely do what you are doing.

I believe, however, this is more related to the quality of water entering your system. We are fortunate to have a "good" well. We do not need to soften our water, and there is no odor straight out of the well.

I de-winterize (winterized with air compressor...no RV antifreeze) and fill 'er up, and I do not drain my hot water heater all summer. It gets drained once a year for winterizing (or again if we resurrect the rig for balmy winter weekend then winterize it again - Colorado presents several such opportunities each winter).

Because we winterize with a large air compressor, I have sanitized the system with bleach only once...when we bought it. Since I don't introduce anything into the water system other than our own well water and compressed air, I've never had to sanitize it again. RV antifreeze only goes into the sink traps and toilet.

I do drain the fresh tank, largely because, unlike the hot water heater, it's a giant plastic tub, so I am concerned that water that stays in there for long periods might pickup a taste from the tank...and I like to give the tank a rest from holding the weight of leftover water. It also exercises the drain petcock, and I've noticed that it can be a bit stiff to operate if it isn't used regularly.

Admittedly, the quality of our well is just dumb luck. But we don't go to RV parks where we'd take "pot luck" on park water - ever. We always boondock and bring all the water we need from our home well. The fresh tank and 4 x 7-gallon jugs will last us beyond 5 days - we've never used the 4th jug. And our home well is not "treated municipal water" - complete with chlorine, fluoride, and god knows what else to turn river water (grey and treated black water and runoff) into drinking water.

Your experience is not "wrong." I just think it has more to do with the quality of water entering the RV than with issues of storage/time. And, by all means, when in doubt, dump the hot water tank, fresh tank, open the low-point drains and faucets and empty the system.

We are indeed blessed to have such a great well. Let's hope it stays that way.
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