Water Quality

Why does my water smell?

There are three common ingredients required to generate the hydrogen sulfide odor that gives water its rotten egg smell: sulfur, hydrogen, and bacteria.

It is possible to replace the magnesium anode rod that protects the surface of your tank with a special aluminum alloy that will reduce hydrogen creation and lower the potential for odor. You can also completely remove the anode rod, but this is not recommended as it voids your warranty and shortens the tank’s life.

The best way to control odor is by reducing bacteria that is present in the tank. Sulfur eating bacteria is resistant to high water temperatures, so the best way to combat it is through sanitation.

The following steps outline the proper procedure for chlorinating a water heater:

Turn off the water and power supply or gas supply to the water heater.

Drain several gallons of water from the drain valve on the water heater.

Remove the hot water outlet nipple and Magnesium anode rod assembly.

Pour a 1⁄2 to 1 gallon of chlorine bleach into the water heater through the hot water outlet opening.

Re-install the Aluminum anode rod.

Re-connect the hot water supply line to the hot water outlet on the water heater.

Turn on water supply and draw water at each hot water faucet in the residence until a Chlorine odor is noticed.

Once the Chlorine odor is noticed turn off the faucets and allow the bleach to sit in the water heater and water lines for a minimum of 3 hours, but a full day is desired.

After Step 8 has been satisfied turn on and draw water at each hot water faucet in the residence until a Chlorine odor is no longer present.

Turn on the power, or gas supply to the water heater.

What causes a milky/cloudy appearance when running my hot water?

This condition can be caused by various factors:

Aerators at faucets introduce additional air to the water and when collected in a glass the agitated water appears milky or cloudy.

Additional air can be introduced to city water supplies at the pumping station when air is pumped into the water mains to increase pressure.

In private well water systems, artesian pressure can cause air entrapment.

When water utility companies switch from one deep well source to another, excessive air can develop in the system.

Soluble gases such as Oxygen, Chlorine, Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen Sulfide and others may be present in the water. These gases may come out of solution as the water temperature increases.

Underground temperature changes in water sources (particularly in spring and fall) cause air to expand.

In these examples, the oxygenation causing the discolored water (small bubbles) may be unpleasant to look at but clears up in a short time. If not, the water company should be consulted. Any air found in the water is not considered harmful and will not cause any adverse effects.

See also:

Service Bulletin 114

Why is the water gray/black in color?

Magnesium, a harmless and colorless chemical, will occasionally mix with oxygen, which then creates a black color in your water. Even though a reaction has occurred, the chemical is still harmless, and the water safe to drink.

Why is the water rusty/brown in color?

This condition is usually caused by a buildup of materials inside of the tank. These materials can be comprised of water softener resin, rust from plumbing systems, sand, clay, and other naturally occurring substances.

A possible remedy for any of the above conditions is to drain the tank and thoroughly flush the inside surface. See flush procedure.

See also:
Service Bulletin 117

Why do I run out of hot water?

Either your system is not providing its maximum supply of hot water, or your hot water demand is too great for the system.

There is only one way to determine whether or not a water heater is operating properly. Immediately after the water heater has completed its heating cycle, all of the hot water should be drawn from the heater at approximately 3 gallons a minute, and the temperature measured in the process. This can be done with the use of a standard mercury thermometer and a standard 3 or 5 gallon bucket. Note the number of buckets of water drawn off to reach a point 30 degrees lower than the highest temperature. Multiply the number of buckets drawn off by 3 (or 5) (the number of gallons per bucket.) This figure should then equal, or exceed, 70% of the rated capacity of the heater.

If 70% of your volume capacity is efficiently drawn off and operating recovery time is normal, then it can only be concluded that your demands are greater than the water heater’s delivery ability.

See also:
Service Bulletin 111-1 | Service Bulletin 111-2 | Troubleshooting Electric | Troubleshooting Gas

Why is my water heater making noises?

There are two main conditions that may cause tank noise; Water Hammer and Mineral Build-up.

Water Hammer - Water hammer occurs when this non-compressible liquid, flowing through a pipe at a given pressure and velocity, is stopped abruptly by quick closing valves such as solenoid valves on clothes washers and dishwashers. Single lever faucets can also create these “shock waves.”

Consequently, damage can result to piping, water meters, storage tanks, water heaters, temperature and pressure relief valves and pressure regulator gauges.

This kinetic energy force can be controlled by installation of water hammer arrestors, expansion tanks, or pressure only relief valves in cold water make-up lines at 25 to 50 pounds less than the temperature and pressure relief valve setting on the water heater.

Mineral Build-up - The noisy condition is a result of lime formations or sediment collecting on the tank bottom or on electrical elements. It is not uncommon to find quantities of sand and other minerals settling out of the water and onto the tank bottom.

Hand cleaning of parts by scrubbing or vinegar may help to reduce build-up. Flushing the tank is also an option, but removing all of the materials may prove difficult on electrical models. If the build-up is not addressed, the system may require element replacements.

In hard water areas, the best solution for eliminating the noise problem is to install a water softener, to inhibit scale build-up.

See also:
Service Bulletin 121 | Service Bulletin 123

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