Can Anode Rod Causing Rotten Egg Smell: Learning into the Facts

You probably have asked yourself, “Can anode rod causing rotten egg smell?” when the water has this foul and unpleasant smell. The answer is likely yes, especially if you have a tank-style heater with a sacrificial (anode) rod.

Sacrificial anode rods play a pivotal role in the longevity of your water heater tank. Still, their effectiveness can be influenced by factors such as water softeners and the overall quality of your water supply.

Over time, these rods will corrode, especially when exposed to hard water, accelerating the process and contributing to the water smell like rotten eggs. Understanding this interaction is key to addressing the rotten egg odor effectively.

Don’t just stand there and do nothing when your water is smelly. Get to know your heater better and see what resolution you can handle.

More about Sacrificial Anode Rods

This part is crucial, coming as a long rod (from metal) installed within the tank. They hang from the top side and go down into the water. It’s called sacrificial rods because the main function is to protect the rest of the metal within the tank. It would attract mineral and corrosion buildup to them.

can anode rod causing rotten egg smell

The rods may corrode, but the water won’t affect the remaining metal. As a result, you can expect a longer-lasting (water) tank that will be free from rust.

These rods usually have 2 to 4 years to function effectively. When the rods have reached a certain corrosion level, their ability to protect the tank will diminish.

With the rods not functioning properly, the water sends the minerals to the tank instead of the rods. Corroded anode rods metal may reach with the sulfites from the water. The combo produces hydrogen sulfide, responsible for the smelly (and gross) rotten egg smell.

Read also: How to Remove Smell from Water Tank: A Comprehensive Guide

Aluminum vs. Magnesium Anode Rods

Which type of anode rod depends on the water type. An aluminum anode rod is perfect for harder water. Meanwhile, the magnesium anode rod is ideal for softer water. Aluminum rods is typically cheaper than the magnesium type, while magnesium rods last shorter than the aluminum type.

However, the aluminum rod has a bigger issue with corrosion. It can pose a bigger health threat, which you should seriously consider.

How Do You Prevent Sulfur Smell in Anode Rods?

Several strategies can be employed to combat the unpleasant water smells. One effective solution is to replace the traditional anode rod with a powered anode rod, which is less susceptible to the conditions that promote sulfur bacteria growth.

Additionally, regularly cleaning the burner and flushing the water heater tank can help maintain a clean system. For those with a persistent issue, it may be necessary to consider replacing the gas control valve or thoroughly inspecting the plumbing system for any contributing factors.

The first one is to remove and replace the anode. You can basically remove it and replace it with a new one (which isn’t corroded). You can turn off the water, release the pressure from the heater, and unscrew the plug. Don’t forget to plug the hole.

Remember that this way may significantly decrease the water heater’s life. You may want to consult a professional service. They can give you information not only about the safe replacement, but the safe replacement option for the rods.

Some suggest increasing the heater temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours to kill bacteria, but this method can be dangerous.

Another option is to disinfect the heater and flush it with chlorine bleach. This solution can kill the sulfur bacteria. But be sure that this method is done properly. Otherwise, the issue may return because chlorine hasn’t completely destroyed the bacteria.

Read also: New Hot Water Heater Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Possible Causes and Solutions

Some say that increasing the temperature (of the heater) can help destroy and kill the bacteria. Do it for several hours at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this method can be quite dangerous. That’s why you should contact the dealer or manufacturer about doing it, and whether it’s safe for the application.

A Word of Consideration

Unless you have the knowledge, expertise, and experience handling a heater, it’s crucial that you only let the professional do it. Contact them and let them help you.

Don’t do it alone–it isn’t worth the risk. If you are still wondering an anode rod can cause rotten egg smell, you know the real facts now, so you can do the right thing about it.

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Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.