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Question DetailsAsked on 9/4/2013

Can someone help me flush my water heater with hydrogen peroxide? Hot water smells terrible.

Installed a brand new AO Smith water heater in February. Unfortunately, the (rental) house sat vacant for a period of about 4 months immediately after, and the hot water developed a terrible sulfur smell. We live on a well and had the well water shocked around the same time the water heater was installed. Water tests came back clean, so we know the well isn't the source of the smell (and the cold water does not smell at all; only hot). So, we understand that the hot water may have developed this smell because the water heater wasn't used for a long period of time, and we have been told that the water heater needs to be flushed out and cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. I need some help with this process, but I can't seem to find any plumbers who do this sort of cleanse. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Voted Best Answer

Here are a couple of articles with three ways to get rid of the odor - the chemical ones work more relaibly the first time than the hot temperature one, and the chlorine one is harder on the pipes than the others. If you use the hot water technique, stay close by or have a water alarm, because it is possible the overtemp/pressure relief valve will activate, so you want to be nearby to turn down the heat a bit if that happens. Have a bucket below the overtemp discharge pipe when doing this. Of course put warning tags on all faucets while doing any of these so someone does not drink or cook with the treated water before you have flushed the system out.

You should be able to find at least one plumber in your area who knows how to do this - the older the plumber, the more likely he knows how. If not, try a water well servicing company, because they routinely do it with water pressure tanks in well systems.

Hint for the future - every 10 days to 2 weeks or so go around to any vacant property you own and run ALL the faucets for about 2-3 minutes and flush all the toilets. Do not run them all at once or you might overload the sewer pipe capacity and cause a flood, but 3 or 4 faucets or a tub and a couple of faucets should be fine. Remember to do shower head as well as tub outlet, toilets, sump pump if any, and dishwasher and washing machine for a short cycle as well.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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