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  1. #1

    New to Well Water: Sulfur odor issue


    My fiance and I purchased a 1971 home on 8/23/19 with a well drilled 1971 as well. Water test was done by the seller, I received a confirmation but not the technical results. I could taste moderate amounts of iron and sulfur in the raw well water. I installed a whole home filter (Omnifilter sediment - 5 micron) which cut out most of the taste, the water softener took care of the rest. Installed new water heater on 8/24/19.

    Sequence of water flow: Well > Pressure tank > sediment filter > water softener > Water heater > out to home

    We were out of town at my folks cabin this last Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, our water quality went to hell on our return. Only the hot water is affected, the water reeks of sulfur. It went from perfect to rancid in less than 48 hours. Could this be a bacterial infection in the water heater? I also noticed the sediment filter housing which is a clear plastic has a brown film.

    Has anybody experienced something like this before?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Letsrunum's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
    Oklahoma, USA.
    Doesn't sound like the water softener was taking out the rest to me(test). Before and after the water softener(need one that targets the sulfur level and a normal softener doesn't do anything for sulfur that needs air). Air over water tanks from along time ago could handle up to certain level(never was told what that level was though but I'm guessing it's low). Softener can handle small levels of iron or it would need to be regenerated more often to help with the bleed through that is making it's way through the softener.

    I would say build up has accumulated in a short period of time(cut and examine the inside diameter of the pipe) and is now showing up on just the hot water side(so far).Flush the hot water tank and sanitize your whole plumbing system for 24hrs. Flush everything out with your water treatment devices in bypass. All aerators off and screens taking out elsewhere for a good flushing and hopefully no clogs. Increasing water pressure will cause more stress on the plumbing. But, it's effective for breaking that stuff up in the future. I just hate doing the long procedure before putting everything back in place(after maybe a week or so)(when you stop seeing stuff passing through the lines).

    Another method is using compressed air to help break it up "while flushing the line". Similar to your faucet shooting air that does cause some stress on the lines(old plumbing?). What type of pipe and it's fittings(pressure ratings)while looking around before attempting this. Remember, to much air pressure building up on the lines(relieve/relief the pressure)can lead to disasters.

    I would recommend this method on long pipe runs that are buried underground or replacing the line is the other option(can get expensive for regular maintenance on your water quality).

    (Not for this person)
    A gas leak in the air and not your water(is this a hot water tank "gas"?). Natural gas and propane are odorless, but gas companies inject them with a chemical called mercaptan that gives them a sulfur smell—like rotten eggs—to alert residents to a gas leak.

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