If you’re noticing changes to the water coming out of your tap – such as strange colors, tastes or odors – the cause may be your water heater.
To find out if the water heater is the cause, note the following:
• Does the problem only occur first thing in the morning?
• Does it happen after the water has not been used for a while?
• Does the problem clear up after you run the water for a few minutes?
• Is the problem isolated to the hot rather than cold running faucet?
If any of the above cases is true, it could be caused by your water heater.
Water Heater Odors
Bad smells, such as a sulphur odors, are sometimes caused by bacteria growing in the water heater tank. When the water heater goes unused for long periods of time bacteria, while usually harmless, can cause unpleasant odors. A sulphur, or rotten egg odor, is sometimes caused by a corroded anode rod inside the water heater. The rod should be inspected and replaced if needed.
Hard water can also cause sediment to accumulate at the bottom of the tank, causing odors. Installing a water softener should fix the problem.
Hot Water Discoloration
Brown, red or yellow tinted water can be caused by rust from a corroded water heater tank, or pipes inside the home. The iron present in most water is not a significant health risk, but it can stain clothing and dishes and leave drinking water with a metallic taste. Your plumber can help track down the cause and determine if the water heater is the source of the problem.
White or tan particles in the water are usually a sign of calcium or magnesium. While not generally harmful to ingest, the minerals can clog pipes and drains over time. A water filtration system or water softener can remove the minerals from the water.