Water Heater Rescue: Know-How, Solutions, Parts

The Peroxide Fix

An assembly of nipples, tee and ball valve permit peroxide to easily be added to a water heater



Years and years ago, before I dove deep into the mysteries of water heaters, this simple plumbing device kept odor at bay for my tenants, in the house where I myself now live. Connected to the bottom part of the tee is a PEX-lined steel nipple that went into the hot port of the water heater (which is still out there, by the way, well-maintained and now 35 years old). The plumbing to the house went out the side port. The way it worked was that when the smell returned, the tenants would shut off the cold-water valve, let a gallon out the drain valve, and then open the top valve (yellow handle here) and pour in hydrogen peroxide with a funnel. No more odor.



Simple, Cheap, But Not as Easy as an Anode

It's really nice when I can recommend a simple solution to solve a problem. But a solution is a solution. A number of people have come seeking a solution to smelly water in cabins and vacation homes, and from what we've seen, even changing to a powered anode might not fix it if a water heater sat idle long enough.

For a long time, this page simply pointed to a possible alternative, that involves a bit more participation from the user, but which works. It makes more sense to leave be whatever anode is already in the tank, and to just rig a plumbing assembly, like the one above, onto the water heater, and pour a couple of pints of drugstore hydrogen peroxide into the tank when you arrive for a visit.

Soon the smell will vanish. You can use and drink the water immediately. The peroxide is already a low concentration and it's then diluted in gallons of hot water. That will solve the problem until you go home. You'll have to do the same thing on each visit.

People kept asking if I sold these parts. I decided maybe it was time I offered them. They are not always available locally, especially PEX-lined steel nipples. Go back to the Index Page to buy them.

-- Randy Schuyler

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