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Old 25-10-2019, 11:36   #1
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Hot water smell

My newly purchased 2006 boat has a Kuuma 6 gallon water heater. When we first ran the hot water, it had a slight orange color and a definite smell (the cold water is fine). I didn't think much of it since the boat had been sitting for awhile, after all. I ran a lot of water though the system and while it got a lot better and clearer, there is still a faint smell to it no matter what I do.


I searched the forums for people with similar problems - commonly, most other people reporting a smell say it's a sulfur smell that requires replacing the anode, but I haven't seen anyone mention the orange water color which could have been - rust, maybe? And the smell is so faint now, honestly I'm not sure if it smells like sulfur or not.

Someone in my marina said it could be leftover antifreeze from winterizing, but I have flushed a lot of water through it. Another person suggested putting a little bleach in the system, but yet another old salt in my marina says that would be terrible for the hoses and sealants. Any ideas how to fix this other than replacing the heater? I am certainly open to the idea that the now 13 year old heater is just too old, although this boat was lightly used in its lifetime.
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Old 25-10-2019, 11:52   #2
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Re: Hot water smell

How old is the heater? Kuuma is low grade, life expectancy is 5-8 years, Seaward next best up is 10-12 years, Isotherm much better 15 years (reported expectancy over my 21 years of being into this stuff).



Fresh Water System Recommissioning 101 - Peggie Hall's "Cocktail" Rotten Egg Odor http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5836.0.html
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Old 25-10-2019, 11:52   #3
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Re: Hot water smell

Pretty common to occasionally sanitize your freshwater system, particularly if not used regularly for some time. Most use some form of bleach which works well for plastic tanks (most common) but not for aluminum. Here's a detailed description off Defenders website.
https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...t.do?docId=671
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Old 25-10-2019, 12:33   #4
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Re: Hot water smell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
Pretty common to occasionally sanitize your freshwater system, particularly if not used regularly for some time. Most use some form of bleach which works well for plastic tanks (most common) but not for aluminum. Here's a detailed description off Defenders website.
https://www.jamestowndistributors.co...t.do?docId=671

Thank you, I will try that. I got nothing to lose - if that doesn't work, next step will be to replace the heater.
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Old 25-10-2019, 12:37   #5
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Re: Hot water smell

how is the antifreeze level in you engine?
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Old 25-10-2019, 12:48   #6
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Re: Hot water smell

I thought heat exchanger corroding but now I think its gonna be antifreeze.
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Old 25-10-2019, 13:38   #7
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Re: Hot water smell

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
how is the antifreeze level in you engine?

Exactly at the proper level.
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Old 25-10-2019, 13:54   #8
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Re: Hot water smell

What you don't say that is critical for the diagnosis is what is the source of your water.

There are many marinas around the Chesapeake that use private well water. Some of these wells have quite high levels of sulfide in them, which is released much more from hot water than cold (hence the smell) Some also have high levels of dissolved iron (hence the orange color). These issues frequently occur together.

In other words it is quite likely NOT coming from anything on your boat, but from the local water. Quick test: Turn on the hot water in the marina shower. Smell the sulfide? If so it is not your boat's issue. Are the fixtures in the marina bathrooms stained rust orange? If so, not your boat's fault.

Even some city water supplies are not immune. We find that after years of almost exclusively drinking RO water we make on board, that Annapolis city water has a distinctly unpleasant "swampy" taste. It is the only place we buy bottled water for drinking.
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Old 25-10-2019, 14:06   #9
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Re: Hot water smell

If it is antifreeze, drain and thoroughly flush out the hot water tank with plenty of clean water. Then follow the directions in what Stu Jackson has christened "peggie hall's cocktail"--a terrible name for something I didn't invent, but is a recommissioning process that has been accepted in both the RV and marine industry for decades. I've just shared it many times and also included it in both my books.


Avoid this problem in the future by draining and bypassing the water heater when you winterize the fresh water system.


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Old 27-10-2019, 11:38   #10
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Re: Hot water smell

OK I purged the system per the instructions Calif Ted gave. Basically bleach, purge, vinegar, then purge again the next day. It worked!! Water looks clear and smells fine. I don't know if it was algae or antifreeze or what, but it is much better now! Thank you!
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Old 27-10-2019, 15:55   #11
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Re: Hot water smell

Are you sure the smell comes from the water heater? It could be the hoses from the tank to the faucet that are letting of chemicals when the water is hot.
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