Is It Normal for a New Water Heater to Smell? Find Out Now!

Your new water heater may give off an unpleasant smell. It’s often described as a “rotten eggs” smell. This is due to hydrogen sulfide when you first start it up. Or, if the heater has been sitting for a long time.

The smell is caused by a reaction between sulfur compounds and the electrical elements inside. A corroded anode rod could be the cause. Or, high levels of sulfate bacteria in the well system.

Key Takeaways

  • It is not normal for a new water heater to have a strong odor, and it could indicate a problem.
  • The smell could be caused by bacteria growth in the tank, which can produce a foul odor.
  • It is important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and potential health risks.
  • Flushing the water heater and disinfecting it with a hydrogen peroxide solution can help eliminate the odor.
  • If the smell persists or worsens, it is recommended to contact a professional plumber to inspect and repair the water heater.

To fix the issue, call a licensed plumber. They can flush out the tank and replace the anode rod. Also, installing a powered anode rod or switching to magnesium instead of aluminum can help.

If you smell something unusual from your hot water heater, contact a plumber right away. It could be a serious problem. Solving the mystery of why your new water heater smells is no easy task.

Understanding the causes of the smell

The smell from a new hot water heater is not uncommon. It could be caused by hydrogen sulfide gas or corroded anode rods. Stagnant water and debris can also lead to the smell.

  • Hydrogen sulfide gas in the water supply can create a rotten egg smell. This happens if there are sulfate bacteria in the well system with low oxygen levels. These bacteria produce sulfur compounds, making the distinct odor.
  • Corroded anode rods can also cause a bad smell. These rods are inside the tank and protect it from corrosion. Over time, they can corrode, leading to a nasty smell.
  • Burning or smelly hot water can also come from electrical elements in the heater. If you smell something bad, call a plumber right away.

Last year, my new water heater had a rotten egg smell after a few hours. It was my well system causing hydrogen sulfide gas to enter the tank. The plumber recommended a powered anode rod to get rid of the smell.

Understanding why your hot water smells is key. Contacting a professional plumber and following their advice can solve odor problems and give you clean, odor-free hot water. Problem solved!

Steps to address the smell in a new water heater

Eliminate the stink from your new water heater with a step-by-step approach. Follow these steps:

  1. Flush the tank to get rid of any debris.
  2. Check the anode rod and replace if necessary.
  3. Lower the temperature to avoid bacterial growth or burning odors.
  4. Call a professional plumber if you need more help.
  5. Consider insulating covers to maintain consistent temperatures.

Don’t let your new water heater be like a blind date with a skunk – take care of it before it stinks up your life!

Preventive measures to avoid or minimize the smell

A new water heater might smell. But, there are ways to minimize or avoid it.

  • Flush the tank and clean the anode rod regularly.
  • Also, set the temperature to an appropriate level.
  • If it’s a strong rotten egg smell, this could mean a gas leak. Contact a professional plumber right away.
  • Using a powered anode rod can help keep the odor-causing bacteria away. And, regular maintenance by a plumber will make sure your heater works well.

Hydrogen sulfide gas, which causes the rotten egg smell, can corrode metal surfaces in your water heater. So, if your new water heater smells, it’s likely normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it normal for a new water heater to smell?

Yes, it is normal for a new water heater to have a slight odor when first installed. This smell is often described as a rotten egg or sulfur odor. It is usually caused by hydrogen sulfide gas, which can be present in the water supply or due to the heating process. The smell should dissipate over time.

2. What causes the rotten egg smell in a new water heater?

The main cause of the rotten egg smell in a new water heater is the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. This gas can come from the water supply, especially if it contains sulfates. It can also be produced when certain bacteria in the water react with the sacrificial anode rod inside the heater tank.

3. Can the rotten egg smell be harmful?

The rotten egg smell itself is not harmful, but it can indicate potential problems with the water heater. If the odor is accompanied by other issues like leaks or difficulty in heating the water, it is recommended to contact a licensed plumber for inspection and repairs.

4. How long does the smell in a new water heater last?

The smell in a new water heater should dissipate over time, typically within a few weeks. Flushing the system and replacing the sacrificial anode rod can help speed up the process. If the odor persists or gets worse, it is best to call a professional plumber to assess the situation.

5. How can I get rid of the smell in a new water heater?

To get rid of the smell in a new water heater, try flushing the system by completely draining the tank and refilling it. If the issue persists, consider replacing the sacrificial anode rod with a powered anode rod or switch to a different type of anode material, such as aluminum, instead of magnesium.

6. Should I be concerned if my new water heater smells like burning?

If your new water heater smells like burning, it could indicate a more serious issue. Electrical burning smells can be a sign of faulty wiring or heating elements. It is best to turn off the water heater and contact a professional plumber immediately to prevent any potential fires or damage to the appliance.


Water heaters can sometimes emit odors. These can range from a slight burning scent to rotten eggs. But don’t worry, this is usually normal. It could be due to hydrogen sulfide gas or a corroded anode rod.

You could wait for the smell to dissipate. But if it doesn’t, it’s best to contact a plumber. They will have the knowledge to diagnose and solve the problem.

References :

Why Does My Water Heater Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Sulfur Smell In Hot Water? Here’s How To Fix It.