Earthy/Dirty Smelling Water

Kim1182May 4, 2013

I've tried searching for info, but I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, so thought I'd post in the hopes someone can at least give me a little more information than what I have now!

A few weeks ago we had some serious rainfall and our basement flooded (we received more rain in 24 hrs than we did all spring last year!). We had just over a foot of water down there once the 2nd pump kicked in. It is an unfinished basement - dirt floor, old original stone work from the 100+ year old farmhouse; the only things in the basement are furnace (up on risers a good 3 feet off the ground), water softener and water heater (also on risers about a foot off the ground). Ever since we had the high water in the basement, we've noticed a very strong smell coming from the water - it can only be described as earthy.

It's mainly the hot water which smells; we checked the water flowing straight from the well pump and it doesn't have that earthy smell - it smells like regular well water (minerals, iron, etc). The cold water doesn't have a very strong smell of earth/dirt, mostly the hot water.

My very uneducated guess would be our water heater is going out and we need a new one. We purchased this house about 3 years ago, and I don't know what the purchase date of the water heater is - my husband looked at it and said it appears to be at least 10-15 years old, if not pushing 20.

We had very heavy rainfall/flooding the first year we moved in here, and did not have this problem...which leads me to believe it may be one of the appliances and not the source of water. We plan on having someone come out to look at things, but I'd like to be a little better educated on what the possibilities may be. I really appreciate any assistance!

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The entire fresh water plumbing system, including the water heater is essentially sealed and pressurized. If water that could get into, say, the water heater, as a result of the flooding you would have noticed a leak when the waters receded. You could flush the water heater by draining it, refilling it, draining it again, and filling it again.

I think the problem lies elsewhere...

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 6:09PM
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Thanks for your reply, Mike.

We are getting a new water heater very soon as we discovered it was 26+ years old (testement to the brand for lasting that long, I guess)!

After having both the water heater and the well chlorinated, we're still experiencing the odor, but not as severe. I think it is because we didn't completely drain the water softener and heater (the location of both make it difficult to perform maintenance - limite space!) We plan on cleaning out the softener as soon as we're out of salt, and hopefully we'll see an improvement.

Again, thank you taking the time to reply!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Raise the temp on the WH to 140 degrees for at least a few hours and then lower it back to your normal setting.

See if that helps.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 2:24PM
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