Bad odor coming from top of tank

The Tank Bad odor coming from top of tank

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  • #7310
    gmohr
    Participant

    I just moved into a house with a 3-year-old AO Smith Promax gas water heater (XCV 40 100). There is a bad smell coming from the top of the tank. The gas company came to check it out and said it is not CO and is not a gas leak. It’s smelling up our whole basement. The water from our taps smells fine and is the right temperature. Any ideas what the smell might be and how to get rid of it?

    A possible related symptom is that we had a tremendous amount of rust colored fine sandy sediment come from the hot water taps (especially the tub). I flushed the tank and then ran the hot water in the tub for about 30 minutes and now there’s almost no sediment coming out.

    #7313
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: Two things come to mind. One is a question of whether to vent up to the roof is working correctly. When a heater fires up, initially it will spill fumes from the draft hood (at the top of the heater) for a few seconds and then draft will be established pulling all fumes up and out. If you can feel heat around the draft hood for any length of time, there is either a venting or house air pressure problem.

    The other thought is something in the combustion chamber or flue that’s not supposed to be there. An unfortunate animal comes to mind 😕 Have a look in the combustion chamber and remove the vent pipe and pull the baffle out to make sure all is clear. If you see any amount of soot, things are not working as they should.

    Yours, Larry

    #7316
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    I thought it a good time to relate a story an acquaintance told a few years ago. She went out one day and found flames billowing out of the combustion hatch of her water heater. Upon closer inspection, she found a dead — and thoroughly roasted — mouse lying on the burner pan.

    Randy Schuyler

    #7342
    gmohr
    Participant

    For those of you in deep suspense wondering what’s causing the odor here’s the probable cause you never suspected. On a shelf next to the water heater was a portable sewing machine in a cloth-covered carrying case. It was given to my wife by her parents at the same time we were moving into this house. The machine had been in their basement when the sewers backed up in a big storm and the basement flooded. The case smelled like sewage. The smell was bad but only when you got up close to it. Apparently storing it next to the water heater magnified the odor and distributed it through the basement. I removed the sewing machine from the basement and the odor has dissipated significantly. My guess is that was it and now we are just smelling the remaining traces.

    #7346
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    That was fun! Maybe I should add a new section to the Fun stuff section titled “Weird Tales From the Water Heater.”

    Randy Schuyler

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Water Heater Rescue

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