Trying to improve the odor of our well water, I’ve installed a whole house filter and a UV sterilizer (adding it to an existing water softener). Now, the cold water (still with a lot of iron) smells OK, but the hot water actually stinks a bit worse.

I want to shock my water system with bleach, following instructions I’ve found here, and I’m told I should drain sediment out of the hot water heater first. So, I did, and the 1st five seconds’ flow was an opaque brown. But then the water suddenly turned quite clear, and stayed that way for a couple of minutes. I closed the drain, and a few minutes later, reopened it: the water quickly turned a light cloudy brown, and an hour later (after several opening and closing of the drain) the water remains cloudy. (The hot water from the taps is clear.)

So, what should I do? Keep draining until it runs clear again? Leave it for a day, and try again?

  • Google "water filter iron" it's a common well problem that has solutions. – Tyson Nov 19 '17 at 1:48
  • What I do is put a ball valve ( 90 degree) on the drain hose and open and close it several times , using a minute or two for the cycle. Several cycles , then let it drain another 5 minutes. – blacksmith37 Sep 7 '19 at 15:31

One common fix for smelly hot water heated in a conventional tank style water heater is to replace the magnesium type anode rod with an aluminum or zinc made rod. For some reason the magnesium rod coming into contact with certain water chemistry results in a less than pleasant odor. As to the water quality in your flushing the tank, you are over-thinking it. Put it back into service. That is not your problem. Areas with severe iron content problems often have to consult with and get help from a professional water quality expert. It can take very special chemistry to deal with problem chemistry. Good Luck. P.

  • Thanks! Turns out, repeated draining over 18 hours left the water coming out almost clear, and the hot water at the tap odorless. Postponing shocking the water heater. Wife's happy, I'm happy. – Dryattz Nov 19 '17 at 22:36

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