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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?

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  • Google "water filter iron" it's a common well problem that has solutions.
    – Tyson
    Nov 19, 2017 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. Sep 7, 2019 at 15:31
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    Did you shut off the water supply when you drain the tank? I think it should be closed during draining. Turn it on a few minutes to fill the tank then close the supply and drain the tank again. The water should be clear after a few cycles.
    – r13
    Aug 29, 2021 at 4:51

2 Answers 2

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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.

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  • 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, 2017 at 22:36
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The answer to the question as posted by the OP in a comment:

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.

This can get votes to prevent Community from bumping this every couple of months.

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