Soft Water, Strong Odor

May/June 2005
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2005
        Q. I have a gas-fueled direct-vent hot water tank. It has been in service since September 2003. I have a water softener as well.We get our water from a well. Before being softened, the water has a hardness reading of 33 grains. My hot water has a reading of 1 grain of hardness after softening. My cold water is 0 grains. Before I went away for 13 days, I set the temperature to the lowest setting. Upon my return, the hydrogen sulfide smell could knock you out! Finally, the smell has almost entirely dissipated. I have some questions:         I understand that you can replace the standard magnesium anode with an aluminum anode and not get the bad smell. Are there any drawbacks to going to aluminum?         Is it correct that the anode rod needs to be replaced every 1 to 2 years?         If I am going to be gone for an extended period of time, can I just turn off the gas to the tank till I get back? The tank is located in the basement. The winters do bring below freezing ...

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