Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Ignore That Smell around Your Water Heater


Only now that you’re spending all your time at home because of the COVID-19 lockdown, you can’t help but notice that distinct smell emitting from your water heater every time you walk past it!

Your water heater shouldn’t smell at all. So, if you’ve smelled that particular rotten odor and can’t understand why, you might want to check the gas inlet anyway and take the right steps to correct that smelly problem, fast!

Why Does My Water Heater Smell?

Before we focus on the worst-case scenario—a gas leak—let’s get a quick science lesson first!

Natural gas is, in fact, odorless. So, what you smell is the chemical mercaptan, which is added to the gas, so it’s easier to detect gas leaks. Because of its distinct sulfuric smell, a leak is easily noticeable. But, with something like a water heater, you can easily mistake the smell distinctive to mercaptan for something else.

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Because of the machine’s many components that are exposed to moisture and chemicals, you might smell a lot of things near your heater, which may not necessarily be gas at all. So, let’s get those problems out of the way!

– Smelly Water

Your water can also produce odors resembling rotten eggs when bacteria react to the magnesium or aluminum anodes in your heater. This causes hydrogen sulfide gas to build up in your water. The best way to handle this is by replacing the anodes.

– Burning Wire Smell

Of course, if your water heater smells like burning wires, it means there’s an issue with your heater’s electrical component. The smell is caused by a discharge known as arcing, which happens when two wires come in contact. In this case, you’ll need to bring in a specialist to correct the issue.

What to Do If There’s a Gas Leak

If you’re pretty sure it’s a gas leak, here’s what you need to do!

If you have a natural gas heater, it’s important to take the right precautions. If the smell is strong and you haven’t yet lit the pilot light, put those matches away and step back.

There have been some cases involving water heater explosions caused due to a buildup of flammable gas because of a leak in the gas line, so don’t try to tweak or check for any leaks yourself. Also, don’t spend too much time by the water heater. By itself, natural gas can cause dizziness, nausea, irregular breathing, as well as a loss of consciousness.

Next, consult with a professional service that specializes in gas leak repair. Pro Serve Plumbers in Texas is a trusted company. We cater to clients in different regions, including Arlington and Fort Worth, TX.

Call in the experts and have us accurately diagnose and repair the water heater before you try anything.

Finally, purchase a natural gas detector for safety. You want to be sure you’re taking all steps to ensure your health and safety.


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We’re taking extra precautions during this time to ensure your safety and that of our employees. With us, you can be sure you’ll have the right professional team on hand so you can stay happy and healthy in your home!