Mailport: January 2014
In reference to your review of water heaters in the December 2013 issue: It brought to mind an issue that many of us have dealt with over time and on different boats. Odor in freshwater systems can be a horrible problem.
Your mention of dissimilar metals and also chlorinated water rang a bell with me. The pressure-relief valves on many water heaters are made of bronze or another metal. One year, on the advice of a friend, I removed my water heaterís valve for cleaning and found some of the most foul hydrogen-sulfide odor imaginable, along with some black gooey substance. Itís a powerful smell. Since then, Iíve been removing, cleaning, and flushing that valve at the start and in the middle of each season; 95 percent of my water odor problems disappeared.
The use of hypochlorite disinfecting treatments basically results in chlorine attacking the less noble metals in the plumbing. I advise using these treatments sparingly and keeping your pressure valve cleaned and flushed. Iím fortunate that on my boat, access is not a problem. I wonder how necessary it is to add what is basically bleach to a water system that is used frequently and gets tanks refilled a few times each season from reputable municipal water supply systems.
Caliente, Cal 35
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