We maintain complete transparency with the readers on our website. The company rankings on our site are independent of any marketing relationships that we may hold with a home warranty company. We may receive compensation for receiving quotes or placing advertisements. However, this does not affect a company's rankings. Companies are ranked solely on the basis of consumer reviews and ratings received from home warranty users.

*The lead information obtained will be sent to the respective companies as selected by the readers. However, the lead will be shared with a similar company if the selected company either doesn't participate in Leads Program or doesn't respond.

Home /  Appliance Maintenance / Why Your Water Heater Smells?
last_updated_date Last updated: October 10, 2022

Grab the best Home Warranty deals from the top rated companies


Why Your Water Heater Smells?

There is nothing better than starting your day with a pleasant shower. Or for that matter, when you get home from a rough day at work, nothing soothes you better than a nice hot shower. But, a stinky water heater can ruin your day. It is also an indication that there are bigger problems at hand. 

There may be a few different odors coming from a water heater but the most common one is the smell of rotten eggs. This usually comes from hydrogen sulfide gas that is let out in the water.

One way to find out if there is a problem with your device is by turning on the cold water tap. If you smell something like stale eggs, the water source may have sulfur/H2S producing bacteria. To fix this, you will need to treat the water coming into your system. This should be done by a trained technician.

There could be many other reasons for stinky water heater. At times, you may be able to fix the problem yourself but do call in a qualified specialist if the problem persists.


Burnt Wire 

If you smell something like burning wires, there may be something wrong with the wiring of your water heater. The most common issues with wiring take place when two loose wires make intermittent contact. To get rid of the smell, you need to do the following:

  1. Turn off the heater until a trained technician can diagnose the problem.
  2. If the smell is persistent, there is a chance your water heater might burn and cause a fire. If this happens, you should call the fire department right away. 

Gas Leaks

While electric water heaters are the most popular, many people also prefer gas boilers because of their dual functionality. Gas boilers require you to be more careful due to the possibility of gas leaks. If you smell gas close to your water heater, you should immediately switch it off. You should immediately seek assistance or call in the fire service so that there are no casualties. Even a small gas leak can cause a fiery explosion. Here’s what you will need to do to prevent leaks in your home.

  1. Make sure your device goes for a regular maintenance checkup, preferably at least once in three months. 
  2. It’s advisable to not smoke near your water heater as it can ignite a gas leak.

Electrical Burns 

If your water heater smells like something electrical is burning, you should check the wires of the device for arcing. As it ages, the electrical components inside can corrode, increasing the resistance. Due to this, the electrical parts within your device could burn out. There are a few safety precautions to avoid electrical burns:

  1. Call a trained technician to inspect your appliance if you are facing this problem.
  2. You will need to replace your appliance if the trained technician cannot fix the issues. 

Burnt Dust 

Over time your water heater can accumulate a lot of dust when it is running. This dust can burn up when you switch on your water heater, you will smell burning dust. To avoid this, you can open up the gadget with the help of a toolbox and clean the interiors.


Sulfurous bacteria can naturally occur in water. They produce hydrogen sulfide gases or elemental sulfur. They can build up in the water within your heater causing it to release the unbearable stench. You need to get rid of the bacteria inside for the smell to stop. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Check your anode rod inside the water heater for any bacteria.
  2. If you are familiar with how to open it up, you can DIY or call a plumber to help you get rid of all the germs.

How Do Home Warranties Help?

A stinky water heater can indicate big problems, which may burn a deep hole in your pocket. If you invest in a home warranty plan and your appliances break down, the respective home warranty company would cover repairs or replacements. A home warranty plan covers several systems and appliances while saving you a significant amount of money. 

Did you find this article helpful?   helpful yes icon | helpful no icon  

Thank you for your feedback!


Everything You Need To Know About Fixing A Squeaky Door Everything You Need To Know About Fixing A Squeaky Door
BY Victoria Baeker 3 MINS READ