Why Does My Water Smell?

January 14, 2019

Ideally, pure water has no color or odor. You may get some slight smell or taste if minerals or chemicals have been added during a purification process. However, there are common problems you should investigate if your water has a distinctly unpleasant smell. Not only is poor smelling water difficult to drink, but it may be dangerous to you and your family.Here's a list of some common problems with water in your home and what causes them.

Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

The smell of rotten eggs in your water is caused by a levels of sulfur content. When sulfur levels are elevated, it indicates that there is some overgrowth of bacteria in the line. To find the source of the odors, you should check:

Water Heater

Pour a glass of hot and cold water, and determine if the sulfurous smell is coming from one specific glass of water. If your hot water stinks but your cold water is fine, then your odors are probably coming from the water heater. If the temperature of your heater is not hot enough, bacteria can grow on the heating rod and cause the sulfuric smell. This often happens in older water heaters that have magnesium rods. A qualified plumber can easily replace the magnesium rod with one made of aluminum.

Drain Pipes

After a long period of time, food, hair, and grease can build up in your drain pipes, which will cause the growth of smelly bacteria. Once you've determined that both your hot and cold water sources smell okay, the odor might be caused by your drains. You may need a drain cleaning professional to flush and disinfect your drains.

Water Source

If you checked your drain pipes and water heater with no problems, or if the glass of cold water was what smelled bad, then you should consider your water source. If you have well water, a professional water softener company can help you purify your system. At Jason's Water Softeners we are able to remove sulfur smell from well water.

Why Does My Water Smell Like Bleach?

If your house is supplied by a public water system, you may get a whiff of chlorine from your drinking water. The waterworks often uses chlorine to kill harmful bacteria from the water they are purifying. The smell will usually diminish when the water has set out for a few minutes. If you still notice strong-smelling water, you should file a report with your public water administration.

  • Well water: The company that services your groundwater may use a chlorine shock to destroy bacteria that is around the well. If you notice a particularly strong smell, the professionals may need to pump out water until the chlorine dissipates.
  • If there is a sewer system that is placed too close to your drinking water source, you may get all sorts of odors. You would need to call your local health department for advice.
  • Another common smell that you may get from your well water is a musty, fishy odor. This is caused by a buildup of bacteria near the source. Your water will have to be shocked with chlorine and drained until the chlorine odor disappears.

Other Smells to Check For

  • Water that smells like gasoline is usually a sign of increased iron contents. If this smell is accompanied by a red tint in your water, you’re likely safe from health risks. A licensed plumber can replace filters and water heater parts to return your water to normal. Otherwise, shut off your water and stop using it immediately, as it may be tainted with gas.
  • A smell reminiscent of sewage is usually closely tied to the “rotten egg” smell detailed previously. It denotes the presence of hydrogen sulfide, and while it may not present an immediate health risk, it should be dealt with quickly by a trained professional. Use the methods listed above to determine where the problem lies.

Smelly water is not only disgusting to drink, but it may be damaging your laundry, pipes, or dishes. In extreme cases, your family’s health can be affected.

When you have your water regularly checked and treated by a professional water softener company, your family should enjoy refreshing water that is odor-free. If you're concerned about odorous water in your home, schedule your free water quality test and we'll get your water system taken care of as soon as possible.

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