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What Causes Rotten Egg Smell in Water?

Smelly water Turning on a tap in your home and noticing a strong odor like rotten eggs coming from the water is no doubt an unpleasant plumbing problem. Chances are, the odor you actually smell is sulfur or hydrogen sulfide. In most cases, although the smell is bad, it won’t affect the quality of your water. There are a few reasons why this smell might be present and ways to make it go away.

Tracing the Source of a Rotten Egg Odor
You might notice a rotten egg odor in different instances: for a brief amount of time when you first turn on hot or cold taps, from hot water faucets only, or from both hot and cold faucets persistently. You may also notice the odor only in water being treated by a water softener. The source can help determine the cause of the bad smell.

Sulfur in Groundwater or Water Distribution System
When the odor comes from both hot and cold faucets and is fairly constant, there might be hydrogen sulfide gas in the groundwater. Hydrogen sulfide gas occurs naturally in groundwater as a result of sulfur bacteria. Chemical reactions with minerals that contain sulfur can also dissolve in the water. If the rotten egg smell is strong at first but then goes away or only seems to smell on occasion, sulfur bacteria in your water distribution system could be to blame.

Different types of filtration systems may be effective at neutralizing hydrogen sulfide gas depending on how high or low levels are. Your Gillece Plumber can help determine which type of system will work best or if other solutions are available.

Water Heater Issue
If the rotten egg smell comes from your hot water only, then the problem likely stems from your water heater. Water heaters are a good environment for sulfur bacteria to exist and convert to hydrogen sulfide gas. The anode within a water heater, a metal rod that helps to reduce tank corrosion, usually made of magnesium, can also react with sulfate to produce hydrogen sulfide gas. When this happens, you may be able to replace the anode with a different material. You may also have to disinfect and flush your water heater to destroy and remove bacteria. In order to take the proper precautions and steps to do this, consult with a professional plumber.

Professional Plumbing Repair
If you are experiencing a rotten egg odor in your plumbing system, the best thing is to address it right away, especially if there could be a more extensive underlying problem. Gillece is here to help you with all of your home’s emergency, maintenance and repair needs 24/7, 365. Call Gillece!