Whether you have well water or city water, turning on the tap to be greeted by foul-smelling water can be alarming. You might initially think that your water line has been contaminated; however, this is rarely the case. Most of the time, the water smells funny due to bacterial growth. However, this isn’t the only reason water coming out of faucet might smell bad. Elevated levels of minerals, decaying organic material, and chemical reactions can cause the smell and taste of the water to change. We have created a guide which you can use to identify and treat some common causes of water smells.

Medicine, Chlorine or Bleach Smell

Most public water suppliers use chlorine to kill bacteria in the water and prevent bacterial growth. Chlorine produces a pungent odor when added to a well or water supply. Does the water smell like bleach, medicine, or chlorine? You should turn on your faucets and allow the water to run for a few minutes. Doing this will likely remove the smell. More often, organic material reacts with chlorine, and this increases the musty-bleach odor in the water. If you get water from a public water supply company and sometimes face this problem, contact your supply authority and let them know about the issue.

Rotten Eggs Smell

Rotten egg odor in water results from bacterial growth in your water heater, well or drains. Bacteria get their energy from sulfur, and they change natural sulfates present in the water into hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide emits rotten egg odor. Here is how to address this problem.

Growth of Bacteria in the Drain

When organic matter accumulates in your drain, bacteria thrive, producing gas that smells and tastes like rotten eggs. To address the growth of bacteria in the drain, you need to make sure the issue is likely caused by bacterial growth. Check to see if both hot and cold water coming from a single tap smell like rotten eggs and the smell isn’t there in the water coming from all the faucets. Then, fill the smelly water from the faucet in a glass. Swirl this water inside the glass several times. Wait for 60 seconds if the water in the glass doesn’t smell anymore; it means that the bacteria in your drain are causing the smell. To fix this problem, call a plumber and let them know of the presence of bacteria. They will know what to do. Growth of Bacteria in the Water Heater When you don’t use hot water frequently, bacteria can accumulate in the water heater producing a sewerage-like or rotten egg smell. It occurs when your water heater stays off for an extended period. These bacteria aren’t harmful to your health. How do you tell if the growth of bacteria in the water heater is causing rotten-egg smell? If cold water doesn’t smell odd and only hot water smells, it generally means that the growth of bacteria in your water heating is causing the smell. Call a plumber to have your water heater fixed so that you don’t have to deal with smelly water.

Musty, Moldy or Fishy Smell

Does your water smell musty or moldy? It’s likely due to the presence of bacteria that combines with a decaying matter in the drain. To combat decaying materials that are responsible for musty water or moldy water, have your drain disinfected, cleaned and flushed by a plumber. If you get water from a private well, moldy water may be attributed to different types of bacteria, algae, or fungi growing in the water supply. We recommend having your well treated with shock chlorination. An experienced plumber can do this. If the problem persists, you might have to install an automatic chlorinator. If you get water from a public water supply, then insufficient chlorine might be the cause of bacterial growth in the water. Certain types of bacteria can grow in water supply if chlorine is added in an inadequate amount. You can contact your water supplier and let them know of the issue so that they can add the right amount of chlorine in the water.

Petroleum or Gasoline Smell

Although these odors are very rare, they are extremely dangerous water smells. If your water smells like petrol or gasoline and you’re on public water supply, you should contact your county health department and water supplier. Gasoline-like water odors may be due to contamination because of the waste discharge from factories or a leaking fuel storage tank located underground. You shouldn’t drink or bathe in water if it smells like petroleum or gasoline as it can have serious adverse health effects like kidney problems.

Final Thoughts

Water odors can come from different reasons. Some of them can be harmless, while others can be dangerous. We have provided detailed information about different types of water odors. Now you can fix them. If your water smells funny and you aren’t sure about what is causing the problem, call Rowin Plumbing for assistance. We will send an experienced plumber your way. They will diagnose the cause of the water odor. We can fix the problem to ensure no harm comes to you or your family from drinking or bathing in smelly water.