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Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Tips & Advice

If you have ever run water in your sink or shower and found that it smells like rotten eggs, rest assured, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this sulfuric, rotten egg-like smell can manifest in your water for a number of reasons.

More often than not, a rotten egg smell will be concentrated in your hot water specifically, in which case the culprit that’s causing the smell is usually your water heater. Assuming your water heater is to blame, this odor is likely the result of sulfate-reducing bacteria interacting with your water tank’s magnesium anode rod. If, however, the rotten egg smell is coming from both your hot and cold water, then the issue likely lies with the groundwater supply below your house, which is probably being affected by hydrogen sulfide gas.

No matter what’s causing the smell, however, chances are you’re not a fan of sniffing rotten eggs every time you turn on the tap. Fortunately, our experienced plumbers at Roby Services are here to help you get rid of that rotten egg odor, so keep reading for what you need to know.

5 Ways to Eliminate the Rotten Egg Smell in Your Water

  1. Flush Out the Water Heater Tank: It is always a good idea to flush out your water tank 1-2 times a year, assuming you have a tankless system. This will help get rid of sediment and bacteria build-up in the tank, so your system functions more efficiently and your water tastes and smells better in general. In the case of rotten egg odors, this is a particularly important step to start with, since even if it doesn’t completely get rid of the smell, it will only help your water heater function better in the long-run.
  2. Use Chlorine Treatment: Normally, the last thing you’d want to find in your water is the taste/smell of chlorine—and normally, you’d be right to feel that way. However, in very rare cases, you may want to consider what’s known as “concentrated chlorine treatment” to purify your water. Just add chlorine bleach to your water supply, then wait 24 hours before turning on your taps again. After that, turn on your water for a few minutes, making sure the chlorine is thoroughly drained, and check to see if that rotten egg odor still lingers. If the smell has dissipated, you should be able to go back to using your water-related appliances like normal. You should still try and find the root of that sulfur smell, however, since failing to do so may cause the odor to return in your water in a few months.
  3. Put In a New Anode Rod: The anode rod is the part of your water heater that helps stop corrosion and reduce rust build-up in your water heater tank. As we mentioned above, when a chemical reaction occurs between a magnesium anode rod and the naturally occurring bacteria in your water, the result may be that your water begins to develop a rotten egg odor. Your anode rod is an essential component of your water heating system, so the solution is not to get rid of it entirely, especially since you will have to replace this part anyway when it begins to wear down. However, to help get rid of this rotten egg smell, you may want to consider using a different kind of anode rod in your tank. Aluminum anode rods are a common alternative to magnesium ones since they are extremely affordable and great for areas with hard, minerally water (more on this below.) However, aluminum can sometimes deteriorate quickly, contributing to sediment build-up that may damage your plumbing system. Fortunately, there are now cutting-edge hybrid models of anode rods on the market, such as the zinc and aluminum rod, which are specially designed to reduce sulfur levels in your water.
  4. Replace Your Water Heater: If you have tried the above methods and are still finding that your hot water smells like rotten eggs, it may be time to consider upgrading to a new water heater entirely. Fortunately, our skilled water heater technicians offer a variety of replacement options designed to last for years to come while reducing factors that may be contributing to that foul rotten egg stench that keeps appearing in your water.
  5. Install a Water Filtration System: If the rotten egg smell in your water is present in both your hot and cold water supply, you will likely have to think beyond your water heater to eliminate it. While you may not be able to vanquish the sulfuric gas in your water supply directly, you should be able to get rid of the smell with a water filtration system. Homeowners with hard water may already be using one of these systems, as they can help to ensure the minerals in your water do not wear down your plumbing pipes and other household items faster. Hard water can also cause irritation on your skin and in your hair, and while it does not have any outright negative effects in your health, it does not taste or smell as good as soft water. At Roby Services, we offer a number of water filtration options to help cut down on the levels of minerals and bacteria in your water supply, so sediment does not accumulate as fast in your water heater and larger plumbing system and you can enjoy better smelling, tasting, and feeling water all year-round.

water heater

To learn more about what a home water filtration system can do for you or to request more information about water heater options, just dial (980) 308-0200, or send us a message online.

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