Tap Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Causes & Solutions

image of a homeowner plugging nose because tap water smells like rotten eggs

Have you been wondering about a nasty, egg-like smell coming from your tap water at home? Does it smell like rotten eggs or something similar to it? It is quite common to experience this issue with your plumbing. It’s not a disaster, but it’s also something you don’t want to continue either. Be sure to schedule a plumbing service with a reputable plumber to help you. In this article, we discuss some of the reasons why your tap water smells like rotten eggs.

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Tap Water Supply: Facts to Know

Drinking water can contain hundreds of different chemicals and some gases too. These can build up in the water pipes creating bacteria waiting to be released or nasty gassy smells.

Anyone who isn’t connected to the city’s water supply and relies on a water well may be familiar with odd smells from their H2O. However, familiarity should not breed contempt because it likely indicates contamination of the water supply. This includes when there is a rotten egg odor in the water too.

What Causes the Rotten Egg Smell In Water?

The rotten egg smell does not have a single cause. It has at least two. Sometimes, the smell is suggestive of sulfur. In this case, sulfur bacteria could be present in the water supply nearby. Otherwise, usually, the rotten eggs are caused by hydrogen sulfide gas.

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Hot or Cold Water?

The situation is different when the smell is present when turning on the hot water faucet or the cold-water faucet. You wouldn’t think that would make such a difference, but confusingly, it can do. It’s not always the same root cause, either.

Hot Water Supply

image of a hot water faucet due to hydrogen sulfide gas in water heater

While the water is provided through pipes, fed from the local water supply or your water well, it will go into a water heater first. It’s a possibility that some hydrogen sulfide gas has built up inside the water heater. This is part of a chemical response that’s happening internally. It then gets gradually released when opening the hot water faucet.

Cold Water Supply

With the cold-water faucet, it’s still possible to experience a bad eggy odor. Sulfur bacteria might be in the local water supply or the pipes inside or under your home. Alternatively, hydrogen sulfide gas has developed and is finding its water in the cold-water system. Or both.

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Will Your Health Be Impacted By Foul-Smelling Water?

Our understanding is that hydrogen sulfide doesn’t pose a risk to human health. Therefore, drinking the water is safe from that perspective (you might want to filter out some of the chemicals, though).

However, holding your nose while drinking H2O isn’t a fun game. And if anyone comes to visit and you want to offer them a glass of water, you are kind of stuck! So, it’s not recommended to leave it unresolved.

It’s also possible there are other issues with the water supply too. Unwanted chemicals could be present. These will be undesirable if you rely on the water to cook with, rinse vegetables before slicing them up, or as drinking water.


Should You Hire a Plumber to Fix the Issue?

It is highly recommended that you hire a professional plumber. A general handy-person probably won’t have the expertise to investigate, isolate, and resolve the matter. Rather than paying for two different services, working with a plumber is the most efficient.

Diagnosing the True Cause(s) For Egg-Smelling Water

The real cause of the egg smell in your water supply needs to be properly investigated. If the wrong assumptions are made from the start, then incorrect action will be taken. A plumber, unlike yourself, has encountered these problems with home water supply before. They know how to look for the causes of it and the best approaches to stop it from happening. If you try to do that yourself, you’ll be chasing your tail.

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What Might a Plumber Recommend?

Depending on what a plumber discovers, they may perform fixes on your behalf or make recommendations such as the following:

Flush the Water Heater

image of a plumber flushing a water heater

The water heater may need all its contents flushed out. This will remove the smelly water and any hydrogen sulfide gas built up too. There could be residual sediment in the water heater that’s been contaminating the hot water at the faucets. Older water heaters are the most susceptible to this. A trained plumber flushing the water heater will address this.

Disinfect the Water Heater

If it’s determined that there are bacteria inside the water heater, then it may need disinfecting. This process is time-consuming and may require repeating until the water smells as homeowners expect.

Clear the Home’s Water Pipes

If you’ve been on vacation recently and the home has sat empty, the temporarily stagnant water in the pipes could be a valid reason. Likely, it is several different things, but a plumber can figure that all out. They’ll flush the water pipes to clear them, which will help, but also, should the water smell persist, it helpfully rules it out as a remaining cause.

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Water Softener as the Cause

Some homes in known hard water states have a water softener system installed. This treats the water before it runs through the faucets. Sulfur bacteria might not be the water supply but have contaminated the water softener instead. A plumber can confirm if this is the case and resolve that.


Water Filtration for Improved Water Quality

For anyone interested in improving their water quality by filtering out excess levels of calcium, and unwanted chemicals, then water filtration has much to recommend it. While it’s possible to only use water jugs with built-in replaceable filters, this won’t stop smelly water at the faucets. What’s better is a whole house water filtration system. It can filter out contaminants and bring your water up to an acceptable quality.

Adding water filtration to your home is a great addition and may be suggested by the plumber too. It can work around a variety of local water problems. A plumber will still be needed to sort out bad egg smells in the water, but taking this step goes beyond the single fix. Lastly, the bad egg smell in your water won’t go away by itself. It is something that a professional needs to look into and deal with. Otherwise, it’ll be there forever.


Call Robinson Plumbing For Superior Plumbing Services

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer various plumbing services ranging from whole house water filters, drain clogs, water heater replacements, toilet repairs, water leaks, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your home and budget. Click the link to view our plumbing service area.

Find yourself dealing with an unexpected plumbing problem in the middle of the night? No worries! You can count on the expert plumbers at Robinson Plumbing to take care of you. We offer reliable 24-hour emergency plumbing services. You can count on us to get the job done quickly and correctly and, best of all, at an affordable price.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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