The Water in My House Smells Like Eggs – Why?

Has the unpleasant smell of the water in your home got you worried? If you’re experiencing an egg/sulfur smell or taste coming from your water, we can help. At this point, you’re probably wondering where the smell and taste are coming from. The odor you are smelling is usually caused by hydrogen sulfide gas in the water.

Why has this happened? This happens when bacteria in the water react with sulfur and the magnesium and aluminum anodes that come in most water heaters. Hydrogen sulfide gas can also occur naturally in some groundwater.

Should you be concerned?

Usually, your water is safe to drink because the odor and taste you are experiencing are typically so unbearable at very low levels that most people don’t ingest enough of the water for it to be harmful. It’s important to be aware though, that you can become desensitized to the taste and hydrogen sulfide gas when inhaled as a gas, even at low levels can have harmful effects.

Hydrogen sulfide gas while mainly a nuisance as a water contaminant, can be corrosive to certain metals, pipes and can discolor copper and brass fixtures. It can also affect the taste and appearance of coffee, tea and foods cooked in the contaminated water.

If you’re experiencing water that smells like eggs or sulfur it most likely means that there is a water contamination issue that you should address.

What to do:

Call a professional plumber to help you locate the source.

Typical scenarios:

 You only smell the egg/sulfur smell when your hot water is turned on.

  • If this is the case, the problem is most likely in the water heater. You may be able to solve the problem by switching out the standard magnesium or aluminum anode rod with an aluminum/zinc alloy rod.

The smell appears when using both the hot and cold water.

  • If it’s in water treated by a water softener but not in the un-softened water, the problem is likely to be sulfur bacteria in the water softener. A change in the water softener solution should resolve the problem.

The smell appears when using both the hot and cold water but only when the faucet is first turned on.

  • In this case, the issue is likely in the groundwater. If the smell diminishes or completely goes away after the water has run for a bit, it’s likely that there’s sulfur bacteria in the well or distribution system.

For a complete diagnosis and more information on the topic it’s best to call a local plumbing professional. At Lindstrom, no matter what your plumbing needs are, we offer the services and products to meet them.