Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

A cracked open rotten egg next to a shower drain

So, you’re trying to take a nice relaxing shower when you’re hit with water that smells like rotten eggs. It’s one of the biggest complaints our customers have when it comes to problems with water.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to get rid of this smell! Keep reading to learn:

  • Why your water smells like rotten eggs
  • The potential issues and risks associated with rotten egg smell
  • How to get rid of that sulfur smell

What Causes Water to Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

When water smells like rotten eggs or “sulfur water,” hydrogen sulfide gas is likely the culprit. This naturally occurring gas frequently contaminates the groundwater in our region.

Hydrogen sulfide typically gets into the water when sulfur-reducing bacteria chemically change sulfate minerals into gas. Sulfur-reducing bacteria thrive in oxygen-deficient environments such as deep wells, plumbing systems, water softeners and water heaters.

Hydrogen sulfide can also come from decomposing organic matter, like dead plants, which often get into wells and springs.

Usually, the smell from hydrogen sulfide is strongest in hot water due to the heat forcing the gas into the air. This can be especially noticeable during hot showers.

Malfunctioning water heaters can also be a source of rotten egg smell in the water. The smell can result from the heater’s magnesium rod (also known as an anode rod and mag rod) breaking down and causing odors in soft water.

What are the Potential Problems Caused by Rotten Egg Smell?

Although your water may smell and taste horrible, it’s generally safe to consume. This is because there are usually never high concentrations in the water. It will also taste so bad that you wouldn’t want to drink it anyway!

However, high amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas can be hazardous to your health. If the gas is released in a small area, it can cause nausea, dizziness, headache and other issues.

On top of this, hydrogen sulfide can also cause many costly and embarrassing problems within the home, including:

  • Change of color in your drinks
  • Taste of foods cooked in the water
  • Corrosion on pipes and metal components of water distribution system
  • Black stains on silverware and plumbing fixtures

So, the rotten egg smell probably won’t harm your health, but it could end up being a very costly and annoying problem.

Graphic listing common symptoms of hydrogen sulfide in water including when water smells like rotten eggs

How Do I Get Rid of Rotten Egg Smell in Water?

There are a few different ways to remedy the rotten egg smell in your water. The first step is to get your water tested to see if your water contains hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants.

The water treatment plan you need will depend on where the hydrogen sulfide is coming from. You will first need to find the source of the hydrogen sulfide gas.

Check Your Water Heater

If your hot water smells like rotten eggs, it is likely because of stagnant water within your water heater. In this case, one of the first things you can do is to drain and flush your tank. If that doesn’t work, you may need to have your water tested by a professional.

You can also try replacing your water heater’s magnesium rod with one made of aluminum or another metal to improve the situation.

Repair Your Private Well

If you use a well to get your water, you may want to consider repairing or renovating your well to keep contaminated surface water out. You may also need to disinfect your well and invest in a specialty filter to get rid of the rotten egg smell for good.

Invest in Water Treatment Equipment

One other solution you could try is a chlorine injection system for your well or plumbing system. This will kill the bacteria that allow for hydrogen sulfide to develop. Other whole house filters may also be excellent long-term solutions for you, depending on your situation. A water treatment expert can help you pick the right filter for your home.

Need More Assistance?

We understand if you don’t want to drink or bathe in foul-smelling water. And you shouldn’t have to! Our filtration systems are the best way to rid your water of that uninviting smell.

If you need help with the rotten egg smell in your water, our licensed experts can assist you. At Angel Water, we offer water testing and a full range of water filtration systems for residential and commercial use. We are committed to a product of the highest quality that is best for your family, the environment, and your peace of mind.

Please call us today at 847-382-7800 or fill out the form below to talk to an expert. We have locations in Barrington, IL, St. Charles, IL, and West Palm Beach, FL.

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