Why Does My Well Water Smell Like Eggs

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Hydrovivs Toilet Tank Test For Rotten Egg Smell

Why does my well water smell like rotten eggs?

The first thing we do when a customer comes to us with a smelly water problem, is have them take the lid off their toilets tank and take a few pictures that can be sent to us . The toilet tank is a great observation point for us because its typically the most accessible place in the home where water is constantly resupplied from the source and is rarely cleaned out .

We examine the pictures to look for clues for whats going on in the water. For example, if the tank has slimy, rusty deposits, theres a good chance that the smell is being generated by iron bacteria. If there are brownish/black deposits visible, the water probably has high levels or iron and/or manganese. Based on whats in the pictures, we can usually custom-blend filtration media to fix the problem!

Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs Hydrogen Sulfide And Sulfur Bacteria In Well Water

Hydrogen sulfide gas can give water a rotten egg taste or odor. This gas can occur in wells anywhere and be:

  • Naturally occurring – a result of decay and chemical reactions with soil and rocks.
  • Produced by certain sulfur bacteria in the groundwater, well, or plumbing system.
  • Produced by sulfur bacteria or chemical reactions inside of water heaters.
  • From pollution .

Effects Of Sulfur In The Water

Hydrogen sulfide gas is not usually a threat to human health in the low concentrations it is usually found in the household. Most people can detect its presence in concentrations well 0.5 mg/L, so its usually dealt with before it can cause problems

Despite being a low health risk, hydrogen sulfide gas may also cause several other problems:

  • may produce a laxative effect
  • is highly flammable and has a chance of exploding
  • can cause slime or black stains on plumbing and kitchenware
  • can discolor copper and brass utensils
  • can cause corrosion on metal pipes

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Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Choose A Method To Get Rid Of Rotten Egg Or Sulfur Smell In Water

ONE: If you have sulfur odor only in both cold and hot water, and no iron or manganese the best option is to use an Air Charger Carbon Filter with a peroxide cleaning kit .

TWO: If you have extreme sulfur odors from the cold well water, we recommend shocking the well with chlorine and then installing a peroxide injection system with a backwashing carbon filter .

THREE: If your well water smells like rotten eggs and you have iron in your water and rust staining, install a chlorinator followed by an iron filter.

FOUR: If you have rotten-egg sulfur smells in the hot water only, we recommend installing a Water Heater Odor Killer.

How To Fix The Sulfur Smell In Water

What To Do When Your Well Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs / My Water ...

Depending on the cause of your water problem, you can try a few fixes to remove the sulfur smell from your water. Keep in mind that its best to contact a professional to get an assessment of the situation. However, you may be able to eliminate the issue in the meantime.

If your problem is stemming from your water heater, you can try to:

  • Remove the anode rod: Remove the anode from the water heater. Note that this option could void the warranty on your water heater.
  • Disinfect water heater with chlorine: Consider chlorinating your water heater to remove the sulfuric bacteria. While this option can be effective, you may find that the problem returns over time.
  • Increase water heater temperature: Increase your water heater temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours to destroy the sulfur bacteria. Keep in mind that this option requires extreme caution.

If you smell sulfur while running both the hot and cold water, youll likely have to treat the water using a chemical feed or a similar solution, as the issue lies with your water source.

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Can You Drink Sulfur Water

If the sulfur level in your drinking water is not too high, it shouldnt lead to any health issues. However, too much sulfate could lead to the following problems:

  • Diarrhea and dehydration: Drinking water with a high sulfate content can have a laxative effect and lead to diarrhea, which can then cause dehydration.
  • Bitter taste: Sulfates can cause a bitter taste due to scale deposits in pipes.
  • Pipe-clogging slime: Sulfates can lead to slime that clogs pipes or stains clothing.
  • Ineffective bleach: Sulfates may reduce the power of bleach and make it difficult to clean clothing adequately.

Hydrogen sulfide also does not cause health issues in drinking water as long as the levels are not too high, but it can cause other problems such as the following:

  • Foul odor: Hydrogen sulfide causes a rotten egg smell in water, and can make drinks and other beverages unappetizing.
  • Poor taste: Hydrogen sulfide can affect the taste of drinks and food.
  • Corroded metal: Hydrogen sulfide wears away metals such as iron, steel and copper. As a result, hydrogen sulfide can shorten the lifespan of pipes and affect a homes plumbing system.
  • Stained fixtures: Hydrogen sulfide may cause yellow or black stains on fixtures in the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Tarnished utensils: Hydrogen sulfide can create a black tarnish on silverware and stain copper or brass utensils.

Is Sulfur Water Safe

If you notice a rotten egg smell in your water, youre probably wondering if you and your family are safe. A rotten egg odor is a sign that the sulfur levels in your water may be too high. Sometimes, a strange smell indicates the presence of other contaminants.

Its understandable if you dont want to drink or bathe in foul-smelling water, nor should you have to. Good, clean water is free of taste or odors and doesnt pose any risks to your health. If your water has an unpleasant rotten egg smell or taste, were here to help. In this post, well explore the risks associated with sulfur water, answer common questions and show you how to treat sulfur water. You can have clear water that doesnt smell bad or damage the pipes in your home, whether your water comes from a well or a public source.

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Where Can I Find More Advice

For more information about your private well, speak to your regions Department of Health or check out the departments website online. If you have specific questions about your location and how it may affect your ground water quality, its best to contact someone whos in a good position to help. And, of course, if you have any reason to believe that your well isnt safe for use, booking a well inspection from an expert will help to address your concerns.

How To Get Rid Of The Sulfur Smell Caused By The Water Heater

Stinky rotten egg, sulfur smelling water cheap and easy fix!

There are two main reasons why sulfates turn into hydrogen sulfide inside the water heater, corrosion or overgrowth of SRB.

Problem 1: Magnesium or Aluminum Anode Rod Corrosion

A sacrificial anode rod is a protective component present in most water heaters. Its purpose is to trap corrosive minerals and protect the lining of the water tank.

However, these rods are often made of magnesium or aluminum. When these rods eventually corrode, the metal ions react with water sulfates, turning them into hydrogen sulfide.

How to solve it?

Replace the magnesium or aluminum rod with a zinc rod. Zinc traps corrosive minerals in the same way as aluminum or magnesium, but it doesnt react with sulfates in the same way. Thus, the reaction wont release hydrogen sulfide.

Problem 2: SRB overgrowth

Sulfur-reducing bacteria are called this way because it feeds on sulfates, eventually reducing them to hydrogen sulfide.

If your water is rich in sulfates, SRB may overgrow inside the water heater tank, causing the rotten egg smell. This issue may be prevalent if you use well water. Most municipal water treatment facilities use chlorine and other chemicals to kill SRB.

How to solve it?

If you use municipal water, but your hot water smells of sulfur, you should call a plumber to flush and sanitize the water heater tank.

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Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs : Reasons And How To Fix It

Our water supplies contain a naturally occurring ion called sulfate. In low concentrations, sulfate doesnt alter the organoleptic properties of water.

However, chemical reactions with other ions or sulfur-reducing bacteria in wells or plumbing systems can produce hydrogen sulfide.

The reason your water smells like eggs is that it is from a toxic gas called hydrogen sulfide.

When hydrogen sulfide is trapped in water, it gives the liquid a foul smell such as sulfur.

Olfactory issues aside, hydrogen sulfide may also alter the taste of water. So, how can you fix this issue? Lets delve into it.

Why Does My Cold Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs

If your cold water also smells like rotten eggs, the problem is your water supply.

To know if your cold water smells like rotten eggs, perform the test I described earlier. The culprit responsible for this problem is the same SRB. But it means that problem is the source of your water supply.

In this case, you need a water treatment system. The best solution is a water purification device. But water filters or purifiers have to be cleaned. Do that as often as the manufacturer recommends.

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Top 6 Ways To Get Rid Of Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

1. Shock your well with chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide to get temporary relief from sulfur odors. Often keeps odors away for 1 2 months.

2. Chlorinator: Install a chlorine injector system on your wellhead for continuous injection of chlorine when the water is running. Chlorination eliminates the sulfur bacteria that cause the odor, and combined with an Air Charger self-cleaning backwash carbon filter can eliminate odors continuously and take out chlorine residual before the home.

3. Peroxide: Install the same system as a chlorinator but use hydrogen peroxide in place of chlorine bleach, followed by backwashing catalytic carbon filter. Unlike chlorine, no residual salts or residues are left in the water after water flows through the carbon system.

4. Air Charger Carbon Filter: Install an Air Charger Catalytic Carbon Filter. No chemicals are needed, however, the system also can inject peroxide to make the catalytic carbon last longer. No filter cartridges to change, carbon lasts for several years and is easy to change out.

5. Air Compressor Tank Aeration System: This injects a lot of air under pressure and can eliminate odors under certain conditions.

6. Ozone Gas: Expensive but can be very effective. Inject ozone gas under pressure to quickly eliminate sulfur odors

What Causes The Smell

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If your water smells like rotten eggs, the odor is usually caused by the levels of sulfur bacteria and Hydrogen Sulfide that can be found in a buildings water supply. If you only experience the smell when using your hot tap, it may be a chemical reaction occurring inside your hot water heater, and not a problem with your water supply.

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Iron Sulfur Or Bacteria In Your Water Source

If your drain isnt to blame, your water source might be the issue after all.

Bacteria or sulfur in your water gives a smell of rotten eggs or sewage. Certain geographical regions naturally have a lot of hydrogen sulfide gas in the ground, which can leach into groundwater supplies and give off a distinctive rotten egg odor.

If harmful bacteria has entered your water source, you might have an improperly located or defective septic system within the wells vicinity. Your county health department can help you to deal with this issue.

Iron may also combine with bacteria, forming iron bacteria, which is also known to smell like sewage or dirt. Bacterial iron has an orange, sludge-like appearance and a musty smell, and is often found in your toilet bowl and sinks. If your natural groundwater chemistry encourages bacterial iron growth, this may be the cause of the bad smell in your water.

How To Get Rid Of The Rotten Egg Smell

To get rid of the bad odor, youll want to contact a plumber to flush and disinfect your tank. Doing so will remove the bacteria and particles that create hydrogen sulfide. During a water heater flush, a plumber can replace your anode rod if it is corroded to prevent the smell in the future.

If you use well water, there may be a high count of SRB in the water. One solution is to have a plumber perform a shock chlorination treatment. Adding chlorine to the water will kill the SRB and thereby reduce the rotten egg odor in your water heater.

Want to prevent the rotten egg smell from coming back? Try the preventative measures below.

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Is Sulfuric Water Safe To Drink And Use

Is the sulfur-smelling water coming from your tap safe to drink and use? Different water types can affect your health in various ways. In most cases, hydrogen sulfide in your water is not a threat to your health. However, a water supply containing too much sulfur can cause the following implications:

  • Diarrhea: If you drink water containing too much sulfur, you may experience stomach issues like diarrhea. These effects can be especially detrimental to the health of infants and young animals.
  • Dehydration: Those who experience diarrhea often become dehydrated, so sulfuric water is risky in that regard, as well.
  • Taste: Alongside the foul aroma, sulfur can impact how water tastes.
  • Pipe corrosion: A water supply with high levels of sulfate can wear away metals such as iron, steel and copper, causing plumbing issues.
  • Discoloration: Thanks to sulfur in your water, you may notice discoloration on your silverware, utensils and sink fixtures.

While its uncommon for sulfur levels in water to become so high that you experience these issues, you should still understand the risks of high levels of sulfur in your water. Ignoring sulfur-smelling water can be extremely detrimental to your familys health. As a result, its crucial to find a solution before the sulfur becomes an issue.

Smell Occurs When Water Is Off For A Few Hours

Does your hot water smell like rotten eggs? Here is the fix.

If you only notice the odor or taste after your water has been off for awhile, like when you brush your teeth in the morning, it may be caused by the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria in your well. Sulfate-reducing bacteria feeds off sulfates and hydrogen sulfide is created as a waste byproduct.


Chlorinating your water well can remove the presence of these bacteria and restore your water. This should only be done by a professional well water technician.

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Bacteria In Your Water Heater

Noticed that only your hot water smells like sewage or rotten eggs? You might have a problem with bacteria growing in your hot water heater.

If your household water heaters thermostat is set too low, your hot water is unused for a long time, or the heater is turned off for several weeks, the risk of bacteria buildup is likely. This problem doesnt usually pose a risk to your health, but it can make your water smell and taste unpleasant.

Organic matter in your plumbing system may also gather inside your hot water tank, giving water a foul smell. Make sure to get your heater serviced as recommended by your plumber to prevent this issue.

Can A Water Softener Fix My Hydrogen Sulfide Problems

A water softener removes the minerals that cause water hardness. But, it is not a water filter or a water purifier. The salt in your water softener pulls hydrogen sulfide to itself. So, you water softener cannot get rid of the sulfur smell in your water.

If anything, it will only make the smell worse.

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How To Fix Smelly Well Water

If you well has not been properly maintained or disinfected then you will likely end up in a situation where you are going to have to have your well system treated and disinfected. You first want to clean and sanitize the water but also you want to prevent the issue from coming back.

Here are a few options to consider:

  • Install a chlorine or hydrogen peroxide injector at the well head. This will inject chlorine or hydrogen peroxide into the water when it is running. If you choose this option, you will need to also install a filter system to make sure any residual chlorine is removed before the water enters the home.

  • You can also add a filter system to filter out some of the bacteria before entering the home. This doesn’t require the use of chemicals to be added and you can go several years without needing to change out the filter.

  • An air compressor Tank Aeration system can also help prevent odors due to the injection of very high pressure air.

At West Winds Water Well we can test your water, sanitize your well system and helping you set up preventative systems as well.

If you have any questions about the odor in your well water or any other well related questions, give us a call 24/7 435.660.0342.

Effects Of Sulfur Water

Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Sulfur in your water supply is easily recognized by its offensive odor.Hydrogen sulfide gas causes the “rotten-egg” or sulfur water smell. Hydrogensulfide in water causes no known health effects. However, high concentrationsdo change the taste of the water.

Hydrogen sulfide dissolved in water corrodes metals such as iron, steel,copper and brass. The corrosion of iron and steel from sulfur forms ferroussulfide or “black water.” Hydrogen sulfide in water can blacken silverwareand discolor copper and brass utensils.

Sulfur water makes cleaning clothes very difficult. Using chlorine bleach insulfur water reduces the cleaning power of detergent. Hydrogen sulfide inwater also corrodes exposed metal parts in washing machines.

Iron and manganese, often present with hydrogen sulfide, turn the water blackand greasy-feeling. If untreated, the water stains laundry, washing machines,sinks and kitchenware. When used in the laundry, chlorine bleach reacts withiron and manganese forming dark rusty or brownish stains on clothes.

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