There are a select few basic causes for smelly water, depending on the type of odor you’re dealing with. Some typical descriptions include “rotten egg” or sulfur, chlorine or bleach, or sewage. These can occur naturally from “anaerobic” type bacteria or chemicals building up in the system, whether in sinks, pipes, a water heater, or a well system.
Organic material that begins to decay can also contribute to offensive odors like wastes from food, hair, or a buildup of soap. In some cases, a sewage smell from water can be the result of something more serious like a gas getting into the supply that has the potential for severe harm if ingested. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each to see the causes and some solutions.
What Creates The Sewage-Like Smell And Other Offenses In Your Water
The sewage smell and some of the other common odors can often occur naturally from accumulations of specific chemicals or bacteria. Also, over time organic material begins to build up and starts to decay, creating some of these smells that you experience. But there are also cases where dangerous gases can find their way into the water supply wreaking havoc on the health of those living in the home.
That’s why it’s crucial to immediately find the source of the issue at the slightest sign of an unpleasant odor or nasty aftertaste with the supply. Check out some of the causes and what you can do if you have these smells coming from your tap.
– The Smell Of “Rotten Eggs” Or Sulfur
A common source for this odor is often the water heater. Naturally occurring bacteria in the water will react if the aluminum/magnesium anodes produce gases (hydrogen sulfide). When this smell develops only with hot water running (not cold), that’s typically the issue.
That same smell is also an issue if you shut the water heater down before leaving for some time, like on vacation, and return to this once you turn the system back on.
One solution recommended is to turn the temperature up on the heater and run hot water intermittently to flush the pipes to disinfect the lines. If that doesn’t eliminate the smell, you’ll want to call in a professional to check it.
– The Smell Of Sewage
If you’re experiencing an incredible sewage smell when you turn on the tap, it’s not likely the water heater causing the problem. More likely, the issue is with either the pipes or the sink.
Often bacteria develops from decaying material like hair, soap, food, or other types of organic matter, emitting a heavy type of gas left to sit within the pipes only to be pushed out when the faucet goes on, leading you to believe the water smells bad. Visit here for issues with the sewage smell in the bathroom.
The way to be sure this is the issue is to fill water into a glass and walk into a separate part of the house to see if the water carries the smell. If there’s no odor, the source is in the drain. If it carries the aroma with it, the water heater is your problem. When the drain is the issue, it needs disinfecting to rid the problem.
– The Smell Of Chlorine or Bleach
If you have a heavy smell of bleach, it means the water has too much chlorine. You’ll know the smell if you’ve ever gone into a pool after a chlorine treatment. Public water has chlorine as regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines as the ideal disinfectant as far as effectiveness for killing parasites, viruses, and bacteria plus the safety factor.
In some cases, if the point of use is a considerable distance for the water to travel, there might be additional chlorine, so it stays fresh for an extended period leading to the odor. You can contact a professional if the smell is overbearing for correction.
Correcting The Odors And The Reasons For Them
The ideal way for a homeowner to eliminate even the potential for odors in the water supply is to treat the reasons for them. In some of the more common situations, DIY fixes, like disinfecting the drains or flushing the lines with the water heater, might be enough to fix you right up, and these are ideal troubleshooting techniques. Learn how to get rid of kitchen sink smells at https://www.homeserve.com/uk/living/plumbing-and-drainage/how-to-get-rid-of-kitchen-sink-smells/.
For the drain, you’ll want to use equal parts household baking soda/white vinegar standing x 10 minutes followed by boiling water. With a water heater, you need to be cautious when turning it up to flush the lines to avoid scalding
When, and if, these fixes don’t solve the problem, don’t hesitate to contact a water treatment specialist. A sewage smell, in particular, has the potential for being related to hydrogen sulfide gases getting into the water supply. The gas is dangerous to individual health and the system needs a thorough check to realize precisely what impurities and gases are lingering there.
The specialist will be able to determine a solution based on what those tests reveal. It can include the possibility for a whole house treatment involving a unit on the point of entry. That will clear water that comes into any area of the home, whether it’s the shower, an appliance, a sink, any entry, leaving it fresh with no odor or aftertaste.
At the first indication you have smelly water, troubleshooting needs to begin so you can identify the source. You could easily have a situation with a simple DIY remedy, but you won’t know until you go through some of the steps as outlined.
If nothing works, you’ll need to contact a professional for guidance. And if you’re someone who drinks a lot of water, as all of us should be, you might consider speaking with a water treatment specialist so that your resource remains top quality and you can keep peace of mind.