How to Permanently Stop When Your Home's Water Smells Bad

Why Water Smells Bad

Smelly water can smell like a number of different things, but one thing is for certain: nobody wants to drink or wash in water that smells bad. Identifying what the water smells like can help homeowners determine how to prevent this issue from persisting or coming back.

Whether it’s the telltale scent of sulfur (rotten eggs) from hard water or a dirty water heater, or the stench of sewage indicating a dirty sink and drain pipe, the tips below will help homeowners banish the smells from their homes for good.

Water Softeners for Hard Water Smells

Most people have heard of water being referred to as either hard or soft, but what does that mean? Hard water is water with high mineral deposits of calcium and magnesium. Soft water is water that has been treated to eliminate those minerals through a process called ion exchange, and thus remove and negative effects of hard water.

water softeners

While hard water does have some health benefits, it also has a few drawbacks, which is why some homeowners choose to soften it. One of the big drawbacks of hard water is that it can develop the scent of sulfur, commonly identified as smelling like rotten eggs. Installing a water softener to remove the calcium and magnesium in the water, which will in turn help eliminate the bad smell.

Disinfecting Sinks and Drain Pipes

Noticing when and where the water smells can also help identify the problem. If it smells like sewage when the faucet is turned on, then this might be an indicator that it’s time to disinfect the sink and clean the pipes.

Food and debris that sit in sinks or drains can leave behind decaying particles. When water hits them, the smell is released, making it seem like the water stinks. Regularly disinfecting sinks and drain pipes will kill and remove the particles, and the bad smell.

clean sinksDisinfect the sink following these steps:
  1. Clean the surface of the sink with warm water and dish soap.
  2. Fill the sink with warm (not hot) water.
  3. Add a capful of bleach for every gallon of water.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the sink, and wipe it out.
  6. Let it air dry.

The sink may also need to be polished with a vinegar solution or dish towel after disinfecting, but this should clear up the sewage smell emanating from the sink and drain.

Does Your Hot Water Stink?

If the water only smells when the hot water is turned on, though it might be something else entirely. When hot water stinks, it usually has that same sulfur smell mentioned previously, and it points to the hot water heater. Sometimes it just happens when the hot water heater hasn’t been used in a while, like after residents have been on vacation.

This can be remedied by turning on all the hot water faucets in the property and letting them run for 10 minutes to flush the water heater and smelly water out.

hot water stinks

Smelly hot water may also mean there are some less than desirable chemical reactions happening in the hot water tank with the anodes. These reactions are normal and can be fixed fairly easily by calling a plumber to either replace the magnesium anode with an aluminum anode or to install an imposed current anode.

About E.R. Plumbing Services

From drain cleaning to sewer line repair, and emergency plumbing to water heater services, E.R. Plumbing Services has homeowners in Matthews, NC, and surrounding areas covered. Their licensed professionals have been proudly serving residents since 1997.

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