If your water smells like rotten eggs, the odor is usually caused by the levels of sulphur that can be found in your home’s water supply. As the water comes out of the faucet, the sulphur hits the air, becomes oxidized, turns into hydrogen sulfide gas, and that’s when you get that terrible smell.
Not only can that smell be a sign that there are unwanted elements in your family’s water, but it can also cause am embarrassing and unpleasant smell for your family and your visitors. You don’t want your guests - or yourself - feeling dirtier when they get out of the shower than they did when they got in.
Gary The Water Guy:
Do you have that horrible rotten egg smell in your water? You know that sulfur? It's just terrible. I mean, you get used to it to some degree, but your guests come over, and they remind you of the smell. It's so embarrassing. You've heard that there's different systems that will get rid of that smell. There's chemical systems and chemical-free systems like this FOC, but how can that possibly work? Well, I'm going to explain it to you right now.
Gary The Water Guy:
Hi, I'm Gary, The Water Guy, and I simplify water filtration to help you conquer crappy water for your family. This is a chemical-free HUM FOC iron-sulfur filter. Basically, how it works it uses air to oxidize out the sulfur out of the water. If there's a little bit of iron, less than one part per million of iron, it'll also oxidize that out. But again, it's totally chemical-free, and there's no filters to the cartridges to change. Nothing like that. It's super low maintenance.
Gary The Water Guy:
But let me explain to you how it works. It works off air, oxidizing out the sulfur out of the water. When your water comes out of the faucet, it hits the air, and that's where it gives off that sulfur smell. Before it hit the air, that smell wasn't given off. So what we want to do is go in to introduce the water to oxygen inside this tank to get rid of the smell inside the tank. So, inside this tank, it has a big air cap, a big air bubble, if you like, at the top of the tank. Whenever you run your water, your water is sprayed through that air bubble, and it brings out the sulfur smell inside the tank. Then as the water passes down through over the media, and the media inside here is catalytic carbon, or a charged carbon, also called centaur carbon, and that's actually what the C in FOC stands for.
Gary The Water Guy:
But as that oxidized sulfur and iron passes over that charged carbon inside the tank, it sticks to it. Then as it gets to the bottom of the tank, it comes in contact with this screen or this filter at the bottom, if you like. So the water flows down through the sides of the tank, flows into this filter, and then it flows up through the middle and then goes on to your whole house. So on an ongoing basis, whenever you run your water, it goes through that cycle. After three days of use, we have to clean up that media inside there and get rid of any of the iron that's been filtered out. So at a predetermined time that the unit is set for, usually 2:00 AM, 3:00 AM, some time like that when there's no water usage in the home, it goes through its cycle.
Gary The Water Guy:
There's actually two aspects to the cycle. The first one is that it backwashes. Now what it does is it reverses the flow. Now the water goes down through this tube, comes out through the screen at the bottom, and forces the media up. In fact, it expands the media from filling just about a third of the tank to actually filling the whole tank. At the same time, it's pushing out that air bubble, and it backwashes all that oxidized and precipitated iron out to the drain. Once it's finished doing that, then it sucks in air through this air injector at the top.
Gary The Water Guy:
This is what it looks like. It's a little easier to see when I hold it up here. But it's a one-way valve, so it sucks air in through here. And how it does that, there's this little injector. I'll put it this way here. This little injector that sits inside here, and what that does, it creates the suction. It's a Venturi effect. It creates the suction and sucks in air. So it rebuilds that air bubble. Once it's rebuilt that air bubble, it puts it back into service. It takes about 45 minutes for it to go through this whole cycle.
Gary The Water Guy:
This HUM Water Care sulfur filter, as I said, also removes iron. How much? It will remove about four parts per million of sulfur, but only up to one part per million of iron. So if your sulfur content is relatively high, but your iron content is relatively low, this is the best choice for you. To learn more about these chemical-free air over media, iron-sulfur filters, how to install them, how to maintain them, et cetera, just click up here. That'll take you right to my next video on this series, and I'll see you there.
That rotten egg smell is not usually an indication that your water is unsafe to drink, but it is an indication that your water is not the purest that it can be.
How to Fix That Rotten Egg Smell in Your Water?
Nobody likes eggs in their water, unless – of course - they are actually trying to cook eggs. And absolutely nobody likes rotten eggs, in and out of their water. So, having a rotten egg smell accost you every time you turn on a tap is unpleasant and unappetizing.
So how do you fix it?
The first thing you want to figure it is where the rotten egg smell is coming from.
For example, if you only experience the smell when using the hot water, the source of the issue is likely coming from your hot water heater and not the main water supply.
Also, of the smell only seems to be noticeable at one sink in the home, but not others, the issue could be with a buildup of Sulphur residue in the drain.
However, if you get that rotten egg smell with both your cold and hot water throughout the house, then there are likely high levels of Sulphur in your water supply that needs to be addressed before you can get rid of that smell.
Rotten Egg Smell with Hot Water Only
If it is only your hot water that smells like rotten eggs, this is most often caused by an issue with your water heater. The best way to fix this is to contact a licenses hot water heater maintenance company or by replacing your hot water tank.
It's possible that your old hot water heater has become overloaded with mineral deposits from your home's water supply and is now at the point where it needs to be repaired or replaced.
Rotten Egg Smell from Treated Cold Water
If your cold water also smells like rotten eggs, check to make sure it has the same smell before an after any other water treatment systems you have in place. For example, if you have an old water softener in your home, it could be the source of the problem. Check the treated and untreated water. In most cases, outside water is left untreated, so you can check the smell of your water from the outside lines to find out of the issue is the water supply or something that happens after the water enters your home’s water distribution systems.
If you do have a Sulphur bacteria build-up in your water softener, consider cleaning out the brine tank first and then replacing the softener media if that does not fix the issue.
If neither of those work, you might want to consider investing in a new water softener .
Rotten Egg Smell Only at One Sink
If you notice the rotten egg smell only in the master bathroom sink, but nowhere else in the house, it is likely coming from the drain and not the water. When you run the water to brush your teeth, enough water will go down the drain to stir up the accumulated contaminants and gas, which will release the smell upwards and into your face.
If you take the drain trap apart, thoroughly clean it, and put it back into place, you should notice the smell go away immediately.
Rotten Egg Smell from All Water, Everywhere
If the smell is strong when either the hot or cold faucets are turned on, anywhere in the house you most likely have an accumulation of sulphur bacteria in your home’s water supply. This is most common with homes on a well water system.
You may notice that the rotten egg smell gets better or goes away after the water has run for a while. This does not mean the problem is clearing itself up. You may also notice that the smell seems to fade over time, but that is more likely that you’ve simply become accustomed to the smell.
If you have too much Sulphur in your water supply, the best way to get rid of that is by installing an Iron and Sulphur removal system which can effectively remove those contaminants before they reach your taps.
Not only can this help improve the smell and taste of your water, but it will also help reduce any damage or corrosion to your pipes as well as discoloration to your silverware and plumbing fixtures.
FOC and FOB Chemical Free Iron and Sulphur filters do not contain any filter cartridges to replace or chemicals or salt to add. This method is the easiest and most inexpensive way to significantly reduce iron content from your family’s household water. This process is so successful that you will actually forget that you once had Iron and Sulphur in your water
The Four Step Process for Fixing That Rotten Egg Smell
If you are experiencing that terrible rotten egg smell with your water, here is a simple process to identify and fix the issues.
- Identify the Source – Is the smell in your hot water? Your cold water? Or both?
- Find The Cause – Determine if the source water is contaminated, or if an existing water appliance is causing the issue.
- Clean, Repair, or Replace Water Treatment Systems – This includes your water heater, as well as any water softeners or reverse osmosis systems you have in place.
- Install an Effective Filtration System - Iron and Sulphur filtration from water can be accomplished many ways. We feature and recommend chemical free oxidation using, you guessed it, air!
Hopefully, you can get rid of that rotten egg smell in your water and only ever have to deal with a smell like that when you accidentally crack open a rotten egg.
Remember, bad smells are not only unpleasant, but could be a sign of a bigger problem. Never ignore any kind of unpleasant smell when it comes to your family's drinking water. Although not all of them indicate a potential health risk, it's always better safe than sorry.
Have a problem with your water? Feel free to reach out to us! We can help!
Increase the water heater temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) for several hours. This will destroy the sulfur bacteria. Flushing to remove the dead bacteria after treatment should control the odor problem.
If the sulfur level in your drinking water is not too high, it shouldn't 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.
If the problem is in the drain, the tap water in the glass should not have an odor. To flush the drain, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour half a cup of vinegar. Wait 15 minutes, and then pour in hot tap water.
If your water smells like rotten eggs, that likely indicates the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas. This could be due to a problem with your water heater or naturally occurring sulfur bacteria, especially in well water. These issues can produce hydrogen sulfide, which leaves an unpleasant scent wherever it goes.
Taking a shower with sulfur water is perfectly safe. The presence of sulfur in water, which mostly gives off a “rotten egg odor”, has no known health effects on your health or overall wellbeing. If you can tolerate the smell, there's nothing wrong with showering in sulfur water.