Why Does My House Smell Like Sulfur? (Explained) (2022)

You might have come across the foul smell of rotten eggs in your house. Sometimes it is easy to detect the origin of the smell, other times, it seems to be prevalent throughout the house.

This smell, like rotten egg, is what sulfur smells like. Whether it’s a faint odor, or a strong one, you should never ignore the possibilities when your house smells like sulfur.

Why does my house smell like sulfur?

There are several reasons why your house smells like sulfur, and the primary one could be related to a gas leak. However, sewer gases in drain pipes and contamination in water sources can also be a cause of the sulfur smell. Moreover, a bad anode rod in a water heater can produce sulfur like smell.

Table of Contents

Why Does My House Smell Like Sulfur? (Explained) (1)

There are a few good explanations as to why your house might be smelling like sulfur. Detecting the source is important to stop the smell and the possible leak.

Gas leaks:

One of the most common reasons why your house might be smelling like sulfur is a possible gas leak.

Although natural or propane gas does not have any smell of its own, they are injected with a distinctive smell on purpose from the gas companies. This makes it easier for residents and dwellers to detect a gas leak if there is any.

(Video) Sulfur Smell Explained

The odor is usually nonlocalized and might be an occasional hit to your nose. In any case, you may want to turn off any central heating or cooling system immediately.

It is most wise to contact the utility company who would ensure whether there is a leak after all.

Sewer gases from drainpipe or toilet:

If you notice that the sulfur like smell is coming from one of the drain pipes or toilets, the smell is associated with sewer gasses.

Whether it’s the tub or shower area, the plumbing system has a “p” trap that is installed in the drainage system. These traps are meant to stop the sewer gases from entering your home.

The sewer gases are stopped by the traps with the help of retained water. If in any case, this water evaporates, the p trap does not work to stop the sewer gases, which enter your home to smell like sulfur.

The water in the p trap may evaporate if the particular tub or toilet has not been used for some time.

Problems in the water source:

If there is contamination in your water source, you may be smelling sulfur in your house.

This is most common if your house receives water from a well, which can get contaminated by natural organisms.

In other eater sources, the buildup or breakdown of microorganisms along with other natural wastes causes this foul odor to initiate. The odor is due to the build up of hydrogen sulfide.

Why does my house smell like sulfur when it rains?

Everyone loves rainy, relaxing weather but when it is followed by foul odors of sulfur all over the house, the experience is never so pleasant.

(Video) What does it mean when you smell sulfur?

When your house smells like sulfur or rotten eggs when it rains, it is mostly caused by sewer gases or methane gases entering the house.

When it rains, the air in the atmosphere becomes much heavier, causing the atmospheric pressure to change drastically. This causes the sewer gases to stay on the ground instead of flowing out through the vent.

Moreover, since the temperature becomes colder when there is rain, downdrafts are most likely to cause the same sulfur smell in the house. In such a case, you may notice how the smell goes away once the temperature is hotter.

If the venting system is blocked in your septic tank, or if the pump is broken, you may face the same issues since the old wastewater cannot be replaced by the new.

Why do these rooms in my house smell like sulfur?

Sulfur like the smell in your room would not have the same source as the smell coming from your kitchen. Hence, you may want to know what it means when each of there rooms in your house smells like sulfur:

Bedroom:

If your room has a sulfur like the smell, you may want to check the central heating or cooling system first.

Any leaks on these systems may cause a smell. Although rare, drywall in your room can also cause off-gassing that produces similar sulfur like smell.

Laundry room:

If your laundry room smells like sulfur, you may want to check your washing machine first.

Some commonly, a buildup of mold and mildew in our washing machines is natural. If the washing machine is not vented properly, the same problem is likely.

This is because of the presence of moisture and heat. The buildup of scum in your washer area is another reason why your laundry room has that funny smell.

(Video) Why Do I have a Sewer Smell in My House or Outside My House | How to Find the Source!

Other than that, if there is contamination in the septic tank or blockage in the draining system, your laundry would smell like sulfate.

Kitchen:

If you can detect a slight sulfur smell and doubt that it is coming from the kitchen, you should immediately suspect a gas leak.

Although natural or propane gas is odorless, Gas leaks have a distinctive smell created by the gas utility companies. In that case, it is vital to immediately contact experts or the fire department.

However, kitchen sink drainpipes are also a major reason why your kitchen might be smelling strange. If the p trap in the sink basin is short of water, the sewer gases would travel up to your kitchen.

What does it mean if your house smells like sulfur?

Coming home to a sulfur like smell can be annoying to your peace of mind and to know how to get rid of the smell, you would need to know what it means when your house gives off the sulfur like smell.

While there are a couple of meanings to the sulfur smell in your house, a probable gas leak is one of the most likely ones.

Since natural gas does not have any smell of its own, gas companies add sulfur like smell to the gas. This helps people in homes and offices to distinguish a gas leak smell and consequent take action for it.

If your house smell like sulfur, it could also mean that your house is infiltrated with hydrogen sulfide. This gas is a by product of contamination or decay in the sewer drain system.

If the drainage is blocked or the p trap is not working right, the sewer gases can make their way to your homes.

What should I do if I smell sulfur in my house?

If you smell sulfur in your house, the first thing to do is think about safety, especially if you have an appliance that runs on propane or natural gas. This could be a stove or a water heater that has the possibility of a gas leak.

(Video) Sewer Odor in the ENTIRE HOUSE! You WON'T Believe where it was coming from...Twin Plumbing

You may want to turn off any of these appliances and leave the space. It is vital to call for emergency fire or utility aid, to check if the gas leak is coming from your furnace, heater, or stove.

However, if you notice that the smell might be coming from someplace else, check the drainpipe p trap. Contact the plumber or use your plumbing skills to fix the p trap.

You may also have to test the water to see if there is the contamination of hydrogen sulfide. You may do so by using water testing kits available in most stores.

How do get rid of sulfur in the house?

Depending on the source of the sulfur smell, you may follow the steps to get rid of the smell in the house:

Call a professional:

If you suspect a gas leak in one of your natural gas or propane appliances, you may want to leave your house and call a professional.

Check drainpipe:

Check the drainpipe and see if the p trap is dry. If it is, turn the faucet on and keep the water running for a few minutes. This would help accumulate tap water in the p trap for it to work again.

Install filter in waterline:

If you have well water in your faucet, you may want to install a proper filtration system. Activated carbon filters and reverse osmosis filtration works best in that case.

Check water heater anode:

Have a professional plumber check on the water heater anode. If it is corroded, you may want to have it replaced immediately.

Final Thoughts

The primary reason why your house might be smelling like sulfur is the infiltration of hydrogen sulfide gas. There could also be a natural gas or propane leak from the furnace or gas stove. Blockage in the drain pipe and contaminants in well water can also cause the house to smell like sulfur.

FAQs

Why Does My House Smell Like Sulfur? (Explained)? ›

If you have a shower, tub, or sink that gets minimal use, the odor could be caused by sewer gas filtering into your home through an empty plumbing trap. Sewer gas contains methane, which has a distinctive sulfur smell. The drains from your fixtures all connect to the main sewer pipe that exits your home.

What would cause a sulfur smell in your house? ›

If you come home one day and smell rotten eggs, it's most likely hydrogen sulfide — the smell of sewer gas. If the issue isn't one of the ones mentioned above, then it's likely a sewer gas leak. Our noses tend to adjust to this smell quickly, so even if it disappears, there still could be a sewage problem.

Should I leave my house if I smell rotten eggs? ›

When you smell the dreaded rotten-egg-sulfur-odor wafting around your house, caution is king. And we'll just say this now: If there's even the slightest chance that you could have a gas leak, leave your home and call your utility company or the fire department right away.

How do you get rid of sulfur smell in house? ›

Chlorine bleach can effectively remove medium to high levels (over 6 mg/l) of hydrogen sulfide. The chlorine in the bleach chemically reacts with (oxi- dizes) the hydrogen sulfide eliminating the "rotten egg" odor. Chlorine bleach also reacts with iron or manganese, and disinfects water supplies.

What does it mean when you smell sulfur for no reason? ›

Brief episodes of phantom smells or phantosmia — smelling something that's not there — can be triggered by temporal lobe seizures, epilepsy, or head trauma. Phantosmia is also associated with Alzheimer's and occasionally with the onset of a migraine.

Does carbon monoxide smell like rotten eggs? ›

Does Carbon Monoxide Smell Like Rotten Eggs? No! Some myths surround ways to detect carbon monoxide, such as identifying the strong scent of rotten eggs (like a natural gas leak). Carbon monoxide gas is odorless—it cannot be smelled.

Is it bad to smell sulfur? ›

Smelling hydrogen sulfide does not mean that it will harm your health. The smell can cause worry, anxiety and resentment. Repeated odour events may culminate in real symptoms such as headache, fatigue and nausea. Although these are not direct health effects they are undesirable.

What does sewer gas smell like in house? ›

If sewer gas is present in your home, the first sign you may notice is the smell of rotten eggs. You may also experience various symptoms of exposure, such as: fatigue. headaches.

What smells like a gas leak but isn t? ›

Sulfur is often the cause of a gas smell in homes without gas leaks. It smells identical to the foul rotten odor of gas leaks, but it's not nearly as harmful in this case. Bacteria found in sewage systems or your kitchen sink release sulfur over time, causing the smell to permeate your home.

What does carbon monoxide smell like? ›

Carbon monoxide gas is colourless and does not smell, so you cannot tell if it is around you. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache. dizziness.

What does a gas leak smell like? ›

Mercaptan smells like sulphur, or rotten eggs, to help you identify gas leaks. But you may not smell anything if the leak is very small. Evacuate the area immediately if you experience the following: smell sulphur or something like rotten eggs.

Does a gas leak smell like rotten eggs? ›

Natural gas has no odor. Gas companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give it its distinctive “rotten egg” smell. All natural gas and propane pipeline gas in Connecticut is odorized. If you smell gas near an appliance, it may be just a pilot light that has gone out or a burner valve that is open slightly.

How do you get rid of sulfur smell? ›

Treatment
  1. keep the affected area of skin clean and dry.
  2. use antiperspirant.
  3. wash regularly with antibacterial soap.
  4. use a deodorant to mask the odor.
Mar 23, 2020

Does mold smell like rotten eggs? ›

The typical bathroom mold or mildew found growing between shower tiles don't typically smell like rot, but severe mold growth on walls and ceilings — especially after a flood or leak — can make room smell like rotting wood or fermented cheese.

What is that weird smell in my house? ›

If you have ever noticed a musty smell in your home, there's a good chance that you have mildew or mold growing somewhere inside. Mold is one of the most common sources of smells in the house, and it can grow in many places but is most common in damp areas, especially the basement but also bathrooms and kitchens.

What does an electrical fire smell like? ›

An electrical fire initially has a fairly acrid smell of plastic burning. The short could be in the outlet or in the wiring inside a wall and can be hard to locate.

What does radon smell like? ›

Radon is a radioactive gas with no taste, smell or color. This means the human senses alone cannot detect it. That is why, although radon was discovered in 1899 and even back in 1530 Paracelsus noticed some health effects in miners, regulation and radon's connection to lung cancer are fairly new.

What chemical smells like rotten eggs? ›

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs at low concentration levels in the air. It is commonly known as sewer gas, stink damp, and manure gas. At high concentration levels, it has a sickening sweet odor.

Can sulfur bacteria make you sick? ›

Many people use quality water softeners and filter systems to eliminate other contaminants, but sulfur can be particularly sticky and problematic for well owners to address. At high levels, it can be bad for your health and may even cause serious illness.

How do you check your house for sewer gas? ›

The first step in getting rid of your sewer gas problem can be easily accomplished by an odor detection test commonly referred to as a “smoke” test. This process involves isolating the sewer system by pushing colored smoke through a roof stack and blocking off the drain line with a test ball.

Will a carbon monoxide detector detect sewer gas? ›

Does a Carbon Monoxide Detector Detect Sewer Gas? No, it does not. Carbon monoxide detectors DO NOT detect sewer gas. These devices are designed to detect only the presence of carbon monoxide, and thus will not pick up on the other gases that are found in a sewer gas mixture.

What does a broken sewer line smell like? ›

The sewer line is the underground pipe that carries all your wastewater from the home to the sewer system. Four of the most common signs of a broken sewer line include multiple slow drains, foul smells inside the house, mold or mildew in the basement, and an increased presence of pests.

What are the symptoms of sewer gas exposure? ›

Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide causes irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Other symptoms include nervousness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and drowsiness. This gas smells like rotten eggs, even at extremely low concentrations.

How do I know if my house has a gas leak? ›

If you detect any of the following signs of a natural gas leak in your house or think you have been exposed, contact 911 immediately.
  • The smell of rotten eggs. ...
  • Hissing sounds. ...
  • Air bubbles outside your home. ...
  • Dead or dying plants. ...
  • Physical symptoms of natural gas poisoning. ...
  • Higher-than-normal gas usage.

What does a propane leak smell like? ›

Propane gas has no odor. Propane companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give it its distinctive “rotten egg” smell.

What are two warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? ›

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

What does methane smell like? ›

Natural gas, which is primarily methane, doesn't actually have any odor at all. So for safety, most gas companies add small quantities of a compound call Mercaptan. It's what gives it the smell of rotten eggs and this is for safety so people know when there is a gas leak.

What causes rotten egg smell? ›

First, the rotten egg smell that you are experiencing is most likely hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas. Hydrogen sulfide gas is a natural product of decay, and in a residential setting, is most commonly a result of decomposition in septic or sewer systems.

What does sulphur smell like? ›

What does Sulfur Smell Like? Sulfide and sulfur containing compounds have a characteristic odor reminiscent of burnt matches, skunk, rotted eggs, or natural gas.

What causes Sulphur smell in hot water heater? ›

This smell is typically caused by sulfate bacteria that can develop within the tank. This issue usually happens when warm water is left too long in the tank and bacteria builds up in the water. This problem can also happen if you have well water and are not treating the water with chlorine in the well.

What does ammonia smell like? ›

What is ammonia? Ammonia (NH3) is a colorless gas that is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It has a strong odor that smells like urine or sweat. Ammonia occurs naturally in water, soil, and the air, and is also found naturally in plants, animals, and the human body.

Why does my husband's breath smell like sulfur? ›

Bacteria that live in the mouth can make compounds that have sulfur. These compounds are especially stinky. They can smell like rotten eggs or onion, for example. If bad breath isn't cleared up by brushing your teeth or using mouthwash, it may be a sign of another issue.

What does toxic mold smell like? ›

It's often described as musty and earthy, and may even smell like rotting vegetables or plants.

What are signs of mold sickness? ›

Mold may cause:
  • skin irritation.
  • sporotrichosis, a skin infection that starts out as a small pink, red, or purple bump on the skin.
  • itchy, red eyes.
  • runny or stuffy nose.
  • postnasal drip.
  • headache.
  • dizziness.
  • asthmatic symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.
Sep 23, 2021

What do you do if your house smells like eggs? ›

If you smell rotten eggs in the home, call the gas company to make sure you don't have a gas leak. If there is no gas leak in the home, you may have a problem with your electrical system. If you smell the rotten egg smell near an outlet, that's probably where it is coming from.

What smells like a gas leak but isn t? ›

Sulfur is often the cause of a gas smell in homes without gas leaks. It smells identical to the foul rotten odor of gas leaks, but it's not nearly as harmful in this case. Bacteria found in sewage systems or your kitchen sink release sulfur over time, causing the smell to permeate your home.

What does sewer gas smell like in house? ›

If sewer gas is present in your home, the first sign you may notice is the smell of rotten eggs. You may also experience various symptoms of exposure, such as: fatigue. headaches.

What does a gas leak smell like in a house? ›

Rotten Egg Smell

Natural gas and propane have a distinctive smell for a reason. For safety purposes, utility companies use an additive called mercaptan that gives the colorless and odorless gases a smell that is hard to miss. Most people describe this smell like something like rotten eggs, sewage, or sulfur.

Does a gas leak smell like rotten eggs? ›

Natural gas has no odor. Gas companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give it its distinctive “rotten egg” smell. All natural gas and propane pipeline gas in Connecticut is odorized. If you smell gas near an appliance, it may be just a pilot light that has gone out or a burner valve that is open slightly.

What does a carbon monoxide leak smell like? ›

Carbon monoxide gas is colourless and does not smell, so you cannot tell if it is around you. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include: headache.

Will carbon monoxide detector detect gas leak? ›

Will a carbon monoxide detector detect a gas leak? Technically speaking, a carbon monoxide detector is not designed to detect the presence of gas. Instead, these devices alert for elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the air that could be the result of toxic gases or air quality issues.

What are the symptoms of sewer gas exposure? ›

Exposure to low levels of hydrogen sulfide causes irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract. Other symptoms include nervousness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and drowsiness. This gas smells like rotten eggs, even at extremely low concentrations.

How do you check your house for sewer gas? ›

The first step in getting rid of your sewer gas problem can be easily accomplished by an odor detection test commonly referred to as a “smoke” test. This process involves isolating the sewer system by pushing colored smoke through a roof stack and blocking off the drain line with a test ball.

What does a broken sewer line smell like? ›

The sewer line is the underground pipe that carries all your wastewater from the home to the sewer system. Four of the most common signs of a broken sewer line include multiple slow drains, foul smells inside the house, mold or mildew in the basement, and an increased presence of pests.

How do you fix sewer gas smell? ›

8 Ways to Get Rid of Sewer Gas Smell
  1. Clean the sink overflow. ...
  2. Check the toilet wax ring. ...
  3. Caulk the toilet base. ...
  4. Clean out bacterial growth in drains. ...
  5. Check rarely used bathtubs and sinks. ...
  6. Check for leaks. ...
  7. Inspect your garbage disposal splash guard. ...
  8. Schedule a video drain inspection.

What does an electrical fire smell like? ›

An electrical fire initially has a fairly acrid smell of plastic burning. The short could be in the outlet or in the wiring inside a wall and can be hard to locate.

What does methane gas smell like? ›

Back to sewer gas. Actually, sewer gas is mostly methane which is odorless but it's almost always mixed with other gases, the most common of which is hydrogen sulfide which has a rotten egg smell. Hydrogen sulfide comes from decomposing organic matter. Natural gas, for that matter, is odorless too.

What does a propane leak smell like? ›

Propane gas has no odor. Propane companies add a harmless chemical called mercaptan to give it its distinctive “rotten egg” smell.

How do you get rid of sulfur smell? ›

Treatment
  1. keep the affected area of skin clean and dry.
  2. use antiperspirant.
  3. wash regularly with antibacterial soap.
  4. use a deodorant to mask the odor.
Mar 23, 2020

Does mold smell like rotten eggs? ›

The typical bathroom mold or mildew found growing between shower tiles don't typically smell like rot, but severe mold growth on walls and ceilings — especially after a flood or leak — can make room smell like rotting wood or fermented cheese.

Videos

1. Why Does my House, HVAC, Smell Like Rotten Eggs? Conditioned Air Solutions, Huntsville AL
(Conditioned Air Solutions)
2. HOW to Get Rid of SULPHUR SMELL from WELL WATER
(Gary the Water Guy)
3. If You Smell a Fishy Odor, Get Out of Your House Immediately!
(BRIGHT SIDE)
4. Stinky rotten egg, sulfur smelling water cheap and easy fix!
(My Legacy Garage)
5. Why Do I Have a Sewer Smell in My Bathroom? 3 Potential Reasons. Seattle Best Plumbing (206)633-1700
(Best Plumbing)
6. Sulfur Smell Explained
(Tennessee American Water)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Last Updated: 09/06/2022

Views: 5970

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

Birthday: 1992-06-28

Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

Phone: +6824704719725

Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.