If you are reading this, it is quite likely that you are experiencing the unfortunate event of smelly water emerging from the various faucets throughout your home. At first, you probably did not realize exactly where the smell was coming from.

You likely searched high and low for the cause. What on earth could cause such a distinct odor? It’s your water! We understand your frustration and know you want to learn more. That is the purpose and intent of this guide.

smelly sink

Identifying the Source

The first step to determining why the water in your home stinks is to identify the source. In order to do this, you must figure out if the smell is emerging from all interior faucets or just certain faucets. If it is in all faucets, the cause will be the main water supply that runs to your home. If it is in certain faucets, it could be the pipes that run to those faucets or the fixtures.

If you run the water and the smell disappears, it is coming from your home’s plumbing system. If the odor continues to persist, it could be the source of water or a unique combination of both the source of water and the home’s plumbing system.

Type of Smell

There are many different types of smells that have the ability to come from the water. The following outlines these smells and some information about each:

  1. Bleach or Chemical Smell – If you receive water from a public supplier and notice a bleach or chemical smell, it could be the chlorination used in that water supply to prevent the growth of bacteria. In most instances, this type of smell will go away once the water has been in contact with air. If it does not disappear, it is likely that organic materials have accumulated in your plumbing system. To correct this issue, contact a professional plumber and have your water system completely flushed. If the problem seems to stem from a public water supply system, contact the authority over that supply in your community.
  2. Rotten Egg or Sewer Odor – In nearly all cases of water smelling like rotten egg or sewage, there is an issue with bacterial growth. This typically occurs in the drain. This is the case if both the cold water and the hot water has an odor. In most instances, you could disinfect and flush the drain to eliminate the bacterial growth. If only the hot water smells, it could be a magnesium heating rod within the hot water tank. You may simply switch it to an aluminum rod. Seek the assistance of a plumber for this task. If you have a well, you may shock chlorinate it. Make sure to pump out the water inside after until it no longer smells like chlorine. Again, a professional plumber is advised for this remedy. If you have water from a public water supply, contact that water authority for additional help.
  3. Earthy or Moldy Smell – If your water smells like earth, mold, or even fish, it could be because of matter that is decaying within the drain or the well water that you have may be polluted from a drain on the surface. You may disinfect and flush the drains in the home. It is also important that you regularly clean and maintain the pressure tank that is associated with your home’s water supply. Flushing will typically resolve the issue. If it does not, you may have an activated carbon filter installed or you may integrate both an automatic chlorinator and the activated carbon filter. If you have public water, contact the supply authority for further assistance.
  4. Fuel or Solvent Smell – If the water in your home smells like fuel or some type of solvent (which is quite rare), this is a serious issue. It could be that there is a fuel leak near the well, contamination of your water from a factory or landfill, or an issue with run-off from an agricultural site. You should avoid drinking this water until the issue is resolved as it could result in anemia, the development of cancer, kidney issues, and even liver problems. The issue should be reported to the health department. Once resolved, you should have a carbon-based filtration system installed on the well so that you can avoid complications in the future.
  5. Sharp Chemical Odor – If you notice that the water in your home has a very sharp chemical odor, it could be from pesticides and other contaminants leaching their way into your groundwater. By contacting a plumber, a test can be conducted on your water to determine the underlying cause. In most instances, the professional that you are working with will be able to inform you of the steps that should be taken to resolve the issue.
  6. Methane Gas Smell – If you have a shallow well and live near a swampy area, you may notice a methane gas smell. Additionally, houses that are built near oil fields, landfills, and even aquifers may have this smell. This is potentially toxic. Immediate assistance will be required. A professional may be able to install a well vent, an aerator, and/or a residential de-aeration system with a repump.
  7. Detergent Smell – This could result from a leakage from the septic tank directly into your home’s water supply. The suggested remedy is to eliminate the source of contamination and then shock chlorinate the water well system of your home.

Is it Okay to Drink Water That Stinks?

In some instances, it is acceptable to drink smelly water; however, it all depends on the cause. If you have determined the underlying cause, talk to a plumber to determine if the water is safe for consumption.

If you have found that the culprit is a drain or a hot water heater, it is usually safe to drink the water. If you have not discovered the cause, do not drink the water unless a local health agency has stated that it is acceptable.

Is There an Easy Fix for Cleaning a Stinky Drain?

Yes, if you find that the smell is coming from the drain in your home, pour a half of a cup of baking soda directly into the impacted drain. Immediately after, you may pour a half of a cup or just a tad more into the drain. Let this react and clean the drain for 15 minutes. Once this time has passed, you should then pour hot water into the drain.

Is it True You Can Shock Your Well with Hydrogen Peroxide?

Yes, it is true that hydrogen peroxide may be used to shock the well at your home. This may help in stopping odors that are sulfur based. It is best to contact a plumber and allow them to perform the chlorine shock to your well and inquire about a chlorine injection system.

Contact Us Today

If the water in your home stinks, contact us here at Reynolds Plumbing today. We can quickly inspect your home and all associated plumbing systems to determine the underlying cause. Once found, we will work quickly to resolve the issue. We have serviced this community since the year of 1983. We specialize in both residential and commercial plumbing issues and also offer HVAC services. For more information, contact us now by calling: 765-966-0994

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