There’s More to Your Water’s Foul Odor Than Meets the Nose

Ever turned on your water and been thrust back by a wicked odor? Have you ever been so overtaken by a nasty stench as you ran the shower water that you thought for sure your home was contaminated?

Regardless of whether you have well water or city water, being met with an appalling smell when you turn on your water is alarming – and it can happen anywhere. But, whether it happens to you for the first time or again, wouldn’t it be helpful to understand why that specific smell was emitting from your water? And wouldn’t it be especially useful to know what will need to be done in order to correct it?

You see, it’s not always a bacteria-related situation that causes water to smell bad. Sometimes it is, but it can also be a range of other factors that cause this most concerning problem. Among these factors are an organic material that is in decay, heightened traces of minerals, or a chemical reaction. Each of those things can bring on a change in your water that is reflected in an odor.

In all cases, you’re advised to consult with a professional who specializes in water filtration services and products in order to assess, treat, and correct this domestic issue.   

However, the following information will give you some much-needed insight and understanding of the foul-smelling water you may be dealing with in your home at any given time.  

Here are 2 common types of bad smells water can emit and their causes.

A musty or dirty smell, sometimes described as “earthy” – If this the smell that greets you when you turn on your hot water, you’re probably contending with your water supply containing iron bacteria. This isn’t hazardous but it is problematic since it leads to an unfavorable taste.  This is typically limited to well water that is high in iron. And, as if the bad smell isn’t’ enough, you may see slime in the tank of the toilet or even in various plumbing fixtures around your house.

This type of bacteria develops when oxygen mixes with iron, then bacteria feed on the iron.  The slime is its manner of protection. The “earthy” odor comes upon the bacteria’s death.   

The water heater is usually where the iron bacteria breed because it’s warm.  A chlorination system with a water-holding tank can be effective in reducing bacterial and can also aid in the iron’s oxidation so there is correct filtration.

Spoiled eggs You know this smell. And if you realize it’s coming from your faucet you are probably dealing with sulfur bacteria that found its way directly to your water supply. The awful smell is typically the result of the well-lacking oxygen. This will prompt hydrogen sulfide gas. Another explanation could be that the groundwater is experience reactions caused by chemicals containing sulfur. Simply put, the perpetrator is usually sulfur. 

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