Solving the Mystery of Smelly Shower Water: Egg Odor Explained

While some water quality issues are invisible, others can be anything but discreet. If you’ve ever noticed a sulfur smell in water, you’ve experienced this reality firsthand. The unpleasant odor, which resembles that of a rotten egg, is not something you’re likely to be able to ignore or get used to. Moreover, it would help if you didn’t have to.

If you’ve experienced this odor problem, you may be wondering why it’s happening and what you can do about it.

Notice a Funny Smell in Your Water?

Detectable water quality concerns may indicate the existence of a pollutant or other water quality issues. Along with weird scents, you may notice discoloration or a peculiar taste in your water occasionally.

Is Smelly Water Safe To Drink?

The smell of sulfur or chlorine may not necessarily indicate that your water is unsafe to drink. However, if you find that your drinking water’s scent, taste, or appearance has noticeably changed, you must have it tested to discover the source of the issue.

This will help you learn if there is anything potentially harmful in your water and assist your efforts to identify treatment options, even if it’s safe to drink.

Why Does Your Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

If your water smells like rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide gas is most likely present. This might be due to a water heater issue or naturally occurring sulfur bacteria, particularly in healthy water.

These problems may generate hydrogen sulfide, emitting an unpleasant odor everywhere. Sulfur water is tap water that includes hydrogen sulfide gas or sulfur bacteria.

What You’re Smelling: The Chemical Reactions Taking Place in Your Water

Water may include naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide gas, which smells like rotten eggs. Less often, it might result from a direct contamination source. The presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria, which creates hydrogen sulfide as a byproduct, is most likely to blame for the sulfur smell in your water.

What Causes a Sulfur Smell in Water?

Even trace levels of hydrogen sulfide may cause a sulfur odor or taste in drinking water. According to Texas A&M University, most people will recognize the scent even at a concentration of 0.1 milligrams of hydrogen sulfide per literIt’sic level; it’s crucial to understand how hydrogen sulfide gets at the most basic level in your water since that’s where the sulfur taste and smell come from.

This is usually caused by a mix of sulfate, a naturally occurring substance prevalent throughout the environment, and sulfate-reducing bacteria in your water. When the bacteria feeds on the sulfate, the sulfate is reduced to sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide is produced as a byproduct.

An electric water heater may also unintentionally emit hydrogen sulfide. These water heaters often feature a magnesium anode rod (made of magnesium sulfate) to prevent corrosion. If the anode rod corrodes, free electrons are released into the water, stimulating the interaction between sulfate-reducing bacteria and sulfate, which creates hydrogen sulfide (and, therefore, the rotten egg smell).

This is more likely to happen if water is left in the water heater for an extended time and will disappear once it is utilized. In more severe situations, this might happen overnight and may need the deployment of a water treatment system to remove the underlying cause (the bacteria).

Where It Might Be Coming From and How To Treat Your Water

To treat water for hydrogen sulfide, you must first determine the underlying issues causing the unpleasant sulfur odor that your home is experiencing. A sophisticated water filtration system will likely be part of your solution and can help you manage other potential pollutants.

If hydrogen sulfide isn’t naturally present in your water, discovering the root causes that lead to the creation of this substance can help you determine the best next steps to address the problem.

Water Heater Contamination

In addition to the issues posed by a magnesium anode, the warm water in your home’s water heater tank can create a suitable environment for sulfur bacteria, leading to contamination. This elevated sulfur bacteria presence can produce more hydrogen sulfide. Working with a professional to permanently raise the water heater’s temperature, or to undertake occasional flushing, can kill off the bacteria.

How To Treat Well Water That Has a Rotten Egg Smell

If your healthy water smells like rotten eggs, the issue’s root may be directly in your water supply. Regarding groundwater, treating the water now is the most reliable technique to eliminate the hydrogen sulfide causing the problem. Working currently with an experienced water treatment specialist to treat your healthy water with a tailored solution may solve well water quality challenges.

Take the First Step Toward Great-Tasting Water

Understanding why your water smells funny doesn’t change anything, but discovering what’s in your drinking water is essential for learning which water treatment system options will work for you. Get started by scheduling a free in-home water test today.
*Contaminants may or may not be present in your water.

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