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Why Your Tap Water Stinks

Is Your Tap Water or Drains Smelling Funny?

Bad-smelling tap water will make you worry if your water is safe for drinking, cooking, and washing. The foul smell may be anything from rotten eggs to chlorine. This depends on the source of the bad smell.

While most causes of stinking tap water may not pose health dangers, it is still a good idea to understand the different causes and to learn how to fix them or seek further advice and testing.


Tap Water That Smells Like Dirt, Sewage, or Rotten Eggs

A musty, rotten egg or sewer-like stench in your sink, water heater, or drain may happen if there is bacteria growth in the area. You will often experience this if you haven’t used your sink in a while. The high temperatures and humidity during summer may also cause the bad smell.

If you experience such foul odor, here’s what you should do:

When the stench is coming from your drain or sink, clean the area with a water/baking soda or water/bleach mixture with a 1:1 ratio. Pour the solution down the drain. Allow it to sit for about 20 minutes, then flush it down with water.

The stench of rotten eggs may also be due to your water heater running at low temperatures. It could also be due to the hydrogen sulfide gas present in the water. If there is hydrogen sulfide gas, you will notice the smell once the water gets in contact with certain minerals or organic matter.

The smell is common in areas with hard water. While it may not be a health hazard, it is still a good idea to have the water tested as soon as you notice the change in the smell of the water. If your water has an earthy smell, it may be due to algae blooms present in your water source.

Tap Water That Is Salty

If your water is salty, it is probably because of high sodium or chloride content in the water. It can also be due to sewage or salt water that gets into your water supply. Contact local authorities right away for testing once you observe some saltiness in your water supply. This can pose some health dangers, especially if there are people in your household on a low-sodium diet.

Regardless of the unusual smell or taste you notice, it is best that you contact your water authority, and have them test the water. If the water tests safe for consumption, then all your worries will be gone.

Tap Water That Smells Like Swimming Pool Water

If your water has the same smell as swimming pool water, the cause may be due to high chlorine content. Water sources often use chlorine as a disinfectant to treat water. Thus, the smell is common. It is also safe to drink water with a standard chlorine level content. But, you should have the water tested if you observe a stronger than usual smell. The chlorine smell will often dissipate after you run the faucet for several minutes.

Tap Water That Smells Metallic

The metallic taste or smell in your water may be due to rust in the copper lining used in the plumbing. It doesn’t pose any health risks until the level reaches 1,300 parts/billion. There are water test kits available to determine metal presence in the tap water. Just make sure to read the directions carefully before using as some kits are intended for testing different types of elements and metals. To reduce the copper taste, it may be helpful to run the tap for a minute before drinking.

Metallic-tasting water may be due to other causes like dissolved sulfate-containing metals and high levels of zinc. While both are not harmful, minerals that contain sulfate can have a mild laxative effect on you if you aren’t used to it.

Foul-smelling tap water may not necessarily be a health threat. For your peace of mind, have the water tested. If you have other plumbing concerns, contact Spartan Plumbing right away.