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By: Tyler Gatewood on June 22nd, 2020

Why Does My Water Smell Funny?

If your water smells funny, chances are you won’t be excited to drink it, which isn’t a good thing living in the heat of the South! Even though you know your water has met governmental regulations, a foul smell can stoke the curiosity of the typical citizen who wonders why water might be safe to drink and also terrible smelling. 

Most water that smells bad falls into a few general categories.

My Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

The most famous funny-smelling water of all is the classic rotten egg smelling water! 

The culprit in nearly every instance is, in fact, not eggs but sulfur. More specifically, hydrogen sulfide occurs in water supplies when certain types of plant matter decay in the water. These plants decay and produce sulfides which are absorbed by the water as it passes by the decaying material. 

Hydrogen sulfide is not dangerous, but it can add to the corrosive nature of water and hasten the corrosion of your pipes. In certain instances hydrogen sulfide can blacken the water that absorbs it.

Hydrogen sulfide can collect in hot water heaters thanks to sulfur reducing bacteria that can build up in your hot water tank. 

It is easily removed by flushing the hot water heater a couple of times. If both the cold and hot water smells like rotten eggs, then perhaps check your water softener. Often times these chemicals can cause reactions that lead to the buildup of hydrogen sulfide.

My Water Smells and Tastes Salty

If you live next to the ocean, it’s pretty obvious where the saltiness may be originating. But for those who live thousands of miles away from the ocean, it’s a little harder to understand where the brackish and dismal smell come from. 

The taste and smell come from chlorine, which is used by nearly every sanitation department in the country to disinfect public water supplies. Chloride can seep into water after industrial accidents or sanitation incursions. 

Sewage contamination can also lead to sodium and chloride affecting the taste and smell of water, and, of course, sewage contamination is hazardous to your health. 

If you are noticing salty taste or smell coming from your water, it is time to test that water immediately. It could be something more innocuous, but it’s best to rule out the more hazardous causes.

My Water Smells Moldy

One of the more disconcerting smells your water can have is that of mold. Moldy, earthy smells happened when algae blooms occur in the water supply source. 

Most city sanitation treatments filter out the blooms of algae themselves, but the occurrence of algae can leave behind trace elements that create those earthy smells. 

Luckily, the smells are more harmless than almost anything else in this list. Unluckily, that smell is nearly impossible to get rid of through any process be it filtration, reverse osmosis or anything else. 

There is one line of defense against this annoying contaminant, and that is to get the water as cold as possible through refrigeration or adding ice. The colder the water, the more likely it is that the smell will fade away long enough at least for you to get hydrated.

One other solution potentially is to clean the screen and head of the faucets in your house. Sometimes bacteria can grow here and be the culprit behind that moldy taste or smell.

My Water Smells Metallic

Water smells metallic when metals are deposited or leached into your water, whether that be in the storage facilities, the municipal utility pipes, or the piping at your house. 

The most common metals that find their way into drinking water are iron, zinc or manganese. As the metal pipes that make up most older utilities age, they corrode, and little bits of metal break off into the water supply as it passes.

Another place where metal can infiltrate your water routinely is in your hot water heater. Hot water tends to corrode more quickly than cold water, and this is most certainly true inside the hot water heater. Luckily, most of these contaminants are relatively harmless although not ideal.

The danger of metallic tasting water comes when that metal is in fact lead.

Next Steps

Whether you’re looking for water filtration or bottled water delivery service to remedy your smelly water situation, we can certainly help! And if you’re not sure what the best option would be for you, we can conduct a site survey to get you on the right track.