Why Does My Water Smell like Bleach?

Why Does My Water Smell like Bleach?

Noticing any scent coming from your water can be off-putting. After all, water isn’t supposed to smell like anything! If you’re getting a whiff of chlorine or bleach at the faucet, it’s normal to have some questions. Unfortunately, that “chemical” scent is probably more common than you’d think.

If you use city water, chances are, you’ll be able to pick up on that bleach-like smell sooner or later. That odor is often the result of having chlorinated tap water. Of course, you want to make sure your water is safe. So what exactly is going on?

About Bleach and Chlorine

To start, it helps to understand the difference between bleach and chlorine. It’s also good to know that bleach is kind of a broad term. Bleaches have a lot of applications—from killing germs to whitening paper and your laundry. Some types of bleach use chlorine, but others do not.

Elemental chlorine, on the other hand, is a gas. On its own, chlorine is toxic (even in small doses), yet it’s a popular choice for a disinfectant. Water treatment plants often use chlorine in their process because it’s relatively inexpensive and does a great job at killing any microbes in the water. The chlorine is specifically measured to stay in your water as it travels from the plant to your home. Consequently, your tap water can end up smelling like chlorine bleach when you turn on the faucet.

Water Treatment Disinfectants

During certain times of the year, this strange scent can become even more obvious. This happens because many water treatment plants will temporarily change their chlorination process while the weather is still cool. The switch is typically scheduled during the end of winter as part of their annual maintenance routine. In Indiana, that usually lines up during the month of February.

Most of the year, water treatment plants use chlorine with a small amount of ammonia for their disinfectant. But during the special weeks, they stop adding ammonia. That means the water is getting treated with a more active form of chlorine. This is sometimes called “free chlorine.”

Since free chlorine is a stronger disinfectant, it can help reduce the chance of creating microbes that are resistant to the regular water treatment process. However, it can also add a stronger taste and odor to our water.

Home Filtration for Chlorine Removal

Some people only notice the chlorine bleach smell in their tap water during certain weeks, but it’s important to remember that chlorine is used year-round. The city water treatment relies on chlorination to keep the water safe as it travels through the pipes. But this doesn’t mean you have to use chlorinated water around the house. And you definitely don’t need (or want) to keep chlorine in your drinking water.

Using a water refiner is a great way to get chlorine-free water at every tap in your home. These systems are a great solution for smelly chlorine water. You’ll be able to enjoy more refreshing showers, and feel good about eliminating the other chlorine side effects, too. Contact your local soft water expert to talk about your water concerns and options. Adding a water refiner is usually a great upgrade for any home’s setup. It’s truly the easiest way to ensure that you’re getting clean, refreshing water for your whole family.

Sick of smelly water?


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