6 Tap Water Smells—and Where They Come From

We love sipping on fragrant hot coffee and tea. But smelly water? No thanks! If your faucet is giving you something “extra” with your water, it’s good to do a little investigating. The most common bad tap water smells each come with their own set of quirks. Once you figure out what’s going on, you’ll be able to get your water back to being clean and odor-free.

The Deal with Smelly Tap Water

Everyone has different sensitivities related to taste and smell. So what bothers one person in the family may not affect the rest. Some water odors, though, can be major warning signs of safety issues, so it’s best to pay attention. Solve the problem for some peace of mind—and happy taste buds.

1. Plumbing or Hot Water Heater Problems

Smelly water isn’t always about the water itself. It might have something to do with bacteria hanging out in your water heater. To check, turn your faucet to hot and let it run. Then compare it to your cold water. If that hot water smells like sulfur or something worse, like sewage, then you’re probably dealing with an issue with the heating rod in your tank.

You’ll also want to check whether the smell is just coming from only one sink or tub. In that case, it’s a localized issue with that area’s fixtures or pipes. And if your cold water is smelly too, then you can start blaming the water quality, not the plumbing.

2. Tap Water Smells Like Chlorine or Bleach

That sort of pool water and chlorine smell in municipal tap water is typically a constant, but you might notice that it’s even stronger during certain months of the year. The water treatment plants often shock the supply and add more chlorine to keep bacteria out of the pipelines. Unfortunately, that chlorine can still linger as it arrives to your own tap.

The solution is a whole home water refiner. These system work to both soften your water and remove the taste and odor of chlorine. That means healthier hair, nicer laundry, and no more obnoxious water smells.

3. Tap Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Without the right well water filter in place, you might be dealing with a sulfur smell at your faucets. Sulfur’s odor can also be described as a rotten egg smell, and the reason you’d be getting it is from sulfur bacteria inside your well water supply. This can also happen when your well is dealing with lower oxygen levels, which can create hydrogen sulfide gas.

But here’s the catch—you might only be dealing with that odor in your drains, not the tap water. To test this, fill up a glass of water, swirl it around, and set it down away from your faucet. If the odor goes away, then you’ll want to look into dirty plumbing. If not, then it’s time to check your well water filtration system. (Or get one installed.)

4. Tap Water Smells Like Metal

Water that has a lower pH level can be slightly acidic. When that happens, it may even start deteriorating your pipes. As a result, you could have a metal smell in your water because there really is dissolved metal, including traces of iron, manganese, zinc, and iron.

Installing a good drinking water filter will work to remove those metals and keep your water clean and safe. You can also look into getting a water softener to make sure your tap water stays balanced and has a consistent pH level. That will protect your pipes, and also give you odorless water for your showers, baths, and other water-using appliances.

5. Tap Water Smells Like Dirt or Fishy

Another disturbing water smell comes from algae and fungi. Like the rotten egg smell, this happens most often with well water. The algae will have an earthy or musty smell and may even leave a sort of slime around your toilet bowls, sinks, or other fixtures.

To tackle this problem, schedule a time to get a professional out and look at your well water storage. Or, you can address the problem all throughout your home by investing in a well water filter. Your system will basically remove anything that makes your water less than “perfect.” So no more smells. Just clean and clear water.

6. Tap Water Smells Like Gasoline

This is the one that really gets serious. Stop using your water immediately. A nearby landfill, agricultural runoff, or factory may be contaminating your area’s water supply. There could also be a fuel storage tank having problems close to your well.

While the water treatment plant ought to catch these types of problems long in advance, the distance that your water needs to travel from those centers to your home can have problems of their own. Give the local health or utilities department a call to see what’s going on and keep your family safe.

What Type of Water Filter Do You Need?

While smelly tap water can start up for a number of reasons, a lot of these concerns can be managed just by having the right home water filters in place. Smelling chlorine in tap water is pretty common. And with more and more issues of extreme algae growth happening in local water supplies, those fishy and musty smells are increasing too.

Clean water doesn’t smell. When you’re noticing issues in your home, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Indy Soft Water. A quick water quality check will tell us what we need to know to help you out. Visit our contact page, and we’ll make sure your water is better than ever before!