Smelly Water Could Be a Sign of Serious Trouble

Clean Water Coming Out of Faucet

Smelly Water Could Be a Sign of Serious Trouble

Strange odors emanating from the kitchen or bathroom faucet are not unusual. People with well water experience them from time to time just because of where their water comes from. But even people with city plumbing can smell strange things. Most of the time, smelly water is nothing to worry about. However, certain types of smells that linger could be a sign of serious trouble.

We recommend calling a Salt Lake City plumber if smelly water persists for more than a couple of days. To help you decide whether to call us or not, we have put together a brief description of some of the most common causes of water odors. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you think you might have a serious problem.

Musty Odors

In a perfect world, drinking water coming from your faucet would have no smell at all. However, odorless water is not normal for either well or city supplies. At the very least, your water should smell clean and fresh. A musty odor suggests one of two possibilities.

Musty odors could be the result of pipe corrosion. The corrosion would be slight at this point, especially if the water isn't discolored. Corroded pipes have to be replaced. There is no other way to fix them. If pipes are fine, the other possible cause of a musty smell is a dirty water softener. The solution is as simple as cleaning the unit according to manufacturer instructions.

A Sulfur Smell

One of the most common causes of smelly water is sulfur. If you have excess sulfur in your water, it will smell like rotten eggs. The good news is that a little bit of sulfur in your water is not going to hurt you. But it might make your water completely unappealing, leading to you avoiding the tap.

If the sulfur odor is only noticed when you have hot water running, the problem is likely sulfur in your hot water tank. Cleaning the tank should do the trick. If not, you may have to replace some internal components. If you notice the smell regardless of whether you are running hot or cold water, sulfur is entering the system from your main water connection. Your system may need to be flushed.

Three Other Causes

Musty and sulfur odors are the two most common complaints we hear from customers with smelly water.

There are three other possibilities to consider:

  • Sewage Odors – When water smells like sewage, it could be the result of built-up bacteria in the system. However, it may not be the water at all. What you could be smelling is bacteria in the drain. The best way to tell is to draw a glass of water, take it into another room, and sniff. If you do not smell the odors, your problem is in the drain. 
  • Metal Smells – Water that smells like metal could be contaminated with zinc, iron, or copper in your pipes. The older your home, the more likely metal smells are the result of corroded pipes. 
  • Fish Smells – Last but not least are fish smells. If your water smells fishy, either bacteria or algae is likely the culprit. Also, the problem is probably coming from the supply rather than your home. Contact your local municipal water authority if you are on city water, or us if you're on a well.

Strange odors emanating from your water are not necessarily indicative of a serious problem, but they could be. Have your water checked by a professional if you are at all concerned about strange odors that seem to persist.

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