Why Does My Water Smell Like Sewer Gas?

Clean and healthy water should be colorless and odorless. Hence, it must be disturbing to suddenly find your water smelling like sewer gas. It feels disgusting, but it will also make you worry about your family’s health. How can this happen, and what can you do about it?

The foul odor in your water is usually caused by hydrogen sulfide. This substance is found in groundwater, but it can also enter your home through the sewer system. If hydrogen sulfide concentration in your water is high, it can cause serious health problems.

The good news is that you can remove the hydrogen sulfide from your water using a water filter. There are many different types of water filters on the market, so you will need to choose one designed to remove hydrogen sulfide. Once you have installed the filter, the foul odor should be gone.

If you are still concerned about the safety of your water, you can have it tested by a professional. A professional will be able to tell you if the level of hydrogen sulfide in your water is safe or not.

First, it is best to find out where the smell is coming from. For example, you can take an empty glass and fill it with the water directly flowing from your faucet. If the water is odorless, colorless, and tastes normal, the smell might come from your drain. Unfortunately, this is most often the case.

The Cause

The bacteria in your drains produce the foul smell of hydrogen sulfide gas. These bacteria grow in your sink’s food waste, soaps, and other materials. The hydrogen sulfide gas will fill your drain so that sometimes you can smell it if you get close to your sink. For example, when the faucet is turned on, the water flows into the sink drain, forcing all the gas to go upward. This smelly gas will get to your nose.

You can smell the stench of hydrogen sulfide when it reaches at least 0.5 parts per million (ppm). When it gets to 1 ppm, the smell will be musty. Finally, at 2 ppm, it will smell like rotten eggs.

You might be wondering what hydrogen sulfide is. It’s a colorless, flammable gas that’s produced when sulfur-containing materials are burned. It’s also found in swamps and marshes and well water and hot springs.

Hydrogen sulfide can be harmful to your health if you’re exposed to it for a long time. Short-term exposure can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. It can also give you a headache. On the other hand, long-term exposure can lead to more severe health problems like depression, anxiety, and memory loss.

Your water heater could also cause your water to smell like sewer gas. This is because the anaerobic bacteria from the water source will create a reaction when it meets with the sulfur, magnesium, and anodes in the heater. This usually occurs when the water heater is off for an extended period, like leaving your house for a vacation.

What to Do

If the water is the culprit, you need to contact a technician or water testing lab and ask for an inspection. This issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible to avoid health problems with your family.

If the smell is coming from the water heater, you will need to turn it on at a high temperature for a few hours and then open the faucet. This will effectively flush out the bacteria inside your pipes. The smell should disappear after a while.

If the problem is the drain pipe under your sink, you need to clean it up. First, use liquid soap and a long, thin brush to clean up the sludge inside the drain pipe. Then, turn your faucet on and let it run for a minute to flush it down until the smell disappears.

There is no need to panic when you suddenly notice a foul smell when turning on your faucet. If handled accordingly, this problem will be gone soon without calling a professional technician. However, make sure you resolve the problem quickly before it creates other issues.



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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