Have you noticed that your water smells? If so, there could be a range of sources that are causing it. The smell might not be coming from the water itself – but, instead, from your pipes. Let’s go over some common smells homeowners notice from their water and what each one could mean.
If your water smells like bleach, chemicals or has a medicinal odor, you’re likely smelling chlorine. This is because small amounts of chlorine are used by water suppliers to treat water and prevent bacterial growth. The smell should go away after the water is exposed to air for a few minutes. In some cases, chlorine can interact with built-up, organic materials in the plumbing system and cause an odor. If the smell doesn’t go away after running the tap for a few minutes, consider calling a plumber.
Rotten Eggs or Sewage
If you notice rotten eggs or a sewer smell while running water, the cause could be as simple as a dirty drain or as complicated as bacteria in your water source. To find the source, you must test your water for odors in different places:
- Bacteria in the Drain: Test that both hot and cold water from the faucet smells. If it does, fill a glass of water and carry it to another room. If the problem is bacteria in your drain, the water in the glass won’t have the odor. Simply disinfect your drain to rid yourself of the smell.
- Bacteria in the Water Heater: If the hot water smells but cold water doesn’t, it’s likely that bacteria is growing in the water heater. This can happen if the water isn’t being used, the heater has been turned off for a long time or the thermostat isn’t set high enough. The bacteria, while unpleasant to smell and taste, is generally not a health threat. Call a plumber to help you remove the bacteria.
- Bacteria in the Well: If you have your own well and have ruled out the other sources, there may be bacteria in your well. You shouldn’t use the water until a professional plumber has tested it and shock chlorinated the system.
Musty, Moldy or Fishy
Humans are incredibly sensitive to these tastes and smells, making them disruptive even at small levels. Fortunately, musty odors usually come from dying organic matter and bacteria in the drain. Test the source of the odor by filling a glass of water and carrying it to the other room. If it doesn’t have an odor, disinfect your drain to get rid of the smell.
If the water does smell, there could be bacteria in the well or reservoir/pressure tank. Contact a professional plumber to help you remove the bacteria.
It’s rare for water to smell like fuel or gasoline, but it indicates a very serious problem. This odor is caused by water supply contamination from:
- Leaking underground fuel tanks
- Discharge from factories and landfills
- Agricultural run-off
If your water smells like gasoline, stop using and drinking it immediately and call your county health department to report the problem.
If you have smelly water and want a professional plumber to fix it, contact Mr. Plumber today!