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Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

The odor of rotten eggs, or sulphur, in water is often a sign that it contains hydrogen sulfide gas. The smell may be noticeable only when the water is initially turned on or when hot water is running. Because heat helps the gas escape into the air, the odor may be especially strong in the shower.

In high enough levels, hydrogen sulfide can be corrosive to metals, and cause yellow or black stains (metallic sulfides) on your kitchen and bathroom fixtures. It may also affect the appearance and taste of cooked foods. Fortunately, the levels of hydrogen sulfide found in drinking water will be in low enough concentrations that they are not harmful to your health.

What Causes Hydrogen Sulfide In Water?

There are a couple of reasons your home’s water may smell like rotton eggs from hydrogen sulfide, they include:

  1. Decaying organic material or chemical reactions of sulfur-containing minerals in the ground.
  2. Water heaters can sometimes make hydrogen sulfide gas through the magnesium anode rod, which supplies electrons that sustain the reaction of sulfate to hydrogen sulfide gas.

Solving Hydrogen Sulfide Problems in the Water Supply

When the problem is occurring with the water supply itself, installing a water treatment is usually the most effective long-term solution. If the odor is a result of the hot water system, modifying your hot water heater may reduce the odor. The process involves replacing the water heater’s magnesium anode rod with one made of aluminum or other metal may improve the situation.

Have questions about your home’s water quality? Call ABC Southwest Plumbing & Air Conditioning, we can help test your water and offer effective solutions for everything from odors and bad taste, to hard water.

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