Why Does My Well Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?
Water plays a role in nearly every facet of your life, from drinking and cooking to personal hygiene to cleaning your home and maintaining your garden. This means you expect your water to be clean and fresh, sparkling clear and free of any odors or tastes.
So what happens when the well water at your Raleigh home develops a rotten egg smell or taste? Does this mean your water is unsafe or should you stop using it? How do you get rid of it and enjoy odorless water?
Keep reading to learn the cause of the rotten egg smell in your well water, what it means for you, and how to get rid of it!
Hydrogen Sulfide in Your Well Water
If you smell rotten eggs, it’s most likely caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in your well. This is a colorless gas that is most commonly found in well water and groundwater as it’s formed by decaying organic matter, like plants, leaves, and grasses. Ground water isn’t aerated like surface water is, so gases like hydrogen sulfide don’t have as much opportunity to be released until it comes through your water pipes.
The good news is that while it can cause an unpleasant smell and odor, it is typically harmless. However, it can make your water corrosive, which can lead to these issues:
- Damage to your pipes (which may cause lead contamination)
- Tarnish your silverware, copper, or brass pots, pans, or utensils
- Leave yellow or black stains in your sinks, bathtubs, and other fixtures in your kitchen and bathroom.
The Source of the Rotten Egg Smell in Well Water
Now that you know that hydrogen sulfide is the cause of your odors, it’s important to test your well water to determine how much hydrogen sulfide is present in your water. This gives you a better idea as to whether it’s more of an inconvenience or if it’s going to cause damage to your fixtures down the road.
After testing, you will want to figure out what’s causing the buildup of gas. If you only smell the odor at certain times, this can give you clues that can direct you to your next steps for getting rid of the smells and enjoying fresh, clean well water again.
Smell Occurs When Hot Water Runs
If you only notice the egg smell when you’re running hot water, like in the shower or coming from your dishwasher, most likely, the problem is coming from your water heater. Many water heaters have a magnesium rod that can cause a reaction in water to produce hydrogen sulfide.
A water heater technician can change out the rod with an aluminum or zinc option, or remove the rod entirely and add corrosion inhibitors to protect the inside of your water heater.
Smell Occurs When Water is Off for a Few Hours
If you only notice the odor or taste after your water has been off for awhile, like when you brush your teeth in the morning, it may be caused by the presence of sulfate-reducing bacteria in your well. Sulfate-reducing bacteria feeds off sulfates and hydrogen sulfide is created as a waste byproduct.
Chlorinating your water well can remove the presence of these bacteria and restore your water. This should only be done by a professional well water technician.
Smell Occurs Any Time Water Runs
If your water has a constant rotten egg smell or taste, this means that hydrogen sulfide is occurring naturally in your well, and chlorination will only provide a temporary solution.
The best option for removing the smells and odors from your water while protecting your pipes and plumbing fixtures is to choose well water filtration. You can choose to filter singular faucets, such as your kitchen tap to enjoy healthier drinking water, or you can look at whole home filtration options.
Contact Us for Raleigh Well Water Testing
At A & T Well Pump, we specialize in providing Raleigh homes with fresh, clean well water through our variety of services. If you’re tired of smelling eggs every time you run water, we can help! Schedule a service consultation today at 919-291-4063 or fill out the form below to get started!