Reasons You Have Smelly Water at Home and What You Can Do

Our Expert Tips

Have you ever noticed a particular smell in your water when you run your plumbing fixtures? Smelly water is an unpleasant indicator that you may have an unseen plumbing issue. Learn about the common causes of foul-smelling water in your plumbing system and how to resolve it. 

This problem is concerning but doesn’t have to affect you. You can avoid any major water issues by enlisting Pride Services for plumbing maintenance in Rockville Centre, NY. With a professional plumber on your side, smelly water won’t impact your home. 

Is It Normal for Water to Have an Odor?

In some instances, it’s not uncommon for you to notice a distinct odor while water flows from your sinks and shower. This is especially common for those who use a well as their water source. You may not need to worry if you notice a strange odor in your water for a day. 

However, if the smell lingers or worsens, you should take action. Hire a professional plumbing company that can perform water testing to determine the impurity levels in your water. From there, you can address the specific cause of your smelly water. 

Concerning Types of Water Odors

There are a few distinct smells your water can have that should raise concerns. If you experience any of these for several days, let a professional plumber inspect your system:

  • Musty odors
  • Fish smells
  • Rotten egg smell
  • Sewage odors
  • Metal

Each of these unpleasant odors has different causes and requires different types of water treatment. Read on to learn more about the root causes of this smelly water. 

Hot Water Heater

You may notice that your shower smells like rotten eggs when you turn it on. This is due to sulfur present in your water heater tank. The heat within your tank provides the ideal space for sulfur bacteria to grow.

Test that your water heater is the source of the smell by running your plumbing fixtures at hot and cold temperatures. If the rotten egg smell is not present when you run cold water, the source of the stench is in your hot water heater. Flushing the tank to remove sediment typically solves this problem. 

You can also turn your water heater up to 160 degrees. At this temperature, all bacteria will die. Be sure to adjust your temperature settings after to avoid damage. 


Your home can’t receive water without a piping system. However, the condition and material of your pipes can leave you with smelly water. Corroded pipes can give a musty odor to your water, and in cases of extreme corrosion you can experience water discoloration. 

Water that smells like metal can be due to contamination from the pipes. Copper, zinc, lead, and iron pipes can leave traces of metal in your drinking water. To prevent health hazards from lead pipes, the law requires testing of all public water systems

If you smell metal in your water, it’s a warning sign to replace your pipes. 


Bacteria from sewage can contaminate your drinking water with hydrogen sulfide gas. While this isn’t unsafe to drink, it does have a distinct smell and can harm your plumbing fixtures. Hydrogen sulfide gas can produce slime and bacteria that can form clogs in your pipes. 

Water Softener

Water softeners are excellent for removing hard minerals from your water supply. It is a common water treatment that makes your drinking water safer without unwanted elements. If you notice a smell coming from fixtures that connect to your water softener, however, you likely have bacteria in your tank. 

Hydrogen sulfide gas can infiltrate your water from bacteria within your water softener. Flush and sanitize the system to alleviate the problem. 

Local Water Supply

You can troubleshoot your home’s water supply with proper maintenance of your pipes, water softener, and hot water heater. However, if you still experience an unpleasant odor in your water, such as a fishy smell, it’s likely that your water source is the culprit. 

Well water users can address their concerns with a qualified plumber. If you receive your water from a municipal line, contact your city officials to treat the supply. 

Call a Professional Plumber for Foul-smelling Water

You want your water source to be reliable and clean. So if you happen to notice black specks in water or water that smells rotten, bring in a professional plumbing service to treat your system. 

Pride Services is the experienced plumbing company you can trust if smelly water infiltrates your home’s system. Call 516-528-3432 to schedule a service appointment. 

Published: Apr 21, 2023

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