What should you do when your house water smells like rotten eggs?
First, don’t panic. The actual smell comes from the non-toxic gas, hydrogen sulfide. It is in no way dangerous although eliminating the smell is sometimes problematic.
The smell of rotten eggs is a particularly annoying problem as it affects almost everything that you do in your house. While the odor causing agent is not usually dangerous, it does degrade your quality of life.
There are two main reasons that water smells like rotten eggs: groundwater contamination or contamination of your hot water heater.
If your water source is a well, there is a possibility that the movement of groundwater through the soil will release sulfates from the soil. Bacteria will then act upon these sulfates and create the hydrogen sulfide . The gas becomes dissolved in the water only to be released later inside your home. There is little to be done for this problem, but the problem will eventually rectify itself when the sulfates are sufficiently reduced.
Water Heater Problems
If the gas is being produced in your water heater, there are more immediate and effective steps that can be taken. Various conditions in the tank can lead to a buildup of the sulfur eating bacteria. Draining the tank, flushing it with a dilute chlorine and water solution to kill the bacteria and replacing the “sacrificial” anode will eliminate the problem. The procedure is not difficult but needs to be performed properly to avoid a recurrence of the problem. Your other option is to replace the water heater.
If you are unsure of the cause when your water smells like rotten eggs, a professional plumber can help identify the source of the problem. In addition, they can make suggestions for the easiest, most cost effective ways to remedy the situation.