Why Does My Hot Water Smell Like Rotten Egg?

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Why Does My Hot Water Smell Like Rotten Egg?

I remember as a kid that sometimes the hot water would smell when I was taking a shower. At the time, I was more worried about riding bikes and playing baseball, but as I got older, I learned this is a common problem in many Waterford, MI homes. The nasty smell is almost always something similar to rotten eggs or sulfur. Luckily, it’s a problem that can often be easily solved.

What Causes it?

The rotten egg smell is because your water contains traces of hydrogen sulfide. Even extremely small amounts can make your water smell badly. In most, but not all, cases there is a buildup of hydrogen sulfide in your water heater (more about that later).

Just Annoying, Not Harmful

Yes, the smell is awful, but at low levels hydrogen sulfide is not a health risk other than maybe some nasal irritation from the odor. Extremely high levels of the gas can cause health problems, but that just doesn’t happen when we’re talking about the presence of hydrogen sulfide in household water. That being said, let’s figure out a way to get rid of the disgusting smell.

Find Out Where It’s Coming From

As mentioned above, the most common source is your water heater, but the first step is to confirm that. Start by running hot and cold water from all faucets in the house and see if you can detect the rotten egg smell.

  • If it seems to be only the hot water that stinks, then the problem is almost certainly related to the water heater.
  • If the smell comes from hot and cold water taps the culprit could be the water supply, well or municipal, or the water lines coming into your Waterford, MI home.
  • Pay close attention to the location. Is the rotten egg smell coming from all faucets or just in particular rooms? If the smell is isolated, suspect just those drains or pipes.

Things You Can do Before Calling For Help

You may not need the services of a Kotz plumber to solve this problem. Here are some steps you can take.

  1. Clear your pipes. Open every faucet in the house and let the water run for about 10 minutes. In some cases, this can flush away whatever is in the pipes and drains that is causing the smell.
  2. Drain & flush the water heater. Nearly all household water contains some harmless bacteria. The organisms react with mineral deposits and the anode rods in the tank to form the hydrogen sulfide gas. The problem can often be solved by draining and flushing the water heater. This is not a technically difficult job, but it does involve working with very hot water, electricity, or flammable gas. If you are not comfortable doing it then call Kotz. NOTE: Your water heater should be flushed at least once a year even if you don’t have stinky hot water.
  3. Sterilize your water heater. Simply turn the temperature up to 160℉ and leave it there for at least a couple of hours. The heat should kill most or all of the bacteria inside the tank.

Kotz is Always Ready to Help

If you are still having problems with a rotten egg smell in your Waterford, MI home, then it’s time to call in the pros. Kotz Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing has been putting the customer first since 1929. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more great information like this.