Why Do I Have Smelly Hot Water?

While water heaters can experience many types of problems, smelly water is a common issue. If you want to get to the bottom of this, you'll need to find the source of the bad smell. To start, you'll want to take a closer look at the problem that you're dealing with.

Identifying The Source Of The Problem

Is this a new issue, or have you been having problems with smelly water for a long time? If your water hasn't had an odor until recently, it's possible that there's a new issue with your water heater.

Does all of your water smell, or is there only one faucet in your home that's producing stinky water? If the issue lies with a single faucet, it's likely that there's a problem with your sink or your pipes.

You'll want to look at other factors as well. Is this an issue happening throughout the day, or is it only happening in the morning? Is your water more likely to have a smell if you haven't used hot water in a while? If you ask the right kinds of questions, you'll be able to get to the bottom of the problem.

Odors Caused By Bacteria

In many cases, your hot water will be smelly because there are bacteria growing in either your faucet or your water heater. If the water smells like sulfur, sewage, or like something has decayed, there's a good chance that bacteria is the source of the problem. Bacteria can build in your water heater if you haven't used hot water for a while. It can also be an issue if the thermostat on the heater isn't set at a high enough temperature. The bacteria in your water won't pose a threat to you, but both the smell and the taste can be extremely unpleasant.

Many substances can sit in your sink, from rotting food to soap scum. The bacteria from these substances can produce a gas that can cling to your pipes. This is likely to be your issue if the problem is limited to just one faucet in your home. If the bacteria is in your pipes, cleaning and disinfecting the sink won't get rid of the odor.

Fishy-Smelling Water

There are a number of things that can cause the water in your home to smell like fish. If your water has this odor, it's likely that it contains algae, chloramine, cadmium, or barium.

Usually, cadmium or barium is the source of this problem. Both substances are metals that can seem into your pipes. It can contaminate your water and produce a strong fishy smell.

Your water could also have a fishy smell if there's a lot of ammonia present. The EPA adds chlorine to water to disinfect it. If there's a high amount of ammonia in your water, it can cause a reaction that produces chlorine. This compound can give your water a fishy smell.

If your water comes from either a lake or a reservoir, there could be particles of algae in your drinking water. If this is the source of the problem, your water won't just smell like fish; it will also smell like mildew. Algae particles usually aren't dangerous, but if you suspect your water is contaminated, you should contact your water company as soon as you can.

Chlorine Smells

If the water coming out of your faucets smells like a swimming pool, you're probably not eager to drink it! In addition to the unappealing smell, water that is high in chlorine can be damaging to your hair and skin.

As mentioned above, it's standard to use chlorine to disinfect drinking water. This is a necessary step, and it actually makes water safer to drink. If your home is close to a distribution plant, however, the chlorine levels in your water may be higher than normal.

Water That Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your water smells a lot like a rotting egg, it's possible that the anode rod in your home has corroded. Fixing the problem is simple: you just have to replace the old anode rod with a new one. It's possible to hire a professional to fix the problem for you, but this is also an issue that you can resolve on your own!

Just stick to the following steps:

  • Step One: Turn off your water and water heater
  • Step Two: Partially drain your water tank
  • Step Three: Remove and dispose of your old anode rod
  • Step Four: Place Teflon tape or another sealant on your new anode rod to keep it from leaking
  • Step Five: Insert and tighten the new anode rod
  • Step Six: Refill the tank
  • Step Seven: Turn on your water and water heater

If the anode rod was correctly installed, the rotten egg smell should start to fade. The odor may not disappear immediately. It might be a day or two before you have odor-free water.

How Can I Get Rid Of My Smelly Hot Water?

Having smelly water in your home can be extremely unpleasant. Thankfully, there are a number of steps you can take to fix this problem so that your water will be odor-free.

If you believe that the bad smells are being caused by bacteria, you'll want to hire a plumber. They'll be able to inspect your pipes and identify the source of the problem. Once the problem has been taken care of, you'll want to make sure you disinfect the sinks in your home on a regular basis. This can keep bacteria from producing heavy gas.

If your water heater is the source of your problem, you should try using hot water more frequently. Odors are more likely to occur if your heater has not been used for an extended period of time. If the problem doesn't go away with time, you may want to ask a professional to take a look at your water heater.

If you're dealing with chlorine or fishy-smelling water, a water filter could your best solution.

The right filters can oxidize water and filter out contaminants like cadmium and barium. Filters can also keep your water from smelling like chlorine. Filters can improve the taste of your water as well.

A water softener is also an excellent way to remove minerals and other contaminants from your water, which can keep it from smelling. Hard water can also clog pipes, which can cause bacteria to linger in your plumbing. If smelly hot water is a frequent problem for you, a water softener could be a long-term solution.

In addition to getting rid of unpleasant odors, water softeners can offer plenty of other benefits. It can reduce soap curds, which makes dishes and silverware easier to clean. It can protect your laundry and plumbing and increase the lifespan of water appliances in your home. While you'll have to pay for a water softener upfront, it could wind up saving you money over time.

Water softeners fall into two different categories: salt-based softeners and salt-free softeners. Salt-based softeners require more upkeep and are banned in some locations because they can cause water to go to waste. Salt-free softeners are a healthier alternative that can get rid of many types of water odors.

Sediment issues and odors are common for households that have hard water, which is why a water softener can be such a great investment. A softener can remedy most water odors and can leave you with cleaner water in your home. Take the time to learn more about water softeners. Decide if a softener would be a smart investment for your home.

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