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Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Does your water smell bad? Depending on the issue, you may be experiencing a rotten egg smell, a sewage smell, a bleach smell, or something else. The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t always take a licensed plumber to diagnose the culprit. You as the homeowner can actually pinpoint what’s causing your water to stink.

Sulfuric acid can sometimes smell like rotten eggs. If you’re experiencing this smell in your hot water, it could be an indication of an issue with your water heater.

Why Does My Water Smell Like ___________?

  • Sulfur/Eggs

If your home’s water smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, this is typically an indication of large amounts of bacteria growing in the water heater. At Hudson, the majority of the calls we receive related to smelly water are due to bacterial activity in the home’s water heater tank. Bacteria like this grow rampant when hot water isn’t frequently used or when the unit goes unused for long periods of time, emitting a nasty sulfur smell and causing the water to taste bad.

  • Sewage

Sewage smell is another common issue we hear from customers. This type of smell is caused when organic matter such as hair, soap, and other waste accumulates in the drainage system. Bacteria eat at the organic matter, and in turn, cause a sewage smell to leak into the home when water is used.

  • Bleach

The city water department treats its water via an extensive filtration system, including using chlorine to kill off bacteria. While it’s rare, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to smell chlorine or a bleach-like scent in their water.

What Should I Do?

If your hot water smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, it is likely that the anode rod in the water heater needs to be replaced.

If your drains smell like sewage, contact a licensed plumber to come up with a plan to flush and disinfect the drainage system.

If your water smells like bleach, a quick solution is to run the water for several minutes before consumption. If the problem persists, particularly if your home is on a well, you should contact a licensed plumber to assist in flushing your water system.

Here’s How Hudson Tests Your Water for Purity:

Our technicians are trained and experienced to test your water quality for bacteria, iron levels, hardness, and more. Now through the summer of 2020, we are offering FREE no-commitment hard water tests.


Smelly water can be a complicated issue with many different routes to respond. To better understand all the potential issues and solutions, we invite you to continue reading this Household Water Quality guide published by the University of Georgia. If you’d like a licensed plumber to respond to any of these poor odor issues, give us a call at (765) 349-0900 to schedule an appointment.