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Why Does My Well Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

When you turn on your faucet, the last thing you want to experience is the smell of a breakfast gone wrong. But what causes this putrid smell to invade your home or business, and what can you do to remedy it?


If your well-sourced water is smelling like rotten eggs, it’s most likely
due to an increase of "sulfur bacteria,” a.k.a hydrogen sulfide, in your home's water supply. While hydrogen sulfide itself isn't necessarily dangerous to your health, it may signify high levels of other harmful chemicals or pollution. 

Over 316 contaminants have been detected in water across the United States, so it's definitely a good idea to identify the culprit(s) and fix the problem to ensure you are drinking the cleanest and safest water possible.

The Culprit - What is Hydrogen Sulfide?

The rotten egg smell is created when sulfur bacteria break down organic matter and releases hydrogen sulfide gas. When there are high levels of this gas in your home's water or plumbing system, heat forces the gas into the air which causes the odor. The gas can also be dispersed into the water itself, altering the taste. Typically, you will only experience the unpleasant smell when you first turn on the water or while using hot water.

Is Sulfur Harmful?

Don’t panic. There are no major health concerns you need to be worried about. Both the taste and odor are so unpleasant, even at very low levels, that it stops most people from drinking it well before it reaches harmful levels.

The smell and taste are without a doubt the worst side effects, but it can also cause: corrosion to metals, such as iron, steel, copper, and brass; tarnish silver; and discolor copper or brass utensils. In the kitchen or bathroom, sulfur can cause yellow or black stains on appliances and surfaces.

What Should You Do?

  • Hot Water Only - If the rotten egg smell only occurs when you shower or use hot water, the problem could be your water heater. Contact a plumber to service and repair your water heater to prevent any damage.
  • Treated Water Only - If the rotten egg smell occurs in all temperatures of water that you're using, make sure to check if the water is treated or not. If untreated water doesn't smell but the treated water does, the problem is most likely your water softener. Contact a plumber to repair and service this issue.
  • All Water - If you find that both the hot and cold water, treated and untreated water all smell of rotten eggs, the problem could be in your well system or in the groundwater. You will need to have the water tested to identify the levels of hydrogen sulfide, sulfate, sulfur, and iron bacteria present. Make sure you select a plumber or water professional that specializes in this service.


If you are concerned about your household's water, it's important to get it tested by a professional to ensure the chemicals and bacteria are all at safe consumption levels.

The professionals at Certain Water Services are experienced and ready to help you eliminate the horrific rotten egg smell in your water. Our sulfur and iron filters provide innovative and simple solutions for unwanted odors and gases in your water supply. These filters remove odors without the need for any extra chemicals, leaving you with the purest water, free from any hydrogen sulfide, heavy metals, bacteria growth, and any other taste-affecting contaminants.

We want you and your family to have the cleanest, safest, tastiest water possible because having great water can change your life. Contact us today for more information!

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