Does your water have a rotten eggs odor?

When experiencing a rotten egg-type odor at the tap, the first step is to attempt to isolate the source of the odor. First, check to see if the odor is present at all taps or just one. If the odor is present at only one tap, the source of the odor is most likely the drain in that particular sink, shower or bathtub. All of the plumbing fixtures in your home receive water from the same source. Therefore, if the water is the source of the odor, it would be present at all the taps.

Food particles, hair, and other items have a tendency to build up in drains forming bacterial gases and causing a foul 'rotten egg' odor. Often, this odor is stronger in the morning. This is usually due to the fact that the drain hasn't been used for several hours and the bacterial gases get expelled into the atmosphere when water displaces air in a drain trap. Also, when brushing teeth and hunched over a sink, one is closer to the source.

To remove the rotten egg odor from drain traps, pour ½ cup of household (unscented) bleach into the drain. Most bathroom sinks have an overflow drain that runs from the top of the basin down to the drain. This overflow line also can be a cause of odors as it has a tendency to remain moist and is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Cleaning this area can be accomplished by filling the sink with a diluted bleach solution to the point of the solution flowing into the overflow. Allow about a cup of it to flow into the overflow and let it sit for about five minutes, then drain. This solution will also clean the trap as it drains. To prevent these odors from returning, routinely flush all drains with half a cup of bleach once a month.

If your sink or shower is clogged or drains running slowly, use a commercial drain-opening product to eliminate any blockages. Do not use both commercial drain openers and bleach because this may cause a hazardous reaction.

If you detect the same odor from all the faucets, the next step is to run some water into a glass and take the glass into another room where there is no plumbing, such as the living room. Is the odor still present? If the odor is no longer present, the source of the odor is within the drains. See the recommendations above regarding flushing drains to prevent odors. If the odor still can be detected when you are not near the drains, determine if the odor is coming from the hot water only, cold only, or both hot and cold:

Hot Water Only

See Hot Water Heaters on the Water Quality FAQs page.

Cold Water Only

See Water Filters and Treatment Devices on the Water Quality FAQs page.

Both Hot & Cold Water

Please call us at 619-667-6248 or email Helix Water District.

Show All Answers

1. Is there a metallic taste?
2. Is there a musty or earthy odor in only your hot water?
3. Is there a musty or earthy odor in both your hot and cold water?
4. Do you taste or smell chloramines (chlorine or ammonia)?
5. Does your water have a plastic or solvent odor?
6. Does your water have a rotten eggs odor?