Why Does My Tap Water Smell Bad?

If you’ve never turned on the tap and smelled something funny, consider yourself lucky. If you have, you know how unpleasant the experience is. Clean water is something that’s expected and necessary for a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. The water in our home goes into our bodies, our food, and nearly everything else. If something is wrong, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. There are more than a few reasons why your water may have a strange scent to it. We’re sharing the most common reasons why your tap water smells bad.

My Tap Water Smells Like Sulfur

If you turn on your water and are greeted to the smell of sulfur, the most likely culprit is your water heater. Even if you’re running cold water, the smell is from your water heater. Both hot and cold water lines run through the appliance. We’ve written before about hard water, but hard water is most likely the cause of any sulfur smells coming from your tap. Hard water is caused by traces of calcium and magnesium naturally found in the earth. Was absorbs these minerals as it travels to your home. Over time, the mineral content will be deposited int your water heater, coating the tank. This coating, or buildup, can cause a distinct sulfuric smell. If you think your water heater is the cause of some obnoxious odors, call a local plumber to flush your water heater.

My Tap Water Smells Like Bleach or Chlorine

Sometimes, your water smells like a public pool. We’re not talking about sunscreen; we’re talking about chlorine. Don’t be alarmed if you smell this, it’s actually very normal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses chlorine to treat public water. This chlorine is an important part of keeping your family and community safe and healthy. If you start to smell chlorine in your water, chances are it’s because your water needs to travel farther than usual to reach you. That extra travel calls for extra chlorine.

My Tap Water Smells Like Sewage

Don’t worry too much if a sewage smell comes from your tap. Believe it or not, that smell can come from your drain. It’s natural to send some biological material down the drain—think soap, hair, food and food scraps. Over time, this matter can collect in your drain and emit a gas that smells like sewage. To test this, turn on the tap and pour a glass of water. Leave the room and wait a minute or two. If the water doesn’t smell like sewage, you can attribute that smell to your drain.

My Tap Water Smells Like Fish

We all know that noxious odor of fish. It can be heavy and alarming. If you turn on your tap and smell even a faint fish smell, there could be a few reasons. Don’t worry though, most of the time it is not cause for concern. One reason why your water might smell like fish is from a natural mineral called Barium. Barium is “found in naturally occurring mineral deposits,” and is not harmful to your health. If you’re worried about this, a tap filter should do the trick. The final most common reason why your tap water smells like fish could be because of algae blooms. Another reason could be ammonia. Though ammonia sounds alarming, most of the time it’s not. Just like the chlorine we mentioned above, ammonia has been used to treat public water for over 70 years. There are times when ammonia can react to the chlorine, making a fish smell. Sometimes, natural aquifers, lakes, and reservoirs can foster algae growth. Algae growth could potentially be harmful, if you suspect algae growth, please call your water provider to alert them.

Smelling Something Strange? Call Service Champions!

From a simple snaking to whole pipe replacement; our plumbers are qualified and here to help. Service Champions is the only Diamond Certified HVAC and plumbing provider in Southern California. We proudly serve parts of Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties. Please reach out to our friendly call center representatives or click here to request an appointment online.