Why Does My Water Smell Funny?

Most homeowners don’t pay much attention to their tap water until they notice something out of the ordinary. When everything is working perfectly, your tap water should be clean and odorless.

However, certain plumbing or water supply issues can cause your water to smell like sulfur, metal, salt, fish, or rotten eggs. Whether your water smells like bleach or rotten eggs, your initial reaction would be to think the water has been contaminated.

However, this is not always the case. In some cases, smelly water can be harmless.

Nevertheless, it’s important to identify the cause of the smell, so it can be addressed promptly. In this post, we’ll look at the common causes of smelly water and advise on what to do if your faucet is giving you something “extra†with your water.

Locate the Source of the Odor

The first step in solving the smelly water problem is to determine the source of the odor.

Does the odor come from some of the faucets? Does it go away after running the water for a few minutes? If the answer is no, the problem is likely the water supply. If the answer is yes, the odor is likely coming from your plumbing system, not the water supply.

Common Water Odors, Causes, and Solutions

Once you’ve identified the source of the odor, you’ll want to know what is causing it and how you can fix the problem. Here are the common causes of odor in water and their fixes.

1. Rotten Eggs Odor

If your water smells like rotten eggs, it’s advisable that you don’t drink it. A sewage-like or rotten egg odor results from sulfur bacteria in the water.


As mentioned, the rotten egg odor results from the presence of sulfur bacteria in the water. The bacteria feasts on decomposing organic matter in the water, creating hydrogen sulfide gas which gets trapped in the plumbing system.


If the smell only comes from hot water, the problem is your water heater.

In this case, contact a plumbing professional, like Doctor Drips, to check your water heater system. If the problem does not only affect hot water but tap water too, flush and disinfect the drain using baking soda and vinegar. In either case, contacting a plumbing professional is recommended.

2. Chemical Odor

Chemical odor in your tap water can be bothersome.

Nobody wants their drinking water to smell and taste like a swimming pool. If your water has a pungent smell, it’s probably contaminated with chemicals. Some chemicals, like chlorine, are harmless, while others, like sulfur, can be harmful to your health.


If your water smells like chemicals, it’s contaminated with chlorine. Chlorine is a proven disinfectant used to kill microorganisms during water treatment.

This compound kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other microorganisms living in the water. In limited quantities, chlorine is safe for humans, animals, and birds.


Installing a carbon filtration system is the most effective way to remove chlorine and chlorine-based compounds from water, as these filters absorb contaminants, chlorine included.

3. Fishy Odor

If your drinking water smells fishy or musty, it’s very likely bacteria are present.


One of the top reasons for fishy odor is bacteria present in the water. Certain fungi, algae, and bacteria can grow in the tank, especially if it has decaying organic matter, and affect the water odor.

If your tap water smells fishy, these microorganisms could have found their way into your water supply. Another cause of the fishy smell is the presence of ammonia or barium in the water.


Cleaning the storage tank regularly can prevent bacteria from proliferating to levels that can cause odor in the water.

Call Doctor Drips

Drinking water odors may come from various sources—most of which are harmless but can be unpleasant to the point of putting your guests off.

If you find yourself facing persistent smelly water issues, Doctor Drips can help.

We’ll not only test your water for dangerous chemicals but also identify and address the root cause of the problem to ensure your drinking water is safe and free of chemicals, odors, and sediments. Contact us today, and we’ll be happy to help fix your water problems.