Maybe you’re cooking and your nose wrinkles, or you’re taking a shower and suddenly you notice that something isn’t right. The water coming out of the faucet smells… bad. Really bad.

First of all, don’t worry. Your water is probably still safe to use and chances are good that you’ll easily be able to solve the problem. So, let’s take a look at the culprit and see if we can’t identify the source of your issue.


Rotten eggs smell as bad as they do because they release a compound known as hydrogen sulfide, a gas that most people notice at concentrations as low as .5 parts per million. Fortunately, despite the smell, low concentrations of hydrogen sulfide in water aren’t dangerous or harmful to breathe or drink.

Unfortunately, however, heat makes the gas smell worse (so showers may be extra bad) and excess levels of hydrogen sulfide in your water can quickly tarnish and stain fixtures and kitchenware.

The Test

To narrow down the source of the problem, you should first run the hot water faucets in different areas of your home, followed by the cold water faucets.

  • If the smell is coming from hot water only, then your water heater could be the source. This is one source of hydrogen sulfide contamination in home water.
  • If the smell is coming from hot and cold water, then you may have an issue with your water from your ground water system.
  • If the smell is coming from faucets in just one area of the home, this is possible; hydrogen sulfide gas can rise and find least point of resistance, sometimes, only one faucet.

Solutions to Try

If you suspect your water heater is the source of the problem, you can drain and refill the unit to flush out any contaminated water. You can also turn up the heat to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for a short time to disinfect the unit and kill any hydrogen sulfide-generating bacteria that might be breeding inside. Consult your hot water heater manual for instructions.

If your home plumbing seems to be the cause, try running all faucets for around 10 minutes and flush your toilets to clear out your system. If the problem persists, you might need to call a professional plumber or install a filtration system to treat your home’s incoming water supply.

Home Water Treatment in Grand Rapids, MI

If you have questions or need help managing your home’s water, the Godwin water treatment team is ready to help with advice and high quality products, including home filtration systems and other solutions. For more information, please visit your local Godwin store today!