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My Well Water Smells Like Sulfur

So you just moved into a new home that has well water instead of city, or you water suddenly smells off? That might be sulfur you're smelling!

While not dangerous to your skin or body, the excess sulfur content in the water that can cause the smell can be quite unpleasant. It can be hard to get through a shower, brushing your teeth, or cooking a meal when your water has such a strong scent. If the sulfur content is high enough, your water may even taste off.

The most common scent or taste associated with increased sulfur content in well water is rotten eggs and it is very hard to miss.


Why does my water smell like this?

This smell can be caused by a variety of factors:

  1. Naturally occurring - simply a reaction of the chemicals, rocks and minerals interacting in the earth where your groundwater is located.

  2. There is a sulfur bacteria being produced in your water well, pump, or plumbing pipes.

  3. Sulfur chemical reaction in your water heater

  4. Water pollution

Water pollution is the most rare out of the four, and it is almost always an easy, treatable solution to get your water oder-less again!


To be sure that this is what is causing the odor in your well water, you should have your water tested. Your water should be tested regularly, but especially when you notice something is off, like taste or smell.

After testing to determine the cause of the odor, the next step is to figure out the source.

  1. Is there a smell coming from the cold faucet?

  2. NO: The problem is likely in the water heater

  3. YES: Is there a smell from faucets that are not connected to the water softener?

  4. NO: The problem is likely sulfur bacteria in the water softener

  5. YES: Is the smell less noticeable after the water runs for a few minutes?

  6. NO: The problem is likely hydrogen sulfide gas in the groundwater

  7. YES: The problem is likely sulfur bacteria in the well or plumbing system

I've Identified the Source, Now What?

After identifying the source, you'll most likely need to call in professional help to remedy the issue. You can give our team a call to troubleshoot or schedule a service visit. It is always important to remember that your well needs routine maintenance, so make sure to schedule those checks with professionals to make sure everything is in working order.

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