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Why Water Smells Like Sulfur In One Faucet

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

Water smelling like rotten eggs is the last thing you expect in your home and is always unsettling when it starts to happen unexpectedly. The common reason for sulfur smell is the presence of hydrogen sulfide in water supply.

The sulfur smell is unpleasant, and the taste isn’t any less undesirable. Therefore, you should get rid of it immediately.

Why Water Smells Like Sulfur In One Faucet

Source of the Sulfur Smell

To find out the source of the sulfur smell, you need to first determine whether the smell comes when running cold or hot water. So, run your cold and hot taps separately for a few minutes. You should also try each faucet separately to know exactly where the smell is coming from.

If the sulfur smell occurs when running hot water, the source could be a chemical reaction from your water heater. Conversely, if the water smells when running cold water, there could be high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas and sulfur bacterium in the water.

In a Cold Water Faucet

The sulfur smell from cold water could indicate excessive hard water in your home, which isn’t harmful. However, if the sulfur smell occurs when running hot and cold water, it points to a problem with your water source.

Therefore, you may want to check your water supply.

How Sulfur Gets to the Hot Water Tank

Sulfur can get to your water tank in different ways. One of such ways is when there is a degrading anode rod, especially those made of magnesium.

The other reason could be the presence of sulfate bacteria in the tank. Usually, this forms when the water inside the tank stays stagnant for too long.

Sulfate bacteria thrive well in environs with hot temperatures and little oxygen. So, inside a water heater presents a conducive environment.

Why Water Smells Like Sulfur In One Faucet?

You might be curious why the sulfur smell only comes from one faucet. Even though the odor is from one tap in your home, the reason could still be one of those pointed out above.

Sulfur will find the best path where there is the least resistance. It might travel through several pipes before finding one opening. The chances are that the pipe could be bent, which traps the sulfur inside.

The odor from one faucet could also indicate that something is rotting along the drain.

To confirm whether there is an issue with the drainage, you can run some water from the faucet and sniff it. Consider doing this in a different room to ensure you’re sure about the smell.

If the water doesn’t have any smell, then the drain could be the culprit. Check for twisted pipes by visually inspecting them.

If the drain is not the issue, it’s time to fix the smelly tap water.

How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from One Faucet

How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from One Faucet

If the sulfur smell is from one faucet, the best way to clean it is by cleaning the pipe. Here’s what you need:

  • Hot water
  • Vinegar

Mix equal quantities of hot water and vinegar. Pour the mixture into the smelly drain and leave it unused for several hours. Vinegar will fix the problem.

Ensure you repeat this cleaning process 3-4 times to ensure that all buildup within the pipe is cleared.

How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from All Faucets

How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from All Faucets

If the sulfur smell comes from all faucets, you need to check your water sources. For a home well, you will have to flush it using a chlorine solution. Doing this will help reduce the strength of the smell.

On the other hand, for municipality water, you will require active carbon filters to help get rid of hydrogen sulfide from the water. Water will pass through the active carbon filters, where all chemicals are absorbed before getting to your faucet.

Generally, the approach to fixing the smelly water from your faucet depends on the sulfur source.

Other possible solutions include:

  • Flush water heater using hot water
  • Use water softener
  • Replace the water heater anode rod
  • Install a home filtration system

No Control Over Your Water Source?

In situations where you have no control over your water source, there is no easy way out but to install home filtration systems. While this might be a costly option for most people, they can use faucet-mounted water filters.

Is it Safe to Use Smelly Water to Clean Dishes?

Luckily, water smelling like sulfur isn’t harmful. You can use the water for various purposes, including washing the dishes or showering. However, it’s advisable to do something about the smelly water or to avoid it altogether.

These solutions can help you fix the smelly water coming out of your faucet. No one likes to have their faucet smelling like rotten eggs.

Can Sulfur Smell Go Away on Its Own?

Unfortunately, the sulfur smell won’t disappear until you use one of the solutions we’ve outlined in this article.

If it’s the water tank, it’s time to drain all the water and clean the system. Consider using a water softener to reduce your water hardness because this is a quick fix that will also help.

Best Course of Action

Ideally, the best thing to do about the sulfur smell is to identify its source and fix it immediately. However, until you solve the problem, it’s safe to buy bottled water to cook and drink.

Yes, the water isn’t harmful, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? So, take some time to remedy the sulfur situation, and your water will smell better in no time.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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