Home » Water Quality » Contaminants » Why Water Smells Like Sulfur In One Faucet

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 something that’s always unsettling when it happens out of the blue. The common reason for the rotten eggs smell is the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the water supply.

The smell itself is unpleasant, and the taste isn’t any better. So the question is; what can you do to remove the sulfur smell?

Why Water Smells Like Sulfur In One Faucet

Finding the Source of the Sulfur Smell

To find out the source, you first need to determine whether the smell occurs when running cold or hot water.

There are 2 ways to do this:

  • a) run your cold and hot taps separately for a few minutes, and
  • b) try each faucet, one at a time, to identify exactly where the smell is coming from.

If the sulfur smell occurs when running hot water, it could be due to a chemical reaction inside the water heater or a bacterial formation. When there is a degrading anode rod (a metal rod that runs along the centerline of water tanks) made of magnesium in the tank, it’s likely to cause such problems.

Sulfate bacteria, on the other hand, forms when water inside the tank stays stagnant for too long. They thrive well in environs with hot temperatures and little oxygen like the inside of a water heater.

If it happens when running cold water, there could be high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas and sulfur bacterium in the water. The sulfur smell from cold water could also indicate excessive hard water in your home. Hard water isn’t harmful by itself and it can easily be handled by a water softener.

However, if it occurs no matter the temperature of the water, the problem is probably in your water source. In this case, you may want to have your supply inspected by a professional or, if your supply is from a well, have it tested to see if it’s in accordance with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) regulations.

Why Water Smells Like Sulfur In One Faucet?

If the smell is coming from just one faucet, there’s a good chance that the source is located in the drainage. Sometimes, all the waste that goes through the sink might build up somewhere in the drainage and lead to bacterial formation.

To confirm whether there is an issue with the drainage, open the tap and fill a glass. Then, step away from the faucet, swirl the glass a couple of times, and sniff it.

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

How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from One Faucet

The best way to deal with this issue is by cleaning the drain.

Here’s what you need:

  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from One Faucet

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 drainage is cleared.

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. Chlorine will help reduce the strength of the smell.

On the other hand, for municipality water, you will need activated carbon filters to help get rid of hydrogen sulfide. These filters will absorb all the chemicals, heavy metals, and other sorts of contaminants in the water before getting to your faucet.

Other possible solutions include:

  • Flush water heater using hot water
  • Use water softener
  • Replace the anode rod
  • Install a home filtration system
How to Fix Smelly Tap Water from All Faucets

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 also use faucet-mounted filters.

Is it Safe to Use Smelly Water to Clean Dishes?

Water smelling like sulfur isn’t harmful, just unpleasant. You can still use this water for various human consumption such as washing the dishes or showering. However, it’s advisable to deal with it as soon as possible or avoid it until it’s completely taken care of.

The solutions we listed above might help you fix the smelly water coming out of your faucet. 

Can Sulfur Smell Go Away on Its Own?

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

If the source of the odor is the tank, it’s time to drain all the water and clean the system. In addition, we absolutely recommend softeners and whole house filtration systems to prevent further occurrences.

Wrapping Up With the Best Course of Action…

There are three main reasons for the sulfur smell in one faucet; bacteria in the water heater, bacteria in the water supply, or bacteria in the drainage.

If it’s the lattermost, you’re likely to experience this particular odor when you’re near a particular faucet.

If that’s the case, you can easily fix it. Sending a mix of hot water and vinegar down that drain will eliminate any bacterial formation.

However, until you solve the problem, it’s safe to buy bottled water to cook and drink. It might not be harmful, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? So, take some time to remedy the situation.

Sign Up For Free 2022 Water Defense Guide!

Join our 1 Million+ strong water defense community and get updated on the latest product news & gear reviews. Plus, get a FREE 21-page "2022 Water Defense Guide" with exclusive content NOT on this site!

We HATE spam. Your e-mail will never sold or shared!

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.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *