If you’ve noticed that your hot water smells like sewage, rotten eggs, or garbage, you’re not the only one who experiences it. Plenty of homeowners encounter the same issue from time to time, although the exact cause of the smell is very challenging to pinpoint with just water testing.
In this article, we’re going to go over the sources of those hot water smells and look into ways to get rid of them.
Causes of Smells in Hot Water Supply
One of the most prominent smells usually encountered in your plumbing is rotten eggs, which is caused by sulfur-eating bacteria. This bacteria is normally present in the water but shouldn’t be a problem in rural areas. This certain bacteria feed and sulfur and produce hydrogen sulfide gas.
The most common cause of these types of odors is when the bacteria grow inside of your water supply drain. You’ll be aware of its presence after some time when organic matter such as soap, food waste, and hair starts accumulating on the drain walls. This waste serves as food for the bacteria to feed on. To fix this, you need to do two things:
Make sure both your hot and cold water have that smell and that it’s coming out from either one or more faucets, but not all of them. Take a glass and fill it with water from the sink where the smell is coming from, then back off from the sink, and start swirling the water within the glass a couple of times. Tap the glass of water and if it doesn’t have the odor, then the problem may be in the drain.
If you find that the glass of water doesn’t have any smells, then the drain must be disinfected and flushed.
If not that, then you should know that bacteria can also grow in water and the well also. Once you’ve determined this is happening, call a licensed or professional plumber to replace it with a good alternative like an aluminum rod.
Chlorine, Chloramines & Chemicals
Sometimes water disinfectants like chlorine, chloramines, or other chemicals end up getting washed into our water supply, which is why homeowners end up detecting a slight chemical smell in their tap water. The reason behind this infection is probably because the disinfection chemicals were likely introduced by the water utility.
To take care of this problem, get to know the process behind the water treatment in charge in your community while also visiting the utility’s website regularly for information regarding water safety. And if you find that the local water utility utilizes chloramines, make it a good habit to frequently inspect as well as replace the interior household water lines, like those for the dishwasher and clothes washer, since polyurethane fixtures and rubber fittings degrade in elasticity and are more likely to fail being treated with chemicals.
Another reason hot water smells bad is a problem with your drain, which is what gives it that awful sewage smell. This could probably be due to bacteria building up in your house’s pipe that’s close to the drain in the house and homeowners can pick up the scent when they’ve turned on the water as the p-trap is in the process of being cleared at that moment. Once that’s done, the gases will start coming out.
On the other hand, if your water heater was switched off at one point or is running at lower temperatures, it could have encouraged bacteria buildup. If this is the case, it is possible that the sewage smell may come from the tap. If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, and you encounter such smells and tastes in your household, then click here.
Despite fishy or earthy smells being harmless, most are sensitive to that kind of odor even at a very minute level. These orders are typically caused by:
Water well pollution due to surface drainage
Depreciating organic matter in the drain
In both cases, the existence of bacteria is quite common. But the most recurring cause of this issue is typically deteriorating organic matter that has been deposited for quite some time within the drain. To make sure this isn’t a well problem, take a glass and fill it in with tap water, then move away from the sink and then stir the water within the glass a couple of times. If the glass full of tap water doesn’t have any odor, then the issue must lie in the drain. And if that’s the case, then the only option is to disinfect, clean, and then flush the drain to completely eradicate the odor.
The Smell of Gasoline, Oil or Petroleum
At times, hot water smells like gas. This may be the result of a bacteria that eats iron and is present in the water supply. The presence of iron in our water supply results in red discoloration in the sink in the tub, as well as red stains on our clothes. However, the bacteria itself is generally harmless and is more present in groundwater. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that the odor is unpleasant in the petroleum or fuel oil-jelly-like smell is something that no one wants on their clothes, hair, skin, or even in their drinking water.
Another cause of this gasoline smell, which can be potentially dangerous, is legitimate gasoline itself in our water supply. This probably means that an underground holding tank has either runoff from a spill or leaked its way into the groundwater and poses a danger to our health and public safety.
To take care of this problem, you need to straight away contact your local water company. And it’s better for you to act fast before it becomes an even bigger problem down the line.