Different Types of Smells in Your Water and What Do They Mean?

  • March 3, 2019


City water or well water both can be fishy sometimes. You opened the tap and that strong smell got on your nerves. These are alarming for all the homeowners experiencing this issue. You may think that the water supply is contaminated but this is just one reason. There are many reasons and you need to find the exact one behind this pungent smell.

Bacterial activity is the common reason behind foul water. However, this is not the sole cause. Decaying organic solids, chemical reaction, concentrated minerals or stagnate water can be the grounds.

So to get this clear, we have listed the most common type of water smells, the cause behind and how to prevent them.

Different Types of Smells in Your Water and What Do They Mean?

Earthy or Dirty Smell:

Source: Musty, earthy or moldy smell in your hot water tap is due to iron bacteria. It is generally not harmful but the water taste differs. When iron level increases in water it results in bad taste. This can also be found in the toilet tank, sink or fixtures.

Iron and oxygen combination is formed by iron bacteria. It feeds on slime when it dies earthy odor is released. It needs a warm temperature to grow. This is why heaters are their favorite place.

Prevention: Chlorine chemical feed system is the only solution to treat iron bacteria. These systems will properly oxidize the iron which will hinder bacterial growth. 

Bleachy Smell:

Source: Bleach smell is the most common issue in city water supplies homeowners often complain about. This is because the corporation dissolves chlorine as a water purifying agent and then distributes it to the public. The abodes close to water treatment plant experiences high chlorine amount in water. This just dries your skin and hair and also taste odd.

Prevention: Water filter is the solution to this issue. It helps in the removal of all kind of chemical and organic substances present in water. You get fresh and pure water every time.

Fishy Smell:

Source: Naturally organic substance present in water causes a fishy odor. The elevated chloramines, cadmium, and barium disinfect water.

They are harmful contaminants that need to be removed as soon as possible. It creates a strong odor and also deterrents plumbing system.

Prevention: Reverse osmosis system is the most effective solution for this problem. It is efficient in eliminating every type of contaminants including cadmium, barium, and chloramines. The carbon filters improve the taste and color of water. It also remineralizes water so that you get safe healthy water to drink.

Rotten Eggs Stink:

Source: Sulfur bacteria are the culprit behind that rotten egg smell coming from your faucet. Generally, they found their way inside water supplies. This may be due to less oxygen too which broke into hydrogen sulfide gas. The groundwater chemical reactions can also result in this. If the smell is only coming from hot water the problem is inside your heater.

Prevention: Install an aeration system because sulfur gas is generally produced when oxygen is absent. The aeration system with catalytic action converts sulfur gas into solids and filter it out.

You can use an oxidant like chlorine or ozone injection that will kill the sulfur bacteria completely.


Safe and pure drinking water is everyone’s right. Water odors not only cause nuisance but can also be a health hazard. Call water testing professional that will help you with it.

The Water supply of United Kingdom is complex and mostly hard water is the only source. The survey stated that people were confused when asked about hard and soft water. In this region, a water softener is a necessity.

To save yourself from this icky situation install a water filter at home. It will bank your time and money. Always pick a filter which is suitable as per region, budget and is long lasting.