What is the rotten egg or sulfur smell?

A rotten egg or sulfur smell usually indicates bacteria growing in your drain or hot water heater. Disinfect the drain with a household-cleaning agent such as bleach. Next, run the cold water for a while. Fill a cup of cold water from the sink where you notice the odor, take the cup to another room to determine if you smell the odor in the cup of water. If you still detect the odor, it may be in the water heater. Most manufacturers recommend flushing their hot water heaters annually. Please check your manufacturer’s owner’s manual.  

Another cause for odor is a dry trap. Water traps, sometimes called P-traps or S-traps, are commonly located near floor drains and laundry tubs and are underneath every sink in the house. They work trapping water inside the curve and blocking sewer gas from traveling back into the house. If the trap is dried out, the sewer gas has a clear path in the house. If the smell is coming from a sink, run the water for a few seconds to restore the water in the trap. If the smell is coming from a floor drain, pour a pitcher of water down the drain the restore the proper function. Traps dry out when they have not been used much, the air in the house if very dry, or there is a leak somewhere before the trap.      

Show All Answers

1. Where can I find Spotsylvania County Utilities' Water Quality Reports?
2. Who makes the rules and regulations for drinking water?
3. What is the source of my drinking water?
4. How is bacteria that cause disease kept out of drinking water?
5. How "hard" is Spotsylvania County Utilities water?
6. Is it safe to drink water from a garden hose?
7. Can water straight from the tap be used in home kidney dialysis machines?
8. Is it okay to use water from the hot water tap for drinking, cooking or making baby formula?
9. Can I store drinking water indefinitely and continue to be safe to drink?
10. Do I need to treat the tap water in any way before I place fish in an aquarium?
11. Why does tap water sometimes look milky or opaque?
12. Why do my ice cubes have white particles in them?
13. What is the white residue that sometimes builds up on coffee pots, irons, shower doors, glassware and cookware?
14. What is the pink stuff in my toilet, shower or pet's dish?
15. Why does my water have a stronger chlorine smell in the Spring?
16. Who controls my water quality?
17. What is the rotten egg or sulfur smell?