Check for any water treatment systems or water filters within the home. They need to be serviced regularly. Fill a clean container with water and take it outside of the house. Does it still smell or taste abnormal? If not, the problem most likely is the drainage system. A rotten egg or sulfur smell usually indicates bacteria growing in your drain or hot water heater. Is the smell coming from all taps or just one? If it's coming from just one tap, the problem is generally the drain and not the water. The odor comes from material, such as hair or food particles, decomposing in the drain. To get rid of the odor, pour about a half cup of liquid bleach into the drain. To prevent odors from returning, routinely flush drains with a small amount of bleach once a month. If the smell is coming from all taps, use the same flushing procedure outlined above for all affected drains.
Is the problem tap one that is seldom used, such as a guest bathroom? Or, if the whole house is involved, did you recently return from vacation? Often when a sink or shower is not used for a period of time, the material in the drain remains odorless until water is first turned on. When water hits the built-up material, odor is generated. Use the same bleach flushing procedure outlined above to treat the affected drains.
Is the odor coming from both hot and cold water? If it's coming from just the hot water, then your water heater may need flushing. Annual flushing of the hot water heater should keep the problem from returning. Hot water heater odors can also result from having the temperature set too low. To prevent bacterial growth, hot water heaters should not be set below 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Care should be taken in homes with young children, elderly or disabled residents to prevent accidental scalding.
Are you taking any new medications that may affect your sense of smell or taste? Ask your doctor if any of your medications might be affecting your sense of taste or smell.
If you continue to experience smell or taste problems with your water, please call our water quality personnel at (714) 593-4624.