Sulfur Smell in Water (Rotten Egg Smell): How to Remove It?

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You’ve probably noticed that the tap water in your home sometimes has an unpleasant odor and taste, especially when you first turn it on in the morning. What causes this unpleasant smell and taste?

The odor can be due to several reasons, and one of them is something known as hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), which produces a sulfur smell in water.

How to Remove Rotten Egg Smells (Hydrogen Sulfide Gas)?

In some parts of the country, tap or well water may have a strong odor known as rotten egg or sulfur smell. While it is not harmful, most people may want to remove the hydrogen sulfide from drinking and cooking water because it can be a nuisance.

Aeration/Oxidation

An effective method for removing hydrogen sulfide from drinking and cooking water is called aeration/oxidation.

Aeration involves injecting air into the water to accelerate oxidation. The amount of air injected depends on how much hydrogen sulfide is present (more air will be needed if high levels are present).

Use at least 3 GPM (gallons per minute) but no more than 12 GPM and inject under pressure if possible. If high levels are present, contact your local health department for advice before implementing treatment.

Install An Electrical Anode Rod for Water Heater

Another effective way to eliminate rotten egg/sulfur smell from the water heater is to install an electrical anode rod for the water heater.

It costs only about $150 and can last more than 20 years. Aside from removing the sulfur smell, it can also stop corrosion and reduce limescale in your water heater.

Use A Well Sanitizer (Chlorination)

A cost-effective option is to use a well sanitizer to remove the rotten egg smell from your well. The well sanitizer includes a calcium hypochlorite mixture and dry chlorinating granules to sanitize the well to eliminate bacteria and sulfur odor.

Make sure to use a USDA food-grade calcium hypochlorite tablet that is approved and certified by NSF against standard 60.

Where Does Hydrogen Sulfide Come From?

Where Does Hydrogen Sulfide Come From?

Hydrogen sulfide is often found near hot springs and volcanic areas. It can also be formed when organic matter decomposes underwater. Fortunately, it only persists for a few days, but it has a distinctive rotten egg smell that can permeate your home and make your clothes smell terrible.

To prevent a buildup of hydrogen sulfide gas, install an activated carbon filter on your faucet. These remove harmful contaminants by filtering out particles with activated carbon granules.

Other Methods to Remove Sulfur Smell at Home

Most household sulfur odor issues are caused by anaerobic bacteria which naturally occur when organic materials are broken down by contact with air. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas is created, and with enough time, it becomes concentrated enough to have a rotten egg-like smell. This condition can be prevented if steps are taken before bad odors start to happen.

Here are some ways that work well:

1. Keep Up with Maintenance

Make sure drains are working properly and filters aren’t clogged with debris that is preventing proper drainage. A clean system allows less opportunity for smelly waste to build up inside pipes or reservoirs.

By regularly adding small amounts of drain cleaner through your home’s main drain lines, keeping things flowing helps prevent an accumulation of gunk. Also, using a thick layer of leaves every fall will help keep moisture out and roots from breaking into underground pipes, thereby reducing how often septic systems need maintenance.

2. Use Baking Soda

To absorb gases coming from garbage disposals, put two tablespoons of baking soda into two cups of water in a spray bottle and apply liberally around vents or openings near garbage disposals.

3. Lessen Sulfur Production

If you want to reduce sulfur production due to natural causes such as decaying plant material, irrigate your garden less frequently and use compost more sparingly. The less oxygen there is in decomposing substances, such as grass clippings, leaves, or food scraps mixed with soil, the more likely they are to produce hydrogen sulfide gas.

4. Replace Air Filters Regularly

Air filters should be replaced at least twice a year because they become very dirty over time.

5. Chlorinate your Swimming Pool

Chlorine, unlike bromine or saltwater generators, does not affect H2S odors. Installing chlorine generators or replacing chlorine periodically in pools and spas creates a form of free chlorine that destroys any sulfur-producing organisms.

6. Flush Water Heaters

Flush water heaters annually since heated water produces higher levels of hydrogen sulfide than cold.

Conclusion on How to Remove Sulfur Smell in Water

The sulfur smell in water may not harmful to humans, but it will cause an unpleasant experience due to its rotten egg smell and bad taste.

So use the method discussed above to remove the sulfur smell in water.

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