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Why Does Your Hot Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs? Reasons Explained

If you are noticing a disgusting smell in your water, it is most probably because of an issue in the water heater getting worse. If your hot water smells like rotten eggs, it is most likely because of a dangerous gas called hydrogen sulfide. It not only gives off a bad odor but also causes severe discoloration in bathroom faucets and kitchen fixtures, wherever that water goes. Let’s have a look at the causes and ways to fix them.

How Does Hydrogen Sulfide Get Inside The Water Heater?

Water supplies contain sulfate ions naturally in them. Sulfur does not impose a health risk at normal levels and goes undetectable. However, when sulfur reacts with hydrogen it forms a gas which makes hot water smell like rotten eggs. Here are 2 main reasons why this problem arises:

High Sulfur-Reducing Bacteria Count In Water

Sulfur reducing bacteria feeds off the sulfates, eventually reducing them into hydrogen sulfide gas. If the water supply has a high SRB number, more gas will be produced, that is why hot water smells like rotten eggs.

Usually, water treatment facilities kill off most amounts of SRB using chlorine and other disinfectants. But untreated ones coming directly from the well have a high number.

Corroded Anode Rod – Magnesium or Aluminum

Water heaters have an anode rod that is a protective component in the system. This rod serves the purpose of drawing corrosive minerals towards it so that the corrosion takes place to it and not the tank.
Mostly, these rods are made up of magnesium or aluminum. When the metals corrode, they react with sulfates present in water turning the water pungent and giving rotten eggs whiff.

How to Deal with Hot Water That Smells Like Rotten Eggs?

SRBs are mostly found in a low-oxygen environment like heaters, tanks, deep wells, or plumbing networks. These bacteria take their energy from sulfur, giving off pungent gas, which is why the hot water smells like rotten eggs.

Solution 1: Concentrated Chlorine Treatment

It is more like a temporary solution. A pre-determined amount of chlorine is added with the circulating water system. Once the chlorine smell becomes hard, the water is run through taps and let out. It is advised not to use this water for at least 24 hours from the treatment time, making this process inconvenient and temporary.

Solution 2: Replace Magnesium Anode with Alum Anode

You can easily replace the magnesium anode with an aluminum one, and the water won’t react with it making it smell-free. One advantage of using aluminum is that it is cheap and also lasts longer than others. However, the anode dissolves, debris hardens and sinks into the bottom. This thick block can reach your faucets and affect your health.


If your water smells like rotten eggs, do not worry about it; contact one of the best craftsmen in Houston, TX, at Lucas Craftsmanship Inc for a quick check and possible solutions for your problem. Call us at 713 864 2510 for any query or an appointment.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as an advice for any individual case or situation.


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