When it comes to tap water, a strange smell can be the symptom of several different problems. It could spell disaster for your pipes. It could be a sign of a major health hazard. Or it could be as simple a problem as your drains need cleaning. Funny smelling water can be fixed, but first, you need to determine the root cause.

The Smell of Bleach. Many public utilities chlorinate water before sending it to their communities to kill bacteria. The odor usually goes away as soon as the water is exposed to air. Turn on any outside faucet, and let the water run until the odor disappears. If you still smell chlorine and you’re on a public water supply, call your water supply authority. If you get your water from a well, it needs to be flushed. You shouldn’t try this on your own. Please call a well driller or a pump installer.

A Metal Smell. A metallic odor is usually caused by high levels of iron, zinc, or manganese in the water or by corroding pipes. It could also be caused by metal buildup in your water heater, which would need to be drained and flushed.

The Smell of Petroleum, Gasoline, or Turpentine. These odors occur rarely, but they are some of the most dangerous. If you smell anything like gas coming from your water, you need to take action right away. The odor could be coming from a leaking fuel tank or underground fuel storage unit, discharge from factories or landfills, or pesticide runoff. These could all cause serious health issues. So, stop using your water immediately and report the problem to your county health department. Once the issue has been resolved, consider installing an activated carbon filtration system to protect your water supply in the future.

A Sea Smell. Do you have a water softening system in your home? It might be adding too much salt to the water coming into your home. If that’s the problem, call us and we can send over a plumbing expert to inspect your water softening system and fix any issues.

Musty, Moldy, Earthy, Grassy, or Fishy Odor. Try to determine if the smell is coming from your drain. If it is, you will want to flush it and clean it. It is also important to make sure you are regularly maintaining your reservoir or pressure tank.

Unsurprisingly, there could be a lot of different problems affecting the smell of the water you are using to drink, cook with, bathe in or clean with. In Part 2 of this blog, we will explore one of the most common causes: bacteria.

If you are uncertain about how to identify or fix a problem, call us. We will be happy to come out, inspect your systems, and make the necessary adjustments to get fresh-smelling water to your family!