Does Your Well Water Smell And Taste Bad?

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Mattias

Having your well is fantastic, but sometimes the water can smell bad, from an unpleasant sulfur smell to a wet dog.

In this article, we will go through why your well water smells like this:

  • Rotten eggs
  • Dirt
  • Metall
  • Musty
  • Fishy
  • Chlorine (like a pool)
  • Wet dog

Consider this your ultimate guide for strange smells in your well water.

My Well Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your well water has the unpleasant odor of rotten eggs, it indicates that Hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) is present; it can give the water a rotten egg odor or taste.

Suppose your drinking water tastes like a rotten egg or has an awful smell. Could you not drink it?

The sulfur smell can signify that sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide are present in your well. It can produce a “slime” and help other bacterial growth, like iron. The iron bacteria can clog wells, irrigation systems, and plumping.

Even if sulfur bacteria don’t give you any health issues, the elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide gas can give you reactions like headaches, nausea, convulsions, and delirium. The gas can harm you at high levels, so it must be removed.

How do you remove the rotten egg smell from well water?

To eliminate the awful smell of rotten eggs, you can use chlorine bleach. It can remove hydrogen sulfide from medium to high levels. It’s also possible to increase the temperature of your water heater to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of hours. 

But using the chlorine bleach method can sometimes be challenging, so do it carefully. You may need to consult with a professional for help.

But if you only can smell when warm or hot water comes out from your faucet, it might be your water heater that needs to replace its magnesium anode. If you got hydrogen sulfide in your tap water, installing an iron filter that would treat your whole water supply could be a good idea.

Read also: How Fast Does Well Water Replenish? An Easy Explanation

Well Water Smells And Tastes Like Dirt

The taste or earthy smell of dirt is not an uncommon phenomenon. It comes from increased organic material in your water source. Bacteria, Algae, and decaying vegetation are the most significant causes. It can taste your water, like lemon juice or vinegar, bitter taste. This may be due to the presents of “Geosmin.”

How do you get rid of the earthy-smelling water?

There are three ways to get rid of the earthy odor:

  1. Use a carbon filter – this can make the water drinkable but won’t eliminate the taste.
  2. Install a reverse osmosis system – the best way to remove all geosmin from your water.
  3. Cool the water in your fridge – this won’t solve the root of the problem, but the water will taste less geosmin.

It can also be due to actual sediment in your water. Test every faucet in your house and see if they smell any dirt. If the smell comes from a few taps, it can be dirt or bacteria in the aerator. But if you smell dirt from all taps, you might have a problem with your water source. Then you must contact your water provider.

Well Water Smells Musty

If your find yourself smelling something musty when pouring up a glass of water, you may have dissolved minerals like copper, iron, or lead leaching into your water.

Your water should always smell fresh, not aged and damped like it’s been in the basement for a week. It can give the water a moldy smell due to polluting water.

How do you get the musty smell out of well water?

A solution to removing the unpleasant smell of mold would be to sanitize your plumbing system, even your water softener if you got anyone at home. Contact a water treatment professional if you don’t know how to do this.

Read also: How To Remove Iron From Well Water

Well Water Tastes Like Metal

If your well water tastes like metal, there might be high concentrations of iron or manganese in your water, and it’s likely caused by corrosion or seepage. 

The cause of the metallic taste can be due to old metal piping that is slowly deteriorating in your water. You might find zinc, manganese, iron, and copper in your water. Mostly, these metal traces aren’t harmful to you, but they can give a bad taste to the water.

It’s also possible that there’s lead in your water, and in 1986 lead pipes were banned in the national plumbing codes, so the chances may not be so big that you got lead in your water.

But the tricky thing is that there’s no “safe level of lead” when drinking it. So if your water smells like metal, you must test it directly to ensure that you don’t have any lead.

If your home was built before they banned lead piping in 1986, you could invest in a filtration system that reduces lead to peace of mind.

If your pH level is less than 7, it can give your water a metallic taste. Water with low pH or soft water is more acidic. This can give the water a sour taste, which can seem metallic. Just use a simple pH test kit to see your pH levels.

Do Rusty Pipes Affect the Taste of Water?

Yes, it can make the water taste bitter and metallic. This isn’t harmful to you, but if your water is rusty orange, you shouldn’t drink it. 

How do you get rid of the metallic taste in my well water?

The best and most effective way is to install a whole house water filtration system, then you’re safe and sound. Since it filtrates your water from all harmful contaminants, making it pure.

Well Water Smells Fishy

A fishy smell is usually a sign of naturally occurring organic material in your water source; metals like cadmium or barium, chloramine, or algae blooms might be in your water.

Usually, these compounds are not harmful, but large amounts of them aren’t good for you.

Contact your water provider if your water smells like fish since the EPA requires them to reduce the metal levels in your water supply, so it’s safe to use.

Well Water Smells like Chlorine

If your water smells like a swimming pool, your water is probably contaminated with chlorine. Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant; drinking it at large can cause health issues. Even if low levels are normal and not harmful to you, you should take care of it quickly to avoid over-chlorination.

A home test kit is the best way to know your chlorine levels. Then, you can decide what the next step is once you know the levels. Installing a whole-house filter system or an activated carbon filter might be a good idea. Since the taste and smell of it can be unpleasant. Chlorine is often used in city water and is something you don’t have to deal with when having well water.

Well Water Smells Like a Wet Dog

If your well water smells like a wet dog, it’s a sign that you either got a build-up problem, a bacteria problem, or both in your water supply. 

If you are connected to the city water, you probably got things to worry about since the EPA regulates it. But if you get your water from a well that smells like a wet dog, test it and see if there are any harmful bacteria in it. Please don’t drink the water until you can know for sure that it’s safe.

Read also: Why Is My Well Water Brown All Of A Sudden

Well Water Smells Bad Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article.

As you discovered, your water can have many strange smells, and it’s essential to do something about it if it happens.  

Even if it isn’t harmful every time, it’s best to be on the safe side.

A whole-house filter will always be the best solution for all the smells and strange tastes in your water. Good luck!

PS: If your well water tastes different, it can be that the water level in your well is shallow, and it may be a warning sign that your well is going dry.