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Odor in Cold Water

We moved into a nine year old colonial in the MetroWest area of MA about 2 years ago. After about six months of living there, we began to notice a "rotten eggs" sulfur-like odor when the cold water was turned on in the bathroom faucets, both on the main floor half-bath and upstairs baths as well. The odor only occurs after the faucet has not been used for a couple of hours, and only lasts for 20 seconds or so after initially turning the cold water on (does not happen with hot water). We have had the water extensively tested, and all readings come back normal. However, we had followed the testing service instructions and ran the water for 2 min prior to sample collection. We have noticed a reddish precipitate in the toilet tanks, which I suspect is iron since I can get the slush to move around with a magnet. Our water is from an onsite well, and we don't have any purification or softening equipment. The iron is an obvious culprit here, but I dont understand why the smell would only be transitory when the water is first turned on, and only happens with cold water. Any ideas how or why this is happening would be most appreciated!!

Re: Odor in Cold Water

Some of the minerals may be collecting in the WH as sediment. You may have to smell all the time but you just notice it when you first turn the faucet on and you nose adjusts to it. If you have iron or sulfur in the water it should show up in a water test unless it was just a potability test. Well water is going to contain minerals.

Re: Odor in Cold Water

I developed the same problem and tried a filter under the kitchen sink and it eliminated it there so I went and bought a whole house filter and used charcoal filter to eliminate odors, that did not work as well as the kitchen individual filter does. I had our local water company, 5 private wells, and he gave me some IRON OUT crystals and I found more at the local hardware store. I put some in each toilet tank (3) and the red went away immediately and so did the odor. I put some in my water softener per instructions in two doses, and we are 95% better now. Our problem started like yours in the cold water only and it went to certain sinks than after months it spread to toilet tanks and then to showers over a 18 month period. We were besides ourselves all that time and tried the blogs and this site and no one had answer. Now I am more aware that the rotten egg smell is with the iron.Even though the water taste fine and tests okay it smelled for up to 20 seconds after just a few hours of being used. We are happy adding the iron eliminator. Oh yes, we went to a Home Show and asked 3 different water cleaning system displays and they all would sell us a $3000+ system but still would not 100% guarantee that their product was going to fix the odor. We are happier now having a fix for this awful odor. The water company had me turn my hot water tank to HIGH for 1 week too. Hope this helps you too!

Re: Odor in Cold Water

Sounds to me like the well needs to be chlorinated. I had a well at one time and had the same problem. I did the chlorination myself.I would do it 2 time a year.
Its important to also turn the water pressure off the HW tank open a faucet to drain pressure off the tank. On the top off the tank theres a plug on the top,remove the plug pour one bottle of peroxide into the tank. When the well is chlorinated you need to draw some new water into all the cold water line faucets.Shut them off let the water sit in the pipes for about 6 hrs or so then flush them all out. Same for the hot side,the peroxide is in the tank when you open all the how water faucets your drawing in new water with the peroxide. Shut the hot faucets down let the water stay in the pipe for the same time the cold in 6hrs plus. Then flush the hot side. The chlorine and peroxide kill the bacteria in the pipes and HW tank.
Remember if you have a ice machine,toss the ice. If theres a filter on the ref,change it out also..
Good luck



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