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Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

We just moved into our new Old House and noticed a rotten egg smell coming from the kitchen sink, we did some investigating and found:

1. Cold Water only has the smell, the hot water does not smell at all (From what I've read usually the hot water smells worse)

2. The kitchen and Main bathroom sink and toilet are the only ones that smell, the master bath is fine as is the Shower and Laundry that are in the Main bath.

3. The house has a water softener that supposedly is a whole house system.

4. The house had been vacant for about a month before we moved in I have not checked with the previous occupant to see if she noticed the smell, but could if that info would help.

5. Well Water

We want to get rid of the smell (it is really grossing me out!) but have no idea where to begin. It is definately the water and not the drain. I have read that it could be the water softener, hot water heater, pipe or well. I'm assuming its not the hot water heater since the hot water doesnt smell. So I dont know where to go next? Any help would be great! Thanks

A. Spruce
Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

That aroma is usually associated with high sulfur content in the water. There are water purification systems that will remove the odor and other problems.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

Let me just add this:

Depending on the amount of sulfur in your water, clorine can solve the problem. For stubborn sulfur, a whole house catalytic carbon filter will be needed.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

This smell could be coming from a few places.

1) The water softener

Do you have a faucet that is before the softener? If so check to see if you have the smell there. If the smell is there you know its before the faucet, if not then you know its after the faucet.

2) Water psi tank

Is your tank a bladder style tank? If so check the date on the tank. From my experience the bladder tanks have a life span of about 5-7 years. When they go bad they can cause a rotten egg smell. (I see this on a weekly basis) If its bad I suggest going with a galvanized tank.

3) The well

If its this you can fix with different means that we can get into later.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

First things first when your on well water the well needs to be treated with chlorine or bleach there is a process find out when the last time this was done or if ever done, I would check that first this is most likely the cause sometimes the Anode rod in the water heater can also cause sulfur smells and just because the hot doesn't smell doesn't mean its not the water heater because the water could be causing back flow into the cold side and you could always by pass the softener and see if the smell goes away it may be all of the above but more than likely the well water just needs to be treated.

Ben Franklin Plumbing Of Alpine
304 Meadowlark Drive, Alpine, UT 84004
(801) 960-1567 ‎
http://www. benfranklinplumbingalpine.com

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

We moved into this house in Oct 2004. There also was the awful rotten egg smell. We have a well and had the water tested and found high levels of iron in our water. What to do? Spend the money digging a new well that may have the same problem or spend on a system to clear the water. We got the system. I live in Western Pa so I went with Gordon Bros. They cleared up the problem. I was hoping not to have to deal with having to add anything, but I do have to add chlorine and water to a small tank whenever the water drops to a certain level. I also wanted the water to be potable so there are two small tanks with some kind of charcoal. We do have a large intake kind of tank that needs to be flushed from the bottom every time I add the chlorine. That water is a thick looking rusty red color. I am soo thankful to have this system. We ruined so many clothes, and the toilet and sink were stained also. We tried shocking the well to no avail first. I would just have someone come in that knows their stuff and be done with it.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

Without seeing the well, I will give my best guess as to what you have.

First The high iron problem.

I am going to say your well has steel casing in it and also has galvanized steel pipe that the pump is hanging on.

First minor thing you can do is properly clean the well. You can do this by dumping chlorine in the well. Then take a water hose and stick in the top of the well for 20-30 minutes. This will circulate the water in the well and wash the chlorine off the walls of the casing. It also will cause the casing to scale over, creating a hard layer that won't cause rust in your water for a few months. For chlorine you can just use bleach, but you must make sure the bleach is made of Sodium Hypochlorite. Some bleach isn't made of it and won't work. (clorox and purex both have it) This again is just a temporary fix.

Second you can have a PVC liner installed which will seal the steel casing from your well. This must be sealed properly so depending on your state laws MUST be done by a licensed pump/well driller.

Third replace the galvanized steel pipe with sch 80 pvc pipe. This again will probably have to be done by a pump installer.

After this is done you shouldn't have to use filters, chlorinators, etc. to try and remove the rust because there won't be any.

As I am a well driller and pump installer I see this stuff daily and that is what I would have done in missouri. As all water in different parts of the country have different minerals in them, you should contact your nearest well driller and speak with them. Just make sure they are a well established company.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

We went to Home Shows in Omaha with the exact concern you have.None of the water conditioning companies would guarantee with their $3500 machinery that it would fix the problem. The water company has 6 wells that feed us, they came out and gave me a product called "IRON OUT", which acted like a bandaid and the rotten smell came back and ringed the toilets. Our Water softener was 9 years old and had never been serviced, so we decided to buy a new one for $395 and installed it ourselves. THIS FIXED THE PROBLEM. I was told later that the tank has balls in it that can seize up. We were very frustrated so we know how you feel.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

You won't find a water conditioning company that can FIX the problem, the best they can do is MASK it. Your best bet is to contact your local professional that is licensed to work on your well. Do you know anything about your well?

1) Well depth
2) Casing depth
3) casing type
4) static water level
5) depth pump set at
6) pump drop pipe type (pvc or galvanized)
7) psi tank type (bladder, galvanized, etc)
8) psi tank age

update: I did some research and PA requires their drillers to be licensed but doesn't have any requirements nor do they train their drillers on proper drilling techniques on the drilling and sealing of wells to keep contaminants out. So I can't say as to whether the well was constructed properly. From my research the water in western pa should't have sulfur in it. PA does require well reports to be completed and sent to their natural resources department if it was drilled after 1966. So if you contact the pa department of conservation and natural resources, they can pull up the record and tell you whats in it. If it doesn't show the driller hit shale when they were drilling then the well itself shouldn't be the cause of the smell.

If you have questions, feel free to contact me on here or at

Shannon Wicker
Wicker well drilling and pump service
Bonded, insured, and licensed thru Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Aurora, MO

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

Disclaimer: mess with your own house at your own risk. Do not hold me liable if you screw something up. I'm not a professional and I would stress that there are probably lots of reasons the rotten egg odor may occur (see the professionals).

However, I had a similar problem of smell in cold water only and got results as follows:

New house, new well, pex piping some iron demonstrated in water.

Action 1:
Simple "big blue" sediment filter (note that this in-itself did not solve the smell, but is a good idea and easy to install with simple plumbing skills)

Action 2:
I rigged up some garden hose sections that effectively bypass the normal feed/return for my hot water heater (in my case this is tank-less unit). The temporary pluming made it such that the hot water heater was feed directly from the well pressure tank and returned back just a bit upstream from the pressure tank, after a cutoff valve.

In this way the whole house (cold water feed) had HOT water in it.

Then I cranked my heater to 130F and fed the offending/smelly faucets this nice hot water. I let this dribble for about 20min and put the whole system back to normal.

My working theory is that there is a mineral (iron?) loving bacteria that was able to get a foot-hold in some of my pipes (harmless to harm humans as we still drank from those taps).

It seems that this organism does not like hot water. My hope is that I killed it all and that is that. Time will tell (it's been about 6 weeks) and it could be that I am breading my own super-bacteria by killing all the ones susceptible to hot water leave only the strongest!

I know this is an old thread but I found it in my early search for answers - maybe it will help someone else.

Re: Rotten Egg Smell From Faucets Cold Water

We had a rotten egg smell from the cold water faucet when we added a bathroom in our basement. The odor would dissipate if you let the water run a bit, but not really go away completely. The problem was solved when we replaced the braided water hose on the cold water side with pex.


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