When Your Shower Smells Like Rotten Eggs

If your hot showers suddenly start smelling like rotten eggs, it may seem like a major problem. The reality, however, is that this is a common plumbing issue with a relatively simple fix in most cases. There are even a few things you can do on your own to narrow down the cause of the foul water odor.

The good news is that unless you have a habit of eating breakfast in the shower, you probably aren’t smelling actual rotten eggs. Instead, that indistinguishable stench is the classic description for Sulphur. Don’t worry; water has various amounts of naturally occurring sulfur as well as naturally occurring sulfate-reducing bacteria, which are both harmless to humans.  

First and foremost, it is important to make sure the rotten egg smell is coming for your water (and not your drains or sewer lines.)  Next, you’ll want to confirm it is only the hot water. Simply running the cold water for several minutes and taking a big sniff is typically all that is needed to narrow down the source. If your egg odor is only in your hot water, then you can typically blame your hot water heater.

As mentioned before, most water has Sulphur as well as sulfate-reducing bacteria. When this bacteria combines with metal structures in your water heater, problems can arise. This interaction of water and metal can cause a layer of molecular hydrogen to build up on the metal surface. When the sulfate-reducing bacteria oxidizes the hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is created and corrosion often occurs as well. Unfortunately, hydrogen sulfide gas smells strikingly similar to rotten eggs!

Calling a professional is often your next best step. A plumbing expert can determine if the anode rod of your water heater needs to be replaced or if your water heater simply needs to be drained or flushed out. Keep in mind that water softeners can make hydrogen sulfide gas worse, so try to avoid adding softeners if your egg odor keeps coming back.

At Metro Septic and Plumbing, we want your plumbing system to work for you and not against you. A stinky shower or repulsive odor from your washing machine is not acceptable. Please report any unusual odors from your faucets or drains to our plumbing team. We can handle your water heater repairs today!

Posted on Behalf of Metro Septic