Reasons Why Your Hot Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

The foul smell of sulfur, which resembles rotten eggs, is not exactly something you want to encounter in your hot water. It may even make you want to skip washing yourself or the items in your house. Nobody wants this disgusting smell, after all. 

Most of the time, this issue comes from bacteria growth in your water heater. Read on to learn what causes this problem and what you can do to address it.

Reasons behind Foul-Smelling Hot Water

Most of the time, water heaters create an environment that fosters the growth of sulfur-producing bacteria. When your heater’s anodes (for corrosion prevention) produce hydrogen ions, the bacteria that has grown use these to give off hydrogen sulfide gas. 

Of course, this is not always the cause of smelly water. You may consider this reason if only the hot water has a foul odor. 

Typically, sulfur and sulfur-producing bacteria are not harmful. However, the unpleasant smell may make it uncomfortable for people in the household to use. 

Wells and Municipal Sources

Sulfur bacteria exist more in well water than municipal source water since its chlorination system quickly kills off the organisms. 

Unfortunately, water with a rotten egg smell can still occur in municipal sources. It happens when old iron distribution systems create a bacteria growth environment that decreases chlorine and oxygen. 

Water Softener 

Water softener systems tend to worsen the stench of your water. This is because softened water boosts conductivity and hydrogen sulfide production. In addition, water softeners do not have sufficient oxygen, further encouraging bacteria growth. 

If you are dealing with softened well water, it will be highly likely for you to experience bad-smelling water. 

The Solution

A few fixes can help with water that smells like rotten eggs. Before trying any of these, first, confirm if your hot water is indeed the source of the bad odor. You can do this by testing your cold and hot water. 

After confirming, you must flush the water heater before sanitizing it. We recommend hiring the help of a professional service to do this without inflicting damage on your heater. 

If this does not solve the problem, try replacing your anode with zinc-aluminum anode rods to lessen the foul odor. They prevent chemical reactions with the anode, stopping the bacteria from producing bad-smelling gasses. 

Getting the Help of Professionals 

Note that the rotten egg smell may come from a different source. It is best to consult a professional if none of the suggestions above seems to work. 

Skilled plumbing personnel can get to the bottom of the issue and address it with the best solution. Make sure to choose professionals who offer a wide range of services at reasonable rates. It will be beneficial to have an expert look at your system and know exactly how to fix the problem correctly. 


Water that smells like rotten eggs is a common occurrence in many households, which affects the daily tasks and functions of the occupants. This is why identifying the root cause of the issue is crucial to bringing back the excellent state of your hot water. If you think you may be dealing with bacteria growth in your heater, do not hesitate to reach out to plumbing specialists immediately. 

Do you need a water heater repair service in California? Turn to Candu Plumbing & Rooter. We are a professional plumbing business committed to providing our customers with top-notch services. Request your free estimate today!