Hot Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Understanding the Cause and Solutions

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Woman Plugging Her Nose Due to Smell

Hot Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Understanding the Cause and Solutions

Does turning on your hot water tap release an unpleasant odor that reminds you of rotten eggs? If you’re nodding in agreement, you’re not alone. Many homeowners face this issue, where their hot water smells like sulfur or rotten eggs. This blog post delves into why this happens and offers practical advice on how to remove the rotten egg smell from your water heater.

Why Does My Hot Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

The primary reason your hot water smells like rotten eggs is the presence of hydrogen sulfide gas in your water supply. This gas is produced by bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen environments, such as the sediments that can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater. When these bacteria feed on the sulfur in the water, they produce hydrogen sulfide gas, which gives off the distinctive rotten egg smell.

Another reason could be the reaction between the anode rod in your water heater and the sulfate in the water. The anode rod is designed to prevent rusting inside the water heater, but it can also cause the production of hydrogen sulfide gas under certain conditions.

How to Remove Sulfur Smell from Hot Water Heater

  • Flush Your Water Heater: Flushing the water heater can remove the sediment buildup and the bacteria that cause the sulfur smell. This is something you can do yourself or hire a professional to handle.
  • Replace the Anode Rod: If the anode rod is the culprit, replacing it with one made of a different material, such as aluminum or magnesium, might solve the problem. Zinc-alloy anodes can also help minimize sulfur smells as zinc counteracts the production of hydrogen sulfide gas.
  • Clean the Tank with Hydrogen Peroxide: For severe cases, cleaning the tank with a solution of hydrogen peroxide can kill the bacteria causing the smell. This method involves draining the tank, filling it with a hydrogen peroxide solution, and letting it sit for a few hours.
  • Install a Water Softener: If the water in your area is high in sulfur, installing a water softener can help. Water softeners can remove sulfur and other minerals from the water before it enters the water heater.
  • Use Water Filtration Systems: Installing whole-house water filtration systems that are designed to remove sulfur and other contaminants can also be an effective solution.

Preventing the Rotten Egg Smell

Prevention is key to ensuring that your hot water does not develop a rotten egg smell in the future. Regular maintenance of your water heater, such as annual flushing, checking, and replacing the anode rod as needed, can prevent the conditions that lead to the growth of sulfur-producing bacteria. Additionally, installing a water softener or filtration system can help keep the water quality in your home at an optimal level, reducing the likelihood of the problem recurring.

When to Call a Professional

If you’ve tried the above solutions and your hot water still smells like rotten eggs, it might be time to call in the professionals. Absolute Plumbing has experienced technicians who can diagnose and solve your water heater issues quickly and efficiently. Sometimes, the problem may be more complex, involving your home’s plumbing system or the water supply itself, requiring professional assessment and solutions.


Dealing with hot water that smells like rotten eggs can be frustrating, but understanding the causes and knowing how to address them can help you resolve the issue effectively. From flushing your water heater to installing a water filtration system, there are several steps you can take to eliminate the sulfur smell. Remember, regular maintenance is key to preventing the problem from recurring.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or the problem persists, don’t hesitate to contact Absolute Plumbing. Our team is ready to help you ensure that your hot water is clean and odor-free. Call us today for a consultation and say goodbye to the rotten egg smell in your hot water.