Culligan Water of West Texas wants you to know if  your home tap water begins to smell all of a sudden, it can be pretty alarming. No worries, here are the most common complaints of stinky and bad tasting water and their probable causes. Good news — they all have fairly simple solutions.

Does your water smell like…

…bleach or chlorine?

Safe, bacteria-killing chlorine is added to the public water supply every day, but too much or two strong a smell is obnoxious. If you have public water, contact your provider. If you have a private well and still have a strong chlorine smell, did you have a shock chlorination treatment done lately? If so, just let a few faucets, like a hose spigot, run for a while until the smell is gone with the excess chlorine. If you haven’t done a chlorination treatment lately, call to get your well water system flushed and consider home water filtration.

…something rotten, like eggs?

Probably the most common complaint of smelly household water, a rotten egg smell generally stems from sulfur-eating bacteria or another similar bacteria. They’re typically harmless, just… stinky. Determine if the smell is coming from your taps or your drain. Rotting matter in the drain can be cleared and the drain disinfected to minimize bacteria growth. If the smell only comes from your hot water tap, it’s likely a sign you need a professional to come and tweak your hot water tank to prevent bacterial growth.


Unfortunately, in some instances some water simply has naturally occurring levels of harmless, stinky hydrogen sulfide gas. If this seems to be the case, especially if the smell comes from both the hot and cold taps, then you may just want to invest in a home water filtration system to clear out the gas and get you overall purer water as a bonus. If the source still evades you, check your personal well for mold and start a chlorine treatment with a professional. Public water in your tap? Alert your county water supplier that they might have algae or bacterial growth at the source.

…earthy, musty, or moldy?

First off, clean your drain to eliminate any residual moldy odors. Definitely the water that’s musty and not the drain? Well, are you one of the 48 million people in the U.S. who receive their tap water from private or household wells? Then you may have some kind of mold or fungus growing in your well and lending your water a musty taste, an especially common problem in warm months. Using a technique like shock chlorination and an activated carbon filter in your well will kill any nasty mold and keep your water clean. If you are on the public water supply, then please alert your county water provider, as they might be adding too little chlorine (which kills bacteria) to the water source.

…gas or petroleum?

Very rare, and very serious, a taste or smell like gasoline in your water is an indicator that something is very wrong. Do not drink gas-smelling water, and call in a professional to investigate. If your water is publicly supplied you should contact your industrial water treatment authorities immediately, as the fuel smell could be from dangerous run-off or contamination.

Lots of harmless things can pop up in our water. Being mindful of them, cleaning our drains and water storage often, and looking into a CULLIGAN WATER™  home filtration system can provide a little more peace of mind about having cleaner, tastier water.