How to Get Rid of a Bad Smell or Odor From Your Water?

Most things in this world are liked or disliked because of their attributes. In food and drink this means how they smell and taste. Water, though, is unique because it is supposed to have no smell and no taste at all. In its natural form, water is the purest thing possible. When we make a drink with it, we taste and smell only the tea, coffee, or whatever we put in it. When we cook with it, again, we get the smell and taste of the food and that’s all.

If your water catches your attention, it’s probably for the wrong reasons. If it smells or tastes unpleasant, whether that be a chemical odor like chlorine or some dirty, earthy element, that’s not what we want from our precious natural resource. It may or may not be harmful, but that’s not the whole point. It’s not right and it should be addressed.

Perhaps the worst of these scenarios is a rotten egg smell in water. Nothing is more off-putting. There are few things more embarrassing than having guests comment on your water.


In Southeastern Wisconsin, the answer to bad odor in water – and any other strange smell, for that matter – is to contact us at Water Doctors. This is our purpose in life: to give everyone on our patch beautiful, pure water. We’ve been doing it since 1982, so we have vast experience and encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and we use only the very best equipment when we install water softeners by Kinetico.

You know many people drink bottled water – and some even cook with it. That is crazy in a civilized country such as ours. It’s outrageously expensive and just plain unnecessary. If you have a bad odor or taste in your water, we will get rid of it for you.


Water Softener Odor Removal & Control

If you contact us, we will explain how this works in as much detail as you want. But most people are happy with a general idea of what’s happening. We will test your water and identify the issue. Then we will install a water purification system or an iron curtain water filter that solves the problem. Job done. Except we don’t leave it there. We believe in excellent customer care, so we will look after you in the long term to make sure the problem doesn’t return.

We can also deal with water softener odor removal or control. We can remove impurities that make your hair still look unloved when you’ve just washed it and we can prevent damage to your household appliances such as washing machine and dishwasher. We are the local water filtration experts and we would love to help you.

One of the first steps that we take in our water testing process is to pull a sample from the pressure tank.

Hot-Water Only Smells

If that first sample from the pressure tank does not have an odor or the only odor is perhaps metallic (sometimes I think it smells like a tool shop), we’re likely not dealing with sulfur. The problem is like the anode rod. This is a self-sacrificing metal rod in the heater that is, nominally at least, there to protect the heater.

If you, or your guests, describe it as rotten egg, rotten fish, or anything prefixed by “rotten” and it is exclusive to hot water, this could potentially be your source of the smell and a comprehensive water test will yield answers.

Well Water, Cold Water, and Hot Water Smells

If that first sample yields that telltale rotten egg odor, we’re likely dealing with sulfur gas, hydrogen sulfide, etc.

Water softeners will allow this smell to pass right through.

How To Remove Rotten Egg Odor From Well Water

The most important step in removing smells from well water is making sure that the smell is actually coming from the well. To remove the sulfur odor from water, we need to oxidize. This really leaves two big options: Chemical v. Chemical-Free.

Chlorine or Chemical Oxidation of Odor

It’s pretty rare to find any modern treatment that would be chlorine-driven. Chlorinating a well, also called shocking a well, has extremely short-lived results.

An older and outdated option is chlorine injection. To continuously chlorinate the well is an option, it carries some overhead in terms of DNR considerations and otherwise.

It’s also an option to chlorinate the water inside of the home. This is pretty effective. It’s not cost-effective. It’s not low maintenance. And it is definitely not healthy. Chlorine creates disinfection byproducts so we’re introducing a pretty massive quantity of both known and believed carcinogens.

So we end up needing to dechlorinate this water. This introduces another piece of equipment, a carbon de-chlorinator. That carbon is there to break down to protect you and your family. This adds yet another layer of maintenance.

Chemical-Free Removal of Odor

This is, by far, the most common method to remove odor from well water. This really breaks down into two groups again:

  1. Compressor-driven systems
  2. Air-draw or physics-driven systems

Compressor-Driven System

The most common in compressor-driven systems is the Iron Curtain. It’s made by a good company, Hellenbrand, from right here in Wisconsin. We carried that system for quite a few years. Culligan will carry what is effectively the same system. It’s a compressor-driven system with a tank that puts the air and water into contact and then a tank with filtration media. There were times when this was the best type of iron filter.

The biggest drawbacks to these types of filters are, in no particular order:

  • Cost: These systems typically cost around 40-60% more than similarly effective systems
  • Maintenance: The maintenance schedule on these is also costly.
  • Compressor Life / Cost: These compressors are mildly better than they used to be, but they don’t last forever. In spite of a cost of around $250-300, the service life is still reasonably short.

Air-Draw Systems

This is what the mousetrap has evolved into. If you want a chemical-free solution that just works and works, simpler is going to be better.

As chip technology has gotten cheaper and more reliable, we don’t need the brute force of a compressor turning on and off. Using a simple mid-18th century technology, these systems use some form of a Venturi (Giovani, not Ken) to simply suck air into the oxidation chamber.

The net-net is a physical valve sucking air in instead of a compressor trying to force air in. Coupled with some simple, but robust, firmware in the control head, the filter just runs on its own. No work. No hassle.

Our Iron Dagger™ is an exceptional machine that does exactly what you need without the overhead, headache, hassles, or health concerns of any of the alternatives.

Contact us today to know more about the Iron Dagger™

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