How Is Water Supposed To Smell? | Aquarius Home Services

How Should Your Water Smell?

woman displeased drinking water due to bad water smell

With water being an essential part of everyday life, it’s no surprise that most people are extra cautious that their own water is as safe and pure as possible. Given that there are many different sources of water and uses for it, there are a lot of factors to consider when evaluating your water.

One factor that seems to draw a lot of confusion and misinformation is how your water is supposed to smell: should water smell like anything? Should it smell like nothing? What if it smells bad? All of these questions and more will be answered in this guide on the various scents of water.

How is Water Supposed to Smell?

This question has no simple answer, as different people rely on different sources of water. About one-fifth of all Minnesotans rely on private wells to source their water, while the rest use community water supplies.

If you’re getting your water from the tap (or from a private well), then it should have a faint but fresh icy scent; conversely, people who use forms of water filtration will likely have scentless water.

Ultimately, many factors go into how your water smells, so there’s no universal “right” scent for your water, so to speak.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you have water treatment services at your home, your chances of having issues with your water decrease drastically (plus if you do have any issues, there’ll be experts on standby to tend to them).

In summary, how water is “supposed” to smell is in large part up to your own decision. Different types of water have different properties that can give them very large or very minuscule differences in scent and flavor, and whether or not you’re satisfied with yours falls up to you to decide.

So long as your water isn’t giving off an abrasive odor, the scent of your water is fine and can be easily altered with water conditioning and filtration. On that note, it’s important to understand what scents you don’t want your water to have, and what you can do if something smells funky.


Common Examples of Bad Smelling Water (and Their Causes)

If your water smells off or even outright disgusting, there are a number of causes that could be to blame. But luckily, with good water treatment, these scents are almost always very fixable and not of great threat to you.

Most of these scents have options for home remedies, but you should always contact your water treatment service if you’re uncomfortable trying for yourself or feel that something is seriously wrong. Now, here are the five big nasty water smells, their causes, and how you can treat them:

  • Sewage – The most common unpleasant scent people report for their water is that of sewage, but thankfully this scent is usually coming from your water supply instead of the water itself. Possible causes for this odor include your water heater being at too low a temperature, food particles and bacteria building up in your sink, or very rarely hydrogen sulfide exposure. If cleaning your sink and adjusting your water heater doesn’t seem to help, you should reach out to your water treatment service ASAP.
  • Musty – Another common scent in water, mustiness, usually comes from your pipes eroding, bringing with them a subdued metallic must. While this is usually harmless and only an issue with the scent, you can relieve the issue by either replacing your pipes or investing in water filtration.
  • Metallic – Very similar to the musty scent, metallic-smelling water gives off a stronger scent and also frequently arises from eroding water pipes. Fittingly, pipe replacement and water filtration are easy fixes if the cause of the scent is erosion. Other causes include lead leakage or low pH levels in the water, both of which require reaching out to your water treatment service for further assistance.
  • Fishy – The scent that usually scares people the most, fishiness, is actually the least harmful of all. Fishy-smelling water emerges when natural elements such as cadmium and barium infiltrate the water supply, usually through runoff from fertilizer or natural deposits. Fishy-smelling water can also be caused by the overuse of chloramine, a disinfectant used in tap water. In any case, the fishy scent can easily be filtered out with appropriate attention given to the issue.
  • Rotten Eggs – While a fishy smell may be the most frightening, the smell of rotten eggs is definitely the most awful odor your water could emit. Unlike the other big odors, this sulfuric scent actually almost always indicates that something is off with the taste of the water as well. These scents are most frequently the result of sulfur leaks in the water supply, which is especially common in private wells. With a fair chance of these leaks getting you sick, it’s strongly advised that you report your rotten egg-scented water to your water treatment service immediately to get the issue inspected and taken care of.

High-Quality Water Treatment Service

As you probably noticed, the key factor tying all of these scents together is the presence of a reliable water treatment service to help you out.

Many people overlook the importance of choosing the right water conditioning specialists, but the choice you make could very easily become crucially important if something goes wrong with your water.

This is why everyone in the Twin Cities area should consider choosing the caring team here at Aquarius Home Services. We give your water supply the same level of care and attention that we would give our own homes because that’s the treatment everyone deserves.

Whether you’d like to request a quote, schedule our services, or even conduct a free water test, contact us today!

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