Why Put Up With a Taste and Odor Water Problem?

If your water has a bad taste or odor to it you’re in luck, in many cases that’s one of the easiest problems to solve. Many taste and odor problems can be cured with just a simple water filter.

Before you buy a filter, let’s determine what’s causing the bad tastes or smells.

The most common taste and odor problems are caused by:Woman Drinking Water


Almost all water companies will add chlorine to disinfect and protect their water. Sometimes the chlorine smell is so obvious that it smells like swimming pool water, other times it's just a bad taste that's hard to describe. If chlorine is your only water problem a simple carbon filter can make a huge improvement in the taste of your water.

Sulfur or Rotten Egg Smell

Sometimes this is limited to the hot water and can be solved by draining and cleaning the water heater. If all of your water has the sulfur smell then it may get a little more complicated. Installing a carbon filter on the main line might clear it up, and it's the first thing I would try. If the smell returns within days or weeks you may need the help of a local water expert. A chlorination or ozonation system installed at your well or water main will oxdize the hydrogen sulfide that is causing the problem. The carbon filter that you installed can still be used after the oxidation system.

Metallic Taste

It's not uncommon to have low levels of dissolved metals in your water supply. You might find iron, copper, zinc, or manganese at high enough levels to give your water a bad tatse. Some water filters claim to reduce these metals but I wouldn't rely on a filter. Dissolved metals, and other minerals, are best removed by either reverse osmosis (RO) or distillation. If the metals are causing other problems around the home, a whole-house system may be needed.

Moldy, Musty, or Fishy Smells

If taking out the garbage and storing your husband's shoes outside doesn't help, then you might have organic matter in your water. This can be caused by something as simple as decaying leaves in your well. A carbon filter or RO might help eliminate the tastes but I would still be concerned about a possible bacteria problem. I would recommend the same type of system mentioned under Sulfur or Rotten Egg Smell.

Chemical, Solvent, or Petroleum Smell

Don't handle this alone, contact a professional. If you water is supplied by a water company, call them immediately. If it's your own well, contact a local water expert.

Many of the problems mentioned above will automatically be corrected if you are treating other water problems with a whole-house oxidation system. A water softener wouldn't be any help at all with these taste and odor problems.

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