One of the more common questions we get is regarding odor in the water.  Generally speaking a water softener will NOT create odors in the water; it will also NOT remove odors.  So, what is the cause and how can I get rid of them you ask?

An odor problem should first be broken down into the water type that has the odor in it.  Is it the cold water?  Is it only in the hot water? Is it in both the cold and hot?  Is the odor only coming from one sink or fixture?

Cold Water or both hot and cold water – this means the source of the water (the well in most cases) is the problem.  Most likely it is a bacteria that is the problem.  The best way to deal with this is to shock chlorinate the well.  Contact our office for details on an easy-to-use and inexpensive kit to sanitize the well.  If your softener is equipped with a prefilter-try changing that and see if the odor goes away before shocking the well.

Hot water only– this means the source of the problem is the water heater.  Occasionally the soft water provided by the water softener reacts with the anode rod located in all tank-type water heaters.  The standard rod is made from magnesium and can react with the soft water to create a “rotten egg” odor.  The solution is to contact a plumber to change the anode rod to an aluminum or “tri-metal” type that won’t react with softened water.

One sink or fixture– since the water in your home is all the “same” (meaning it comes from one place and is all the same quality), the problem is most likely related to the specific fixture.  It is common to have a strange odor while running the water in a single bathroom sink.  This is caused by sour smelling soap residue that has built-up in the overflow passageway of the sink and is released while running water.  Many common cleaners are available to use to flush the sink overflow and eliminate the soap residue and therefore the odor.  An odor in the shower is just a most likely place for your nose to detect one of the above-mentioned problems because a shower sprays the water and therefore vents-off the odor more easily than anywhere else in the home.

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