Why Your Drinking Water Is Funky or Foul (and How to Fix It)

Most of the time, there’s no succinct way to describe drinking water. Compared to every other beverage out there, water’s—well—plain. It typically doesn’t smell or taste like much of anything. But sometimes, there’s something a little off about your H2O. If it smells or tastes funky, certain bacteria, minerals, gasses, contaminants, or a plumbing issue may be to blame.

For instance, if your water smells like rotten eggs, sulfur bacteria and hydrogen peroxide may be present in the water supply. Or if your water tastes like metal, certain trace metals (such as iron, manganese, zinc, and copper) may be present in your water. Sometimes, all you need to do is clean the pipes in your sink or use a new filtration system.

Other causes of foul tasting or smelling water may require professional help. So, if your water tastes or smells abnormal, read on for potential culprits – plus what to do to fix the problem.

Picture this: You turn on your faucet and fill a glass with cool water, eagerly awaiting its crisp taste. Instead, it smells like rotten eggs (or worse). What gives?

There are a number of reasons your water might be tasting funky instead of fresh. Tens of thousands of chemicals are used in our water filtration systems in the U.S., and there are still parts of the country without clean drinking water.

Here are some common water worries and solutions:

–– Your water smells like sulfur. This could be because of sulfur bacteria or hydrogen sulfide and is common in deep wells and plumbing systems. It’s also common when using hot water. This can be solved by having your water tested and also checking for proper ventilation.

–– Your water tastes like metal. This could be due to iron, manganese or zinc in your water, or it could be because of older, rusty pipes. Seepage can also be a culprit if your water source is well water. You can fix this by having your water tested and reporting it to a plumber.

–– Your water smells like sewage. So this is unpleasant but could be coming from your drain, not your water. If you have food and soap sitting in your drain, it can seem as if your water smells sour when it actually doesn’t. You can fix this by disinfecting the sink and pipes.