What Makes Water Smell?

Water smells

In a pure state, water has no smell and no taste. However, house water does generally have a small amount of taste due to the presence of natural minerals and other additives. In some cases, these added minerals or additives can cause water to have an odor. Though a small amount of odor in tap water is not to be unexpected, a person should not simply accept that fact that the water in their house smells. Here are a few of the common culprits and remedies to correct the problem.


The most common complaint with municipal water is that the water smells like bleach. This is due to the chlorine added to the water as a disinfectant. In addition to smelling bad, chlorine in the water can cause dry skin and dry hair and may even cause health problems. Water filters can be used in the home to remove chlorine and other substances in the water that may be causing problems. These filters vary from small units that clean water on one faucet to home house systems.

Supply Lines

Water can also smell due to problems in the home’s water supply lines. Over the years, problems may develop in the lines which allow bacteria, mold or algae to begin growing inside the lines. These bacteria can cause the water to smell funny and may even cause health problems. Having the water and the water lines inspected by a Sacramento plumbing professional is the best way to address this problem. In some cases, the water lines may require flushing with chlorine or even replacement.

A plastic odor may also be noted in a home with new water lines. This smell will generally lessen and disappear over time.


In some cases, people smell an odor when they turn on the faucets in their home and assume the odor is from the water. However, the odor may be from gases in the drain that are pushed up into the room when water enters the drain. These gases are caused by the growth of bacteria in the drain. Bacteria often thrive in warm areas such as Sacramento where the high outside temperatures keeps the drain pipes warm which encourages bacterial growth. The solution to this problem is to occasionally add bleach to the drain to kill any bacteria growing in the drain. If bleach does not remove the smell, a plumber can use a drain snake or other device to more thoroughly clean the drain.

If water smell persist or you have other plumbing concerns, contact us. We are available 24/7 to adress all of your water and plumbing needs.