Why Does My Water Smell Musty?

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It is not unheard of that people sometimes find their tap water has a musty, dirty, or even rotten egg smell. Often environmental conditions play a key role in producing the foul odor, but mechanical issues may also be to blame. While generally safe to use and drink, musty-smelling water can in rare circumstances be attributed to pollution, making the musty smell an indicator of a greater problem. Identifying the exact cause of the unpleasant aroma can help you achieve peace of mind and set you on a path to alleviate the issue.

Quick Facts

  • The most common cause for musty-smelling water is environmental factors like decaying organic matter.
  • Pipe erosion may introduce small amounts of copper, iron, or lead into your water supply.
  • With the exception of hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria, causes of the musty smell are typically harmless.

What Causes the Smell?

For users of city water supplies or wells, a musty smell often results from sediment leaching into the plumbing system. Over time, decaying organic matter can find its way into water supplies and produce earthy aromas.

Similarly, erosion in pipes may cause trace amounts of copper, iron, or even lead to appear in water, adversely affecting its smell and taste. A potentially more serious cause is the presence of hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria in the water supply. While generally resulting in nothing more than an offensive odor in water, heightened levels of either may indicate harmful sewage or pollution present, thereby requiring immediate attention.

What Should You Do?

Water that has a musty smell is generally safe to use. However, to be cautious, the easiest way to rectify the problem is to employ a water dispenser with filtration capabilities. Water dispensers with advanced filtration technologies like reverse osmosis and activated carbon filtration can reduce harmful levels of metallic particles,  sedimentary content, and sulfur bacteria, bringing tap water back to its desired quality, smell, and taste.

Improving Your Drinking Water

While distasteful odors emanating from your water are not always cause for alarm, it is important to identify their source. If you are concerned about contaminants that may pose a threat, you can get your water tested by your county’s health department or a state-certified laboratory.

Our mission at Quench is to deliver fresh, clean drinking water to all workplaces via our 5-filter setup water coolers that eliminate harmful levels of bacteria found in tap water and add back healthy minerals and electrolytes. Try our product finder to get matched with the best water filtration system for your business or request your quote for a water cooler today.