Well Water Testing for Taste & Odor Issues

Water Testing in Annapolis, Columbia & the Surrounding Areas

You want your water to taste pure and fresh, but sometimes that isn’t the case. If you notice that your water has an unpleasant taste or a strange odor, it is an indicator that something could be wrong. Water Doctor provides water inspections and testing in Maryland to help determine what the problem is and recommend the best way to fix it so you can start enjoying quality drinking water in no time.

To schedule well water testing for taste and odor issues in Annapolis, Columbia, Rockville, or the surrounding areas in Maryland, contact us at 301-953-2846 today!

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Well Water Testing Services

Odors in well water are common. The first step is getting your water professionally tested. Typical descriptions are “musty, sulfur (rotten egg), and metallic.” Identifying the cause of an odor in well water can sometimes be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you solve the mystery; and lead to a resolution.

  1. Make a note of when and where you smell the odor: Is it at one tap only? If so, what tap?
  2. Is the odor in the cold water and hot water; or in the hot only?
  3. Do you notice the odor only in the morning or when you return from vacation? If you have a treatment system, try bypassing it to see if the odor is gone. Once you have done this, call our office to discuss your situation, and we can assist you.

Common Odor Issues We Encounter

  • Sulfur Odor: The most common odor in well water comes from hydrogen sulfide gas which smells like “rotten eggs.” In certain wells, the odor is so slight in the cold water that the resident only notices it in the hot. To be sure, run cold water into a large pot. Do this when the water has sat overnight or more than eight hours. Smell the cold water as it fills the pot; without letting the water flow into the drain. Try this at different sinks and note your findings. If this odor can be detected in cold water specifically, then chlorine injection or an aeration system is used. When possible, we prefer natural aeration to treat the odor.

  • Sulfur Odor in Hot Water Only: You may need to change your anode rod to an aluminum rod. At this time, you may also add bleach to the hot water heater and let sit for four to five hours unused.

  • Odors in the Laundry Room: If you notice an odor while washing clothes — try this: Run your washing machine through the rinse cycle while the unit is empty once or twice a month. This helps eliminate stagnant water in the drainpipe from the washer. (Odor in bath towels — see below.) If you have a front-load washing machine, it may hold water inside the rubber seal, which gets stagnant. Check the seal after each load and towel dry if needed.
  • Odor at a Double Sink: Customers with double sinks frequently report odor at this location. Get a spray bottle and fill it with half bleach and half water. Spray water down the overflow hole and into the drain itself. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes without use. Repeat as needed.
  • Musty odor: Musty odor comes from organic matter present in groundwater. Bath towels seem to harbor this odor the most. We recommend 1 to 2 tablespoons of bleach in the washing machine; fill halfway with water before adding clothes to avoid spotting. If needed, a chlorine injection system may be installed to treat the musty odor of the whole house.
  • Fuel oil/gasoline: If you live near a gas station or have an oil tank (buried or above ground) on or near your property, you may consider a wide-range laboratory test package; call for details and pricing.

Common Taste Issues With Water

  • Salty: When your water tastes salty, it has too much sodium in it. While this is not cause for immediate concern, consuming large amounts of sodium over an extended period of time can be detrimental to your health.
  • Metallic taste: A metallic taste indicates that the water has high levels of iron, manganese, copper, lead, or zinc.

It’s also important to test for nitrates and arsenic as well as gauge the pH levels of your water. While your local water treatment facility works hard to provide clean drinking water, it’s possible for water to become contaminated once it leaves the treatment center. Because of this, it’s recommended that you test your water annually.

How To Fix Smelly Water

Once you have determined the cause of any taste or odor issues with the help of a professional, then you can begin to solve the problem. Water Doctor offers a variety of services and products for improving your water. Proudly serving Maryland, we offer:

  • Reverse osmosis: This is a filtration process that provides you with clean water. It is recommended for those with well water, but it can be beneficial to others as well. With reverse osmosis, the majority of contaminants are filtered out.
  • Ultraviolet light sterilizers: This filtration technique uses ultraviolet light to kill any microorganisms and bacteria in your water. Because there are no chemicals used in the process, it is a safe option.
  • Acid water treatments: Acid rain can corrode metal pipes and lead to excess metal in your water. Water Doctor has acid water treatments to help neutralize the water.
  • Chlorine: Adding safe levels of chlorine to your well water can help with bacterial overgrowth issues.

Other treatments for bad odors and tastes in your water include oxidizing filtration, ion exchange, activated carbon filters, and more.

Call Water Doctor Today for Water Testing in Maryland

Having clean water that you drink every day is important because not only does it taste better, but it also helps prevent health issues. Call Water Doctor to assist with testing and improving your home’s water supply.

To learn more about our water testing in Annapolis, Columbia, Rockville, or the surrounding areas in Maryland, contact us at 301-953-2846 today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Water Odors

Is water supposed to have a taste?

Yes. Water gets its taste from the minerals that are dissolved in it. These are typically naturally occurring minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and more. Research indicates that the minerals most impactful to taste are bicarbonate, sulfate, calcium, and magnesium.

Do different types/sources of water have different tastes?

Because different types of water or water sources have different minerals, they will often taste different. For example, municipal tap water is shown to have calcium, magnesium, and sodium. On the other hand, well water may contain different minerals drawn from the groundwater or aquifers. 

Why does my water smell earthy?

An earthy smell to your water is often the result of algae growth in rivers and open reservoirs during summer. These can have harmful effects and should be handled with water treatment.

What tastes/odors in my water are normal?

If your water tastes slightly chlorinous, this is normal and results from adding chlorine to disinfect or the interaction of that chlorine with the build-up of organic material in your plumbing. However, if your water has a distinct chlorine odor, it should be tested as soon as possible to determine chlorine levels.  

Will the temperature of my water affect whether there is an odor?

The temperature of the water may not impact the odor of the water, but it may indicate a separate issue. If you don’t smell an odor in your glass of water but do smell it when the cold water is running, the smell is likely coming from the drain, not the water. The same is true for hot water. Odor from hot water is often linked to issues with bacteria or the anode in your water heater. 


Additional Resources

Want to learn more about well water testing for taste & odor issues? Check out these articles to educate yourself further:

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Anne Arundel | Howard | Baltimore | Frederick | Montgomery | Carroll | Charles | Calvert | Queen Anne's | Harford