Water smelling like rotten eggs is one of the most distasteful properties of water. There are few things more embarrassing than having guests comment on your water.
The most important step in removing smells from well water is making sure that the smell is actually coming from the well. One of the first steps that we take in our water testing process is to pull a sample from the pressure tank.
Hot-Water Only Smells
If that first sample from the pressure tank does not have an odor or the only odor is perhaps metallic (sometimes I think it smells like a tool shop), we’re likely not dealing with sulfur. The problem is like the anode rod. This is a self-sacrificing metal rod in the heater that is, nominally at least, there to protect the heater.
If you, or your guests, describe it as rotten egg, rotten fish, or anything prefixed by “rotten” and it is exclusive to hot water, this could potentially be your source of smell and a comprehensive water test will yield answers.
Well Water, Cold Water and Hot Water Smells
If that first sample yields that telltale rotten egg odor, we’re likely dealing with sulfur gas, hydrogen sulfide, etc.
Water softeners will allow this smell to pass right through.
How To Remove Rotten Egg Odor From Well Water
To remove the sulfur odor from water, we need to oxidize.
This really leaves two big options: Chemical v. Chemical-Free.
Chlorine or Chemical Oxidation of Odor
It’s pretty rare to find any modern treatment that would be chlorine-driven. Chlorinating a well, also called shocking a well, has extremely short-lived results.
An older and outdated option is chlorine injection. To continuously chlorinate the well is an option, it carries some overhead in terms of DNR considerations and otherwise.
It’s also an option to chlorinate the water inside of the home. This is pretty effective. It’s not cost-effective. It’s not low-maintenance. And it is definitely not healthy. Chlorine creates disinefection byproducts so we’re introducing a pretty massive quantity of both known and believed carcinogens.
So we end up needing to dechlorinate this water. This introduces another piece of equipment, a carbon dechlorinator. That carbon is there to break down to protect you and your family. This adds yet another layer of maintenance.
Chemical-Free Removal of Odor
This is, by far, the most common method to remove odor from well water. This really breaks down into two groups again:
- Compressor-driven systems
- Air-draw or physics-driven systems
The most common in the compressor-driven systems is the Iron Curtain. It’s made by a good company, Hellenbrand, from right here in Wisconsin. We carried that system for quite a few years. Culligan will carry what is effectively the same system. It’s a compressor-driven system with a tank that puts the air and water into contact and then a tank with filtration media. There were times when this was the best type of iron filter.
The biggest drawbacks to these types of filters are, in no particular order:
- Cost: These systems are typically 40-60% more than similarly effective systems
- Maintenance: The maintenance schedule on these also costly.
- Compressor Life / Cost: These compressors are mildly better than they used to be, but they don’t last forever. In spite of a cost around $250-300, the service life is still reasonably short.
This is what the mousetrap has evolved to. If you want a chemical-free solution that just works and works, simpler is going to be better.
As chip technology has gotten cheaper and more reliable, we don’t need the brute force of a compressor turning on and off. Using a simple mid-18th century technology, these systems use some form of a Venturi (Giovani, not Ken) to simply suck air into the oxidation chamber.
The net-net is a physical valve sucking air in instead of a compressor trying to force air in. Coupled with some simple, but robust, firmware in the control head, the filter just runs on its own. No work. No hassle.
Our Iron Dagger ™ is an exceptional machine that does exactly what you need without the overhead, headache, hassles or health concerns of any of the alternatives.