Summary: Does your water smell “musty”? You may have mold or other contaminants in your pipes. Here’s how to tell if your pipes have been contaminated by rust and mold.

What’s that smell?

Have you noticed a strange and unpleasant smell emanating from your water supply? It’s not unheard of that people will sometimes find that their tap water has a musty or “off” smell to it. In fact, people will even report that their water smells like rotten eggs (and we all know what rotten eggs smell like!).

What causes these unpleasant odors? Instead of wrinkling or plugging up your nose every time you get a glass of tap water, you need to address the source of the smell. Often environmental conditions may play a role in producing foul and unsavory odors, though mechanical issues may also be to blame.

While musty smelling water is often safe to drink, few people want to drink a glass of water that reminds them of their grandfather’s attic or a pair of unwashed socks. Sometimes musty-smelling water can be attributed to pollution, which not only makes it unsafe to drink, but is indicative of a larger problem. You may be drinking mold or rust or other unsafe bacteria that could lead to sickness and health issues.

Common Causes

The most common cause of musty smelling water is environmental factors. You may have decaying organic matter or other sediments lodged in your pipes. If your pipes are eroded, there’s a good chance that there are small amounts of copper, lead, or iron that have infiltrated your water supply and are causing your water to smell.

Generally, smelly water is safe to drink, but toxic elements of hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria may also be the cause of the odor. Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur bacteria are not safe to drink, so if your water smells ‘off,’ you’ll want to get it tested immediately. If your water has become polluted, it’s important to take immediate action to keep yourself and members of your household from getting sick.

How to Get Rid of the Smell

Fortunately, there are solutions to deal with musty-smelling water.

The safest and easiest way to rectify the problem is to have your water tested to determine the exact source of the smell, and then proceed accordingly. You may need to invest in a quality water dispenser with filtration capabilities. Filtration will eliminate some metallic or organic particles that have found their way into your pipes and reduce sediment or bacteria. The solution to your smelly water may, however, require that you replace your pipes, or portions thereof, as eroded pipelines are often the root cause of foul-smelling water. The first step to dealing with foul-smelling water is to have your water tested so that you can determine the source (or sources!).

For more information about what’s causing your water to smell, please visit our website at We look forward to hearing from you and making sure your water is clean, clear, healthy and odor free!