What to Do About Rotten Egg Smell in House - 5 Possible Reasons

December 31, 1989 | Blog

It is normal to occasionally have off-putting odors in homes, and many of these smells can be eliminated using chemical-free odor-removal products for unpleasant pet or household odors. However, a rotten egg smell in your house often indicates trouble somewhere and requires urgent attention in most cases.

If you smell rotten eggs in your home, it usually means sulfur or sulfide-containing compound is causing the nose-pinching smell.

Learn the 5 common reasons your house smells like rotten eggs and tips on how to fix the issue.

1. Gas Leaks

Do you have a propane or gas appliance in your home? Then it is best to err on the side of caution and assume the rotten egg smell in your house is a gas leak.

Natural gas is colorless and odorless, but thanks to the addition of a chemical known as mercaptan, which gives it a sulfuric odor, we can smell it when there’s a natural gas leak.

How to Fix

A gas leak is a serious problem and can be very disastrous. When you notice a sulfur smell in your home, leave the house and call in a gas professional or the local authorities.

Fixing a gas leak is not a DIY task, so let a gas leak repair expert handle it. It is important to first rule out a gas leak before considering the other tips on this list.

2. Problem with Drain Pipes or Sewer Lines

P-trap under a kitchen sinkUnpleasant smells in the home aren’t particularly strange if they come from the bathroom. But sulfur or methane odor from your bathroom, kitchen sink, or laundry room might indicate a problem with your drain pipes or sewer lines.

Drain pipes in tubs or sinks feature a U-shaped pipe called the “p-trap.” The p-trap usually holds little water to keep sewer gas out. If you’ve not used your sink or tub for a long while, the p-trap dries up, allowing the methane-smelling sewer gas to flow into the U-shaped pipe and your home.

Besides a dry p-trap, clogged drain vents and broken drain pipes can also allow sewer gas to enter your home and cause various unwanted plumbing odors.

How to Fix

Before you call in a professional plumber, try this simple fix. Run water in the affected tub or sink for about 5 to 10 minutes. The idea is to get enough water into the p-trap to prevent the horrible sewer gas smell from entering your home.

However, if this method fails, call in a plumber.

3. Hydrogen Sulfide Buildup in Well Water

If you primarily have well water running in your home, it is not uncommon to notice odd smells once in a while.

Over time, well water will have a buildup of hydrogen sulfide due to decomposed vegetation in the ground. Although this doesn’t necessarily have any adverse health effects, the strong odor makes the water less than desirable.

How to Fix

Start by shutting off the water supply in your home for several hours. The idea is to give the hydrogen sulfide enough time to build up inside your pipes, so let the water stay shut off for about six hours.

When the wait time is over, fill your sink with cold water and take a whiff. If a strong smell of rotten eggs greets you, you’re dealing with a hydrogen sulfide gas problem.

Consider installing a reverse osmosis unit and adding a carbon filter, especially on drinking water faucets. You might need a professional plumber to help you with this.

4. Rotten Eggs

rotten eggs with mildew growth in refrigeratorDo you have eggs in the fridge? If your home smells like rotten eggs, it makes sense to check if some of them have gone bad.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, eggs can last up to five weeks when stored properly in the refrigerator. That said, eggs won’t last very long if you store them in the fridge’s door or after hard cooking.

Also, other spoiled food items in the fridge can cause a variety of odd smells throughout your home.

How to Fix

This one is an easy fix. All you need to do is to properly dispose of the spoiled food items, ensuring to take out the trash as quickly as possible (as it will continue to produce offensive odors if you leave it in the kitchen).

Remember to clean your fridge and all affected surfaces with a chemical-free odor eliminator like the OdorKlenz Absorbent Granules, designed to remove food spills and liquid messes.

5. Dry Wall Issues

Wait what? Aren’t dry walls completely solid? How can they give off offensive rotten egg smells?

First of all, there are a few different drywall types, with some designed with more moisture resistance properties than others.

Most people dry walls are usually the least places most people expect rotten egg smells to come from in their homes. However, that’s not entirely the case, as some drywall products contain high levels of sulfur.

Your drywall is likely off-gassing sulfuric smell if you’ve ruled out all the other possible reasons for the rotten egg smell in your house.

How to Fix

The surest way to tell if you’re dealing with gassy drywall is to look out for black ash on the copper coils of your air conditioning unit or refrigerator. Constant sulfur emissions from drywalls usually form a buildup of black ash on the copper coils of these appliances.

Unfortunately, the only fix here is to replace the affected drywall, which can cost a small fortune depending on the number of panels to be replaced.

Bottom Line

Usually, a rotten egg smell in your house signals trouble somewhere and shouldn’t be ignored. Remember that masking the foul odor using fragrances is only a band-aid solution for a major problem.

If your house suddenly smells musty, learn how to tackle the problem here. But if you smell rotten eggs in your home, your best bet is to quickly diagnose the problem and find a lasting solution using the remedies in this article.