I have one bathroom where the hot shower water has a sulfur-like odor to it on most days and I'd like to have someone come and check it out but I'm not positive on who to call.

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    What do you think they are going to do? Import water from the Greenland ice cap so you can have a pure shower? Best case scenario is the guy comes and say, "Yep, smells like sulfur. Glad I don't live in your town." Worst case scenario is he says, "I don't smell anything." and then winks at you. – Tyler Durden Mar 26 '15 at 15:55
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    BTW it's probably not the water, it's the drain. You are smelling your own sewage. The tub probably does not have a trap. – Tyler Durden Mar 26 '15 at 15:58
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    @TylerDurden - If there's a problem in the pipes and/or water heater, I'd expect them to say "You have corroded pipes and/or water heater, to get rid of the smell, replace them". Since he said it's "one" bathroom, it's likely not a problem with his water supply, no need to import water from Greenland. – Johnny Mar 26 '15 at 17:20

If you are on a public water supply, there may be water test results already published on a quarterly basis.

If you are doing your own testing, generally an environmental testing company or consultant (rather than a plumber) - in many cases you can save money if you can follow directions carefully and take the samples yourself, for testing at their laboratory, rather than having a consultant come and take the samples for you.

If it's ONLY the one bathroom, it's more likely something in your pipes than in the general water supply.


As @tyler durden comments, this may be an issue with the drain, but it is very unlikely that there is no trap. A more likely scenario is that a partial blockage or obstruction of either the drain line or a vent line is causing a siphon action that is preventing the trap from maintaining a water seal. Another possibility is that one or more drains have been added (or the drain configuration has been changed), causing inadequate venting and/or siphoning.

  • There might be no trap. Without knowing how long he's been having the problem and where he lives, who knows what is and isn't there? But I do agree a blockage is more likely. – Mast Mar 26 '15 at 16:57
  • I think it may be a combination of what Jimmy Fix-it and Exnerwal said. The shower in question had severe draining issues last summer so I had a plumber replace the pipes that led from the shower drain to the main stack that led the water out of the house; but he didn't replace the trap (which would have caused a lot more work and $$). I've been noticing the stench for the last month or so and over the last week or so I"m noticing the water is draining a lot slower than it used to. So this may answer my question, if we go on this assumption should I be calling a plumber? – mjt117 Mar 26 '15 at 19:43
  • Yes - a plumber is the first person to call in this situation. – pilotcam Mar 26 '15 at 20:16

Sulfur smell is often caused by degradation of the sacrificial anodes in the hot water heating system.

  • The OP said it was only occurring in one bathroom shower. If the water heater anode rods were the root cause, would not all the hot water exhibit the same foul smell? Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas is often present in sewer systems, smells like rotten eggs...or sulfur. – Jimmy Fix-it Mar 27 '15 at 18:46

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