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My Well Water Smells Like Metal: 5 Reasons (+ Fixes)

Well Water Smells Like Metal

Wondering why your well water smells like metal? There might be:

  • Some metallic minerals like iron, manganese, sulfur, or zinc
  • Iron/Sulfur bacteria contamination
  • Water hardness
  • Acidic pH

Here’s how to fix it:

  • Conduct a thorough water test
  • Install a whole-house water filtration system as per the specific contaminant present.

Continue reading to find the top five causes of metallic taste issues in well water and their fixes.

🤔Why Does My Well Water Taste Metallic All Of A Sudden?

If you have smelly water issues, you can watch for the following causes:

Iron/Manganese In Well WaterInstall air injection oxidation + Manganese Greensand filters.
Sulfur (H2S) In Well WaterInstall air injection oxidation filters.
Iron and sulfur bacteria in well waterPerform shock chlorination to disinfect the water or 3% hydrogen peroxide treatment for sulfur bacteria.
Acidic Well Water (can cause copper, lead, or zinc pipe leaching)Install acid-neutralizing filters.
Well Water HardnessInstall water softeners.

🟠Iron/Manganese In Well Water

Iron or Manganese in well water

How It Causes Metallic Water Taste

The presence of iron and manganese (more than 0.3 milligrams per liter) can impact your water quality.

Some of the iron-related problems include an unpleasant metallic taste, rusty or corroded plumbing, discolored water, and stained clothing, appliances, bathroom sinks, and fixtures.

How To Fix

  • Perform a water test to confirm the presence and quantity of iron and manganese in the well water.
  • Install an iron filter with manganese greensand and air-injection oxidation to remove excess iron and all its aesthetic problems.

🤢Sulfur (H2S) In Well Water

Sulphur (H2S) in well water

How It Causes Metallic Water Taste

If your water smells like rotten eggs, these are possible signs of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide forms sulfur with heavy rain that seeps into the ground and mixes with the groundwater bodies.

Sulfur-containing water can:

  • Fade your silver and brass utensils.
  • Form black water by reacting with iron and steel. 
  • May also leave dark blue water stains on copper pipes. 
  • Sulfur might corrode the plumbing fixtures, washing machines, and other water appliances, leaving black or brown water stains on laundry and utensils.

How To Fix

  • An air injection oxidizing filter may fix issues with sulfur along with iron and manganese.
  • If the hydrogen sulfide gas is produced from your water heater containing a magnesium anode, consider replacing it with aluminum.
  • Disinfect the water heater tank and other places where sulfur bacteria growth is observed.

🦠Iron And Sulfur Bacteria In Well Water

Iron and sulfur bacteria in well water

How It Causes Metallic Water Taste

A common contaminant like iron bacteria may grow in water containing iron and produce biofilm in pipes, whereas sulfur bacteria may consume organic matter to multiply while producing sulfur.

Through chemical reactions with organic compounds, these bacteria can form byproducts that give a slime coating to well components and affect the water’s taste and odor.

How To Fix

  • Perform shock chlorination to remove the iron bacteria.
  • Install an air oxidation filter to trap the sulfur, and treat the water and plumbing system with 3% hydrogen peroxide to kill the sulfur-producing bacteria.

🧪Acidic Well Water

Acidic well water

How It Causes Metallic Water Taste

Acidic water means your well water has a low pH because of acid rain percolating through the soil and mixing with the groundwater. Fertilizer discharge into rivers can also make groundwater acidic.

It can corrode and leave stains on your copper, lead, or zinc pipes. Also, consuming acidic water may damage or weaken your teeth and bones.

How To Fix

👎🏻Well Water Hardness

Well water hardness

How It Causes Metallic Water Taste

Hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium, when present more than 7 GPG, are responsible for a metallic taste and clog the plumbing system with limescale formation.

How To Fix

  • You can install a water softener to solve all hard water problems like soaps not lathering, dry skin and hair, etc.

🩺Is It Safe To Drink Water That Smells Like Metal?

Is it safe to drink water that smells like metal

Whether or not the metal-smelling water is safe to drink depends on the type and level of harmful contaminants.

  • Iron leaves stains in fixtures but doesn’t cause significant health issues below 0.3 mg/L but can give a metallic taste with a concentration as low as 0.1 mg/L. 
  • High levels of manganese can impact the motor skills and overall learning abilities in infants and children if consumed for a prolonged period.
  • If your water supply contains sulfate or hydrogen sulfide levels beyond 250 mg/L, it’s harmful and can leave an unpleasant smell (rotten egg odor) and bad taste. 
  • Iron and sulfur bacteria in your well water can form slimy layers, giving perfect conditions for disease-causing contaminants to grow.
  • Acidic well water can leave blue stains,damage your house’s plumbing system, and harm your teeth and bones.
  • Hard water gives a bitter taste to the water, produces scale build-up in pipes and fixtures, and causes dry, itchy skin and scalp.

👷🏻How Do You Get Rid Of The Metallic Water Smell And Taste?

How do you get rid of the Metallic water smell and taste

Here’s a summary of how to deal with the metallic smell and taste of the water:

  • Iron/Manganese In Well Water: If you have iron or manganese in well water, consider installing an air injection oxidation + manganese greensand iron filters.
  • Sulfur (H2S) In Well Water: For the sulfur smell in well water, check the source of bacterial growth and disinfect the entire system.

    Besides, you can install an air injection oxidizing filter to remove the sulfur from well water.
  • Iron And Sulfur Bacteria In Well Water: For iron and sulfur bacteria contamination, perform shock chlorination.

    Besides, you can treat your water and plumbing systems with 3% hydrogen peroxide to check the growth of sulfur bacteria.
  • Acidic Well Water (can lead to copper/lead/zinc pipe leaching): Acidic well water can be fixed by installing an acid-neutralizing filter that will raise the pH of your water.
  • Well Water Hardness: You may install water softeners to remove excess minerals if your well has more than 10 GPG water hardness.

💡Well Water Smells Like Metal: FAQs

Why does my shower water smell like metal?

Your shower water smells like metal, probably due to rust stains or contamination of iron bacteria.

Taking a bath or drinking metal-smelling water is not a safe option. Clean the showerhead and contact the water system professional.

What does manganese in water smell like?

Manganese in water may give a foul odor like raw sewage or oil.

Why does the water smell like metal with a water softener?

If your water smells like metal with a water softener, it’s a sign that the water is acidic.

Perform a water test to check the pH along with the water hardness level for such issues and install an acid-neutralizing filter.

Why does water smell like blood?

If your water smells like blood, there is a possibility that your plumbing system is in contact with animal residues.

You can hire a water professional to inspect and fix the issue if leakage is anywhere.You can hire a water professional to inspect and fix the issue if leakage is found anywhere.

Why does my water taste metallic after COVID?

Post-COVID infection, if you taste water as metallic, it might be due to dysgeusia.

According to some theories, it occurs primarily due to an inflammatory reaction as the virus binds to the receptors in our mouth.

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