Before you can get rid of rotten egg smell in your home, you need to sniff out the source. In most cases, it's not an actual rotten egg causing the unpleasant odor in your home. The stinky situation can often signal a mechanical problem in your home that needs to be fixed, from sink drain odors to potentially dangerous gas leaks.
You won't be able to cover up the smell with deodorizers or air fresheners. Instead, you need to solve the root problem to clear out the odor.
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Natural Gas Leaks
If your home has natural gas or propane supplied to it, always treat a rotten egg smell with extreme caution. Natural gas and propane are naturally odorless. Gas companies are required to add chemicals that give the gas a sulfur smell so you can tell when there's a gas leak. You might notice the rotten egg smell near gas appliances, such as a gas range or a gas water heater, but you could smell it throughout your home as the gas disperses into the air.
Even a small gas leak can have serious, harmful effects in your home, including gas poisoning and fire hazards. If you notice a rotten egg smell, rule out a gas leak by calling the gas company or your local fire department. While you wait, stay out of the house. If the rotten egg smell is due to a gas leak, the repairs need to be made by a professional. You should never attempt to work on your own gas lines.
Escaped Sewer Gas
Once you know it's not a gas leak, the next thing for which to check is a sewer issue. Sewer gas often has a rotten egg smell and can get into your home a few different ways. A damaged drain or vent pipe can allow sewer gas to enter your home. The sewer pipe buried in the ground can also break and lead to a strong rotten egg smell outdoors as well.
Showers and sinks that don't get used very often can be the culprit. The P-traps in the plumbing are designed to hold a little water in them to keep sewer gas from getting into your home. When they aren't used, the water dries up, and you'll likely smell the rotten egg odor near that drain. All you need to do is run the faucet for 10 to 20 seconds or pour a few cups of water down the drain to refill the trap. Basement drains can also dry out, so you can pour water down the drain when it starts smelling like rotten eggs.
Water Heater Problems
When you're checking your plumbing, notice if you mainly smell the rotten egg odor when the hot water is running. If so, the anode rod in your water heater might need to be replaced. When it goes bad, the anode rod can cause your hot water to have a sulfur smell due to the reaction between chemicals in the water and the anode rod. If you suspect the anode rod is bad, call a licensed plumber to replace it.
Electrical Outlet Issues
Outlets can sometimes overheat, causing a dangerous situation that is a potential fire hazard. Plastic components inside the outlet can melt, creating an unpleasant odor. While many people describe it as a fishy smell, it could smell similar to a rotten egg odor to you.
Follow the odor to determine if it's coming from an outlet. You might notice burn marks on the outlet, but there could be a problem inside even if you don't see any signs of burning or overheating. Shut off the circuit breaker that powers that outlet and have a licensed electrician inspect it immediately.