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Podcast Q&A 6: Is there a water softener that will remove rotten egg smell as well as soften the water?

Hello again, welcome to the Clean Water Made Easy Podcast Question and Answer Episode 6.

Hello, my name is Gerry Bulfin and I’m a WQA-Certified Master Water Specialist and Water Treatment Contractor here in Santa Cruz California. 

I have a weekly podcast where once a week I go deeper into various types of water problems, well water treatment systems and water quality. 

I also produce these quick Q&A episodes, question & answers, to go over quick questions folks ask us.  Hopefully, it’s helpful to other folks to hear about, we get a lot of phone calls, e-mails and chats every day so try to pick one that’s interesting and appeals to more people.

Can I Remove Rotten Egg Smell with a Water Softener?

Today Bernie emailed us and asked us:

“Is there a water softener that will remove rotten egg smell as well as soften the water? Our well water is hard but we also have a problem with odor and a local outfit recommended a combination water softener and carbon filter that they say will solve the problem?”

Thanks for emailing us Bernie.

Okay, well generally we wouldn’t recommend that.  There are water softeners  that have some activated carbon in them but while the softener resin lasts for many years, the carbon wears out in a year or two.

If you’re on city water and you’re looking for chlorine removal maybe you could get a year or two before it stopped removing the chlorine, then you would need to take it apart and dump it out.

 There are some techniques for doing it but anyway, that city water or well water, you might not even get a week out of it or couple of weeks, generally, that’s been our experience. We generally do not recommend a carbon filter by itself , even if you had a whole tank of carbon we wouldn’t recommend just the carbon filter to remove the rotten egg smell.

For one thing, carbon can breed bacteria and your well water may not be unsafe as far as a health threat. In other words, the well may not have coliform in it or bacteria in it, but there’s always a background of some bacteria and you can get this bacteria breeding in the carbon and create slime and odors itself. 

It is better just to use a softener to soften the water and then have a separate system to remove the rotten egg odor, such as an Air Charger Sulfur Filter, or an Aeration Tank.

There are standalone aeration carbon tanks that aerate the water and then they backwash and that can work well. Although you’d still want to sanitize it several times a year with some chlorine or peroxide. But the best way to go is to to use a chlorinator, and inject chlorine bleach and then after that use a carbon filter to remove chlorine.  That way you’ve got at that point disinfected clean water and then after the carbon filter, you run it through the water softener and into the house.

 There are also other ways to do it such as ozone, and other types of aeration systems as well but to answer your basic question Bernie, you just don’t want one of those combination softeners + carbon filters. I wouldn’t want one even on city water but they will work on  chlorinated city water so you get soft chlorine free water but like I said, not for very long 

 If you can do it, you’re better off having a softener tank and then a separate tank of carbon. If you have a whole tank of carbon you could get years out of it and then when you dump it out you’re just changing the carbon.

You don’t have to mess with the resin and the water softener which is separate, so again you’re better off using an aeration system with catalytic carbon or, chlorination system and then carbon.  

Give us a call we can talk to you about it and you can also chat with us through our chat on our website, you guys if you want to e-mail me, you can e-mail me directly: [email protected].  

Okay, I hope that was helpful to you and if you have any questions, just keep us in mind, give us a holler. Thanks.

Gerry Bulfin

[email protected]

How to Remove Odors From Well Water

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