We had some water issues a few weeks back and it was quite the bummer of a situation. I even consulted with my Mentor and our neighbor who runs a water testing service, and everybody was at a loss for an answer. What makes it particularly troublesome is that human beings, and for that matter all of life, sort of needs water, at the very least to wash our hair.
The kids noticed the situation first, which makes sense because they are young and have a super sense of smell. Their hearing and vision are pretty darn good, as well. They said the water smelled funny, but R and I hadn't noticed it until we poured a glass and took a good long sniff. Sure enough, it smelled bad. The water smelled that way coming out of all the sources, including the outside taps. The only place it smelled fine was at the source, coming out of the well and into the house. This indicated that maybe it wasn't a well problem, thankfully.
I unscrewed the water filter housing and sniffed it and it seemed fine. I even had R and the kids sniff it, and they seemed to agree. We thought it might be boiler related, maybe a leak in the propane or something, even though the smell was not of propane. It smelled like motor oil. I even ran the water for a few minutes and it didn't go away. The funny thing was it dissipated within 5-10 seconds and didn't linger. I filled some mason jars and capped them quickly and brought them over to BF, the water guy, and he couldn't figure out what the smell was, though he encouraged us not to drink it. He told me that it wasn't worth it for him to test it because it was clearly not a bacteria smell, and that I should have it tested for organic compounds via the state. I ordered the kit, which is expensive, and awaited its arrival.
In the meantime, I took drastic measures, which for me means asking every possible person who might know. I contacted a plumber (Levesque, recommended by BF) who came and couldn't figure out what the smell was, though he said it reminded him of galvanized piping. He was very cool and was willing to stop by and check it out and didn't charge me a dime. Don't you love small town life? I finally broke down and went for my last-ditch desperation move - I contacted the former owner, SG, who lives right down the road. He's such a nice guy and knows houses, especially this house, inside and out. He's helped me in the past in my time of need, I just feel bad asking him about his old house, especially since he wanted it. Either way, I called him, and the first thing he said was to take out the filter. I told him it didn't smell, but he said take it out anyway and run the water.
Well, sure enough, when I pulled the filter out, it was clear that it was the source of the smell. There is a black rubber gasket that smelled like an organic solvent. Really weird, the smell was masked because it was submerged, I guess. I took it out, ran the water for about 15 minutes, and the smell was gone. Can you believe it? I should have (should've, would've, could've, but didn't, as my kids like to say) checked the filter more thoroughly and once again suffered from my incompetence. Oh well, that's why I'm a real-man only in training, right?
Now the water is fine. I still plan on testing it for yucky stuff, but for now, things seem okay.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Michelle Kelley for the pic.