Sulfur Taste from one specific water tap

…and unfortunately it’s the one that the water dispenser on the fridge connects to, so it’s the one that gets 98% of the use.

Two weeks ago our old fridge (Frigidaire - nothing but trouble and finally died after a whopping three and a half years) kicked the bucket. The little woman goes out and gets a new fridge. Ever since we installed that fridge, the water coming out of the dispenser tastes like sulfur.

I can tolerate it, not that I want to, but the rest of the family can’t.

From tasting the other taps around the house, as near as I can tell, only this one is doing it - all the others seem perfectly normal. The kicker, of course, is that before we changed the fridge nobody ever noticed even the hint of any strange taste.

Anyone have any suggestions? I’ve gone straight from the wall to a glass and, unfortunately, it’s not the fridge that’s the problem.

Could there be something bad going on with my pipes?


Did they install a new brand of filter for the line. I don’t think they even hook them up without them anymore. You don’t say what the water line is made of.

All I can think of is that you must have a water softener/filter and the line running to the fridge is from a separate bypass. But, I’m fairly sure you would have known if that was the case. Otherwise though I got nothin’.

It’s just one of the thicker plastic hoses that seem to have some sort of mesh around them embedded in the plastic.

I actually switched back to my old hose (they installed a newer, shorter one) to see if that makes a difference. Problem is that I don’t have much of a sense of smell or taste, and I’ve sampled so much water I’m just not sure.

As for the filter, that’s the first thing I thought of. There is one, it’s installed correctly.

No other filters or water softeners or anything like that.


With the filter I was thinking a different one might have a component you are tasting. I don’t know if your saying the same one is there or a different one. Plastic may be safe for drinking water, but still leave a taste in water. I think chances are good that the old hose may remove the problem of a bad taste before the fridge connection. I can’t think anything like glue or solder they would have used to install your water feed that would cause a sulfur taste. Your old water tube has lost all the volatile chemicals it will, verses a new flexible reinforced PVC which I know can leave a taste in the water for a while. The reinforced plastic is less likely to break though.

Do you suppose the fridge was accidentally hooked up to the hot water line instead of the cold?

From here. Apparently “rotten egg” odors and flavors are a common complaint which can be traced to the water heater.

It could have been done. I don’t know about that as the reason though. Did they make a new connection to the plumbing? I was under the impression it was installed in the same place the old line was.

If you are getting a sulfur smell in only one line its likely to be iron bacteria. It is not a health issue. The easy fix is if you have a way off introducing bleach to your system. Cartridge filter, shut off with hose spigots on each side water softner etc, you can run bleach threw that line and let it sit over night. I’d expect that will solve your problem.

Is the filter part of the fridge, or is it installed in the water line before the fridge?

In either case, if it’s a new filter, most manufacturers recommend running 2-3 gallons of water through the filter prior to use, to get rid of any sediments, etc.

Okay, in response to all the questions asked so far…

The filter I’m talking about is a new one that installs in the new fridge. It IS a different brand than the last one - my last one was a Frigidaire/Electrolux, the new one is a Whirlpool Gold.

I am nearly positive that there is no softener or filter anywhere in the house.

NinetyWt, you are actually the second person to suggest the the water heater being a problem. Is there any way for me to tell if water is coming from the water heater besides opening the tap and seeing if hot water comes out?

The new fridge is in the exact same place as the old one. Physically, the only thing that changed was the hose (now changed back to the old one) and the fridge. No new plumbing, installation, nothing.

As far as hte new filter goes, I’ve run loads of water through it. 10 gallons, easily.

The house is on a slab. If I wanted to flush or somehow clean out the line…how do I even start with that?


I’m not sure if you could tell, without just running the water and finding out. My water tank begins to make noises (heating, metal pipes clicking as they expand, water shifting around etc.) which you might hear if it were the hot water. Have you tasted the hot water from any of the other taps in the house?

boytyperanma has a good suggestion about the iron bacteria. Do you notice anything like that? The link about the rotten egg smell speaks to it, IIRC.

However, if it’s exactly the same plumbing, and the old fridge had a water dispenser too, then I’m puzzled.

The only way I know to “flush” a line is to open the tap and let it run. You’ve seen the water department do this before with their fire hydrants, right? They just open one up and let it run, often for days.

A line comes from the fridge and goes… where? I’d guess that it goes to the pipes under the sink since it’s in the kitchen. Somewhere in your house is a connection with the plastic tubing that came with the refrigerator. Please tell me they didn’t use one of those taps that screw into an existing pipe.

No no no…

I’ve got a plastic tube from the fridge to a tap (with valve) on the wall behind the fridge. But from there it goes…presumably down under the slab to meet up with something somewhere.

So, ideas?



Last bump.


Since it started with the new fridge, but the water directly from the tap coming out of the wall has the taste, maybe the iron bacteria were introduced to the tap while the fridge was unhooked. If so, they’d be right by the connection to the fridge. Is there any way you could introduce bleach to the tap with the fridge disconnected, and have it stay there? Maybe disconnect the hose from the fridge, attach it to the tap, fill it with bleach and tape it to the wall above the tap?

Kind of a long shot.

The only idea I have left is for you to PM the poster known as Cowgirl Jules. She’s a water operator and is much more knowledgeable about such things than I am.

Shut off your main connect a hose to a spigot and run it to a lower point in your yard then the line to the fridge may be. Disconnect the refrigerator line and put it into a container of bleach and open the hose spigot. The goal being to siphon the bleach into the line through this method.

Well, I figured it out. Or rather the guy at Lowe’s did.

I was trying to find another filter (you never know…) and they were out of a certain model. He asked me what model I was supposed to have, asked my fridge, and told me I had the wrong one.

So, the one that came in the fridge was the wrong filter. I bought the one he told me to get, ran a few gallons through it, and everything seems to be as it should.

What a total pain in the ass!


You give me too much credit here. I’ve been reading this thread all along, and I haven’t the slightest. It’s the single tap issue that’s got me boggled here.

I did have a new building that had problems with just the water cooler. All we could figure was that it was an installation problem, possibly a contaminant introduced with the new plumbing. That could be the case with yours too. If you move the fridge out from the wall and take some water from the fridge service line to taste it, that might narrow it down for you. I don’t know much about the internal plumbing routes of water lines within a fridge, but if you can pinpoint it to that, maybe the fridge is still under warranty?

We just got a new fridge too, and the only odor I’ve noticed is plasticy, and that’s going away with use.

Shoot, I missed your resolution. Glad it worked out for you!