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- By marol
- Water Quality
Virginia’s municipal tap water is generally very drinkable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust your own judgment. There are several reasons why even the most carefully treated and filtered tap water smells strange or appears unclean. Due to broken pipes in your home, your water may even be contaminated after treatment.
Why is my tap water white? Why does my water taste metallic? It’s easy to get paranoid about drinking water and before you know it, you’re panicking to use the faucet. The best way to avoid this unpleasant feeling is to safely diagnose your water. We’ll help you get started. Here are four easy ways to determine if there is a problem with your tap water.
The Water Looks Cloudy
Properly treated tap water should always appear clear. If your water appears cloudy or you get “milky” water from your faucet, do not use it. Instead, let it sit for a few minutes to see if the cloudiness improves. If it eventually dissipates, a harmless collection of trapped air is likely responsible for the cloud formation you saw. Pressurized water traps air bubbles inside. When the pressure decreases as water flows from your faucet, air escapes into the water.
Cloudy water can also be a sign that the tap water is too “hard”. Hard water contains heavy minerals like calcium and magnesium. These minerals aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they will cloud your water. If you have a water softener and see cloudy water, it is probably not working properly. Cloudy water can also mean that the pipes your water flows through contain corrosion, sand, or dirt. If you think this may be the case, especially if your plumbing is older, you should have your pipes inspected by a professional.
The Water Tastes Metallic
It is one of the most common problems with household water supply. If the problem is severe enough, your water may even appear rusty or discolored. Unsurprisingly, the most likely reason your water tastes metallic is because it contains…metal! In particular, iron, zinc or manganese deposits have probably found their way into your water. Metal deposits usually only get into your water after treatment, so nothing stands in the way of these particles.
If only your hot water smells like metal, your water heater could be the problem. Flush your water heater to remove any debris that could be causing the smell. If all of your water tastes metallic, it means that rust or corrosion may be entering the water through your water supply pipes. When water flows through corroded pipes, it can release tiny flakes. Have your supply lines professionally cleaned and inspected as soon as possible. We will be able to figure out what the problem is and how to fix it.
The Water Smells
Treated tap water should never smell. If so, that probably means there is something in your water that shouldn’t be there. Different water contaminants produce different strange smells. The same minerals that give your water a metallic taste can also cause your water to smell metallic. Algae blooms in the local water supply can cause a persistent musty or musty smell. Bacteria in your water heater can produce an unpleasant rotten egg smell. Too much water softener salt will cause softened water to suddenly taste salty.
Once you’ve determined what your water smells like, you can figure out the best way to solve the problem. For example, if your water smells like metal or sulfur, you need to flush your water heater. If your water smells like salt, try turning down the water softener. It can be more difficult to eliminate a musty smell yourself. Check with your neighbors to see if there is a water problem in your area, or contact your water supplier to see if they have said anything about algae. You can also deep clean your faucets. Of course, if in doubt, contact your local Odeur plumber to get to the bottom of the problem.
The Water Leaves Stains or Scum Behind
Tap water should never leave residue or stains. If your tap water is dirtying your sinks or bathtubs or leaving a chalky residue, then something is wrong.
Brown or Orange-ish Water Stains
These spots are a sign that iron or copper residue has gotten into your water. Your water supply pipes may be rusted, clogged or corroded.
Chalky Residue from Water
The gritty residue your tap water can leave behind is made up of calcium and magnesium. This is a sign that your water is too hard.
Regardless of whether your tap water stains or leaves streaks, the first thing you should do is check your water softener. If your softener is working properly, the problem is likely in your supply lines. Supply lines naturally rust or corrode over time, especially if your water is hard. Consider replacing your pipes to permanently fix the problem.
For All Your Roanoke Water Problems
This is not an exhaustive list of all the things that can go wrong with tap water. If you don’t see your problem here, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. Don’t panic, but don’t ignore your suspicions either.
For quick, reliable answers to your water questions, call Wisler Plumbing, HVAC & Electric. Our experts can determine what is wrong with your water and find the least disruptive solution and have plenty of water treatment options to purify your water at home. You should never have to worry about whether your water is clean enough to drink. Call us and we will ease your worries.