California’s municipally-sourced tap water is generally very safe to drink, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust your own judgment. There are several reasons why even the most meticulously processed and filtered tap water smells funny or seems unclean to you. Your water may even become contaminated after it’s processed, because of faulty pipes in your home.
Why is my tap water white? Why does my water taste metallic? It’s easy to get paranoid about your drinking water and before you know it, you’re too freaked out to use your tap at all. The best way to avoid that unpleasant feeling is to diagnose your water for sure. We’ll help you get started. These are four easy ways you can tell if there’s something wrong with your tap water.
Your Water Looks Cloudy
Tap water that’s been properly treated should always look clear. If your water looks cloudy or you get “milky” water from your tap, don’t use it. Instead, set it aside for a couple minutes to see if the cloudiness dissipates. If it does eventually clear, then a harmless build-up of trapped air probably created the cloudiness you saw. Pressurized water holds air bubbles inside it. When the pressure releases as the water flows out of your faucet, the air escapes into the water.
Cloudy water can also be a sign that your tap water is too “hard.” Hard water contains heavy minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they cloud your water. If you have a water softener and see cloudy water, it probably is not working properly. Cloudy water can also mean that the pipes that your water travels through have corrosion, sand or dirt in them. If you think that may be the case, especially if you have older plumbing, you should have a professional examine your pipes.
Your Water Tastes Metallic
This is one of the most common problems affecting home water supplies. If the problem is severe enough, your water may even look rusty or discolored. Unsurprisingly, the most likely reason your water tastes metallic is because it… has metal in it! Specifically, deposits of iron, zinc, or manganese probably leached into your water. Metallic deposits usually leach into your water after it’s already been treated, so nothing stops these particles from reaching you.
If only your hot water smells metallic, it’s possible your water heater is the problem. Flush your water heater to remove sediment that may be causing the smell. If all your water tastes metallic, then your water supply pipes might be leaching rust or corrosion into your water. As water travels through corroded pipes, it can shear off tiny flakes. Have a pro clean and inspect your supply pipes ASAP. We’ll be able to determine what the problem is and how to fix it.
Your Water Smells
Treated tap water should never smell. If it does, then it probably means there is something in your water that shouldn’t be. Different water contaminants produce different weird smells. The same minerals that make your water taste metallic may also make your water smell like metal. Algae blooms in the local water supply can create a lingering musty or moldy smell. Bacteria in your water heater can produce a gross rotten egg smell. Too much water softener salt makes softened water suddenly taste salty.
Once you figure out what your water smells like, you can figure out the best way to address the problem. If your water smells like metal or sulfur, for instance, then you should flush your water heater. If your water smells salty, try turning down your water softener. Solving a musty smell on your own may be more difficult. Consult with neighbors to see if there is something wrong with water in your area or look up your water supplier to see if they’ve said anything about algae. You could also thoroughly clean out your taps. Of course, when in doubt, contact your local smell good plumber to get to the root of the problem.
Your Water Leaves Stains or Scum Behind
Tap water should never leave behind any sort of residue or stain. If your tap water stains your sinks or tubs or leaves behind chalky material, then something is wrong with it.
Brown or Orange-ish Water Stains
These stains are a sign that iron or copper residue has leached into your water. Your water supply pipes may have become rusted, clogged, or corroded.
Chalky Residue from Water
The gritty residue your tap water may leave behind is made up of calcium and magnesium. It’s a sign that your water is too hard.
Whether your tap water is staining or leaving behind scum, you should start by checking your water softener. If your softener is working properly, then the problem is probably your supply pipes. Supply pipes rust or corrode naturally over time, especially if your water’s hard. Consider having your pipes replaced to fix the problem permanently.
For All Your Los Angeles Water Problems
This is not an exhaustive list of everything that could be wrong with your 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 fast and reliable answers to your water questions, give Mike Diamond a call. Our experts can figure out what’s wrong with your water and propose the least intrusive fix. You should never have to worry about whether or not your water is clean enough to drink. Give us a call and we’ll put your worries to rest.