Have you noticed your tap water is tasting a little funky? Have you Googled “how to fix bad tasting tap water?” If so, you are not alone. If the water tastes or smells like chlorine, it is usually not a concern, but if the smell is very strong (exceeds 4 milligrams per liter), you should contact your local health agency. In addition, odors such as petroleum, turpentine, metals, rotten eggs, moldy earth, fish, or salt could signal contamination and should be treated. There are many ways to fix bad tasting tap water; keep reading to learn more.
Signs Your Water is Contaminated
There can be many reasons your tap water is tasting funky; some of the most common causes include:
- Chlorine was added for disinfection. Chlorine is often added to tap water as a disinfectant to kill bacteria and other organisms. It can, however, cause a strong chemical taste or smell.
- Sulfur in the ground. Living in a part of the country with high levels of sulfur in the ground can cause your water to taste or smell like rotten eggs.
- Bacteria. If bacteria find their way into your water, they can change the smell and taste.
- Mineral Content. Water often comes from wells with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and carbonates that can remain in your water. While these are not harmful, people can sometimes find the taste to be salty or bitter.
- Improperly maintained filters and treatment equipment. If you use a filter or have it installed on your fridge, you should check it and change it regularly. If you do not, bacteria can grow in the filter, changing the taste of your tap water.
- The color changes. Normal tap water is transparent and colorless, so if your water turns red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, or dark brown or becomes milky white or cloudy, you should contact a plumber to determine the issue.
Tap Water Tastes
Regarding bad-tasting tap water, some shared tastes (in addition to what we’ve already mentioned) consist of bitter, chemical, gasoline, metallic, salty, and sweet. Below we’ll break down what each of those tastes means about your tap water.
Bitter tap water is often a sign of high concentrations of total dissolved solids, like the minerals we mentioned above, which in high concentrations are called hard water. The bitter taste can also be due to aged copper piping in your home.
As we previously mentioned, the chemical taste can come from chlorine added to your water as a disinfectant, especially if you live in the city. If you notice your water becoming more chemical tasting, you should reach out to your health office to determine if this is a more significant issue in the water supply.
A gasoline taste in your tap water can mean many things. It could be an intrusion into your water by a fuel storage tank or runoff from nearby driveways or parking lots. If you taste gasoline in tap water, you should stop drinking it immediately and have your water tested.
Salty tap water means high chloride ions, which is more common in coastal areas. Rain and snow can also cause road salt to drain into local reservoirs impacting the tap water taste.
Sweet water is nothing to be concerned about; it just means there is a pH or alkaline imbalance in your water or certain minerals are not fully dissolved, neither of which are harmful to your health.
How to Fix Bad Tasting Tap Water: 5 Proven Methods
Several methods could help you fix bad tasting tap water; you just have to determine the best for you! While there are a few tricks, like letting your water run for a few minutes before drinking to eliminate the chemical taste, installing a filter or purifier is the best way.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration systems are the highest-quality purification methods for residential properties. In this system, water flows through a sediment filter, pre-carbon filter, and pre-carbon filter before moving through the RO membrane, entering a storage tank, and exiting the system. The filters absorb and remove chemicals and minerals as the water travels through. However, these filters must be replaced over time as they lead to low water pressure or inefficient filtration.
Ion-replacement systems swap out calcium, magnesium, and other ions present in water with sodium chloride ions. The resin used to replace the unwanted ions must recharge. The porous resins allow water to flow through them and replace the ions present in the water. If you want to use this filtration system, it’s important to note that the harder water is, the most often you need to recharge your resin.
Carbon Water Filters
Carbon filters are made from activated carbon, meaning they have hundreds of tiny holes that allow the water to soak through while trapping debris, bacteria, and chemicals. Carbon filters will also remove hydrogen sulfide, so you don’t have to worry about your water ever having a rotten smell!
This filtration system forces water through a hollow fiber membrane that filters microorganisms. As a result, they remove some bacteria and parasites while allowing the water to keep the beneficial minerals that reverse osmosis systems can remove.
UV purification systems use ultraviolet light to deactivate bacteria and viruses in your water but do not remove anything else. This purification system is often used in tandem with other filtration systems but is especially beneficial for people living in areas with boil water advisories.
There are also countless other water filtration systems, such as alkaline, ceramic, and carbon water filters, as well as the ever-popular Brita water filters, so you have numerous options for fixing bad tasting tap water. And if you ever have a question about which system is right for you, call Goodbee Plumbing!
How to Test Your Tap Water
It isn’t only bad tasting tap water that has contaminants. There are tiny molecules and chemicals that can be found in your tap water that are impossible to see, taste, or smell, which can pose a safety risk. To avoid any issues, it’s important to test the quality of water in your home with regular testing. Home water tests measure the following:
- Contaminants: microorganisms, fungi, etc.
- Hardness: minerals such as calcium, magnesium, carbonates, bicarbonates, and sulfates.
- pH: the acidity, which should fall between 6.5 to 8.5.
- Iron: while iron is not a health risk, it is classified as a microorganism.
Your tap water can also contain bacteria and viruses, ammonia, arsenic, lead, and mercury. These are sometimes impossible to detect without a test and can make you sick with brain or kidney damage. Additionally, water tests can also test for barium, cadmium, fluoride, radium, and uranium, which, if highly concentrated, can be hazardous to your health.
If you are wondering how these contaminants get into your water, they can come from natural mineral deposits, sewage, land use, manufacturing, or wastewater treatment malfunction. While it may sound unsettling, water tests will ensure you are drinking water that is safe for consumption. You can conduct at-home tests by purchasing online kits or call a professional to identify any possible issues and suggest the best solutions to address any of your concerns.
If your tap water still tastes bad after some of these remedies, here are some additional measures you can take until a professional can evaluate your water.
- Check your health: physical conditions such as pregnancy or new medications can cause your water to taste different.
- Boil your water: Chlorine is used by many municipalities to eliminate the build-up of bacteria, which can cause it to taste bad. By boiling your water, you can remove the chlorine taste and store the water in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Deep clean: sometimes bad tasting tap water can come from bacterial growth on your kitchen or bathroom faucet or inside the drains. To clean, simply remove the faucet and soak it for a few minutes in 1 cup water and 1/3 cup white vinegar. Also, use that solution to wipe the inside of the faucet tip and then pour it down the drain. Once you pour it down the drain, don’t rinse it for at least 15 minutes.
- Talk to your neighbors: See if anyone else is experiencing bad tasting tap water to determine if it is a problem for just you or if it’s the regional water source being contaminated.
- Contact your local water utility: If the problem is seen by your neighbors or persists, contact your water company to see if there is a pipe leaking into your water supply.
Improve Your Plumbing With Goodbee Plumbing and Drains
No one wants bad tasting tap water. But, by pinpointing the root of the issue, you can return to that normal-tasting water in no time. The experts at Goodbee Plumbing are here to help you never again have to wonder how to fix bad tasting tap water.
Goodbee has the finest, fully licensed plumbers available to fix tap water and other water treatment issues. As a local, family-owned plumbing company, we aim to leave you happy with our outstanding workmanship. In addition, we can offer same-day plumbing services if you want to resolve a problem quickly. To schedule your service today, call 985-893-1883.