Clean, clear water is important in any household. Unfortunately, many homeowners must work with tap water
that tastes, looks, or smells abnormal. This water may pose a serious health hazard or simply create an
In this blog, we discuss 10 of the most common water quality issues that homeowners face and how you can
address these problems if they appear in your home.
1. Bitter Taste
Bitter or medicinal-tasting tap water can indicate sulfate contamination. Usually caused by local coal
mining, sulfate pollution can also have a laxative effect and leave scale deposits on fixtures.
To safely consume this water, use reverse osmosis to remove the sulfate particles.
2. Blue-Green Color
Blue-green water may have a slightly metallic taste and leave greenish stains on porcelain appliances. The
color, taste, and stains usually result from acidic water or copper particles.
Have your plumber test blue-green water before drinking it, since the color can be related to lead
An acid neutralizer or injection treatment system usually works best to resolve this issue.
3. Chlorine Taste
Because public water sources often use chlorine for water purification, your home’s water may have a taste
or scent of chlorine. Most of the time, chlorine levels are low enough not to have any other side effects.
Carbon filtration systems or reverse osmosis water filtration can resolve the problem.
4. Cloudy Discoloration
Cloudy water, also known as turbidity, results from high concentrations of tiny particles. These particles
range from silt to rust.
A media filter, designed to catch all particles of a specific size, can greatly reduce turbidity and any
accompanying flavor changes.
5. Hard Water
Hard water leaves white film on dishes and sinks, prevents soaps from creating suds, and can reduce the
life of your water heater. The term “hardness” describes the concentration of calcium, magnesium, or both
present in your water.
Water softeners can attach to specific fixtures or cover the entire house. These systems replace calcium
and magnesium particles with sodium or potassium.
6. Metallic Taste
Metallic-tasting water indicates the presence of copper, manganese, or zinc particles. You may even see
Typically, metallic water requires an iron system filter.
7. Musty Taste
Musty or earthy water flavor results from organic growth, usually nontoxic algae, within the plumbing
Professional cleaning can get rid of the current algae, and proper maintenance can prevent future issues.
8. Rust Color
Red, orange, or brown water usually stems from iron contamination. Iron particles enter groundwater
directly from the bedrock, but rust-colored water can also occur due to mining and other disturbances.
Like other metal particle contaminants, iron in your water requires an iron system filter.
9. Salty Taste
Distinctly salty water occurs when the water becomes contaminated with chloride. The chloride in your
water may come from road salts, gas drilling brines, or other local disturbances. In addition to the flavor,
chloride in water can corrode your pipes.
Reverse osmosis and distillation systems can separate out the salt particles, resolving the issue.
10. Sulfur Smell
A sulfuric, “rotten egg” smell can result from a number of issues, including the presence of hydrogen
sulfide or sulfate-reducing bacteria. While the smell can be extremely unappealing and the water can leave
greasy stains on appliances, it usually doesn’t pose a health risk.
To resolve the odor, your plumber may perform a chlorine shock treatment, recommend ongoing chlorine
treatment, or install an oxidizing filter.
If you experience one of these water quality problems, consult with an HVAC expert. These professionals
can evaluate your current plumbing system and existing water treatment processes and make recommendations
based on your situation.
Take the steps outlined above to provide you and your family with safe, clean water for drinking, washing,
and household needs.