Back To Blog Page

Does Water Have a Taste?

If you are drinking the daily amount of water recommended by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, you should be consuming around 3.7 liters of water if you are a man or 2.7 liters of water for women. Only 20% of this amount is estimated to come from the food you eat, leaving a fairly large amount of water to drink.

For many people, drinking this amount of water each day is made more difficult by how their water tastes. But does water have a taste? At Rayne Water, we say the short answer is yes, but the factors influencing how your water tastes may surprise you.

What Does Water Taste Like?

It’s inherently difficult to describe the taste of something like water. Taste is a subjective experience, and for most of us we know when drinking water tastes good and when it doesn’t.

One of the main factors influencing taste is the mineral content of water. The easiest way to see the influence of minerals on the taste of water is to compare the taste of distilled water with regular tap water or mineral water. Distilled water has had any dissolved solids removed from it, and for most people, it tastes bland or flat. This is particularly true if you compare it to water containing minerals.

The mineral content of your water is sometimes expressed as the number of total dissolved solids (TDS) in a sample of water. A higher number of TDS means your water has a higher mineral content, while a lower TDS means your water has lower mineral content.

But minerals aren’t the only factor influencing the taste of your water. Let’s take a look at some of the other things in your water which might alter the taste, and how to make your water taste better if these contaminants are in your water.

Disinfectants

If you are like most people in the United States then you probably get your water from a municipal water supplier rather than a well. While well-water isn’t treated, community water suppliers do treat the water passing through their salt-free systems to ensure the water is safe for consumption when it is delivered.

One of the most common treatments for tap water is to add chlorine to it. Chlorination is used to kill any microbes like giardia or salmonella. While chlorine treatment is highly effective and makes public water supplies safer as a whole, it also alters the taste of the water. Next time you pour a glass of water from your tap, take the time to smell it. You’ll almost certainly notice your tap water smells like chlorine.

Removing disinfectants and their byproducts from your water will require the use of a filtration system utilizing activated carbon. Activated carbon is highly effective at capturing disinfectants and their byproducts, as well as a variety of other chemicals.

Hydrogen Sulfide or Bacteria

Do you find yourself wondering why your water smells like sulfur? The answer might not be very pleasant. The smell some people describe as sulfur or a rotten egg is usually the result of bacteria or hydrogen sulfide in the water. 

Hydrogen sulfide is a naturally occurring gas commonly found in tap water. The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t consider hydrogen sulfide a primary or secondary contaminant, but there may be some detrimental effects alongside the foul smell and unpleasant taste. Very high levels may result in nausea or stomach pain, while concentrations greater than 0.5 parts per million (ppm) can corrode pipes or metal, as well as alter the taste of your food and beverages.

If your water has sulfur or rotten egg smell, the most effective solution is to use an activated carbon filtration system.

Chlorides and Sodium

If your water tastes salty there are two likely culprits: chlorides or sodium. Chloride is a common salt compound that can enter the water supply from rocks containing chloride, wastewater, sewage leaks, or agricultural runoff. Sodium may be found in softened water as a byproduct of the ion-exchange process but this should not alter the taste of water.

If your tap water suddenly becomes salty, it is a good idea to report it to your water supplier because it can be an indication of unwanted contaminants entering your water supply. However, if your water is always slightly salty, you’ll want to utilize a reverse-osmosis (RO) system. RO systems use a membrane to filter out tiny contaminants, including chloride and sodium. Using this system will help you learn how to remove salt from water in an easy and efficient way.

For more insights, we’ll tell you the best salt-free water system and some great water softener alternatives for your home.

Final Thoughts

Not all water tastes the same. The flavor of water can be influenced by a variety of factors, including the mineral content of the water or the presence of other contaminants. The smell of chlorine is a byproduct of the disinfection process most tap water goes through, while a sulfur smell stems from hydrogen sulfide. Water may taste salty if the chloride content of your tap water is high as well.

Removing these tastes from water simply requires having the right filtration system in place. Hydrogen sulfide and chlorine can be effectively removed through the use of activated carbon filtration, while sodium and chlorides can be effectively removed with a reverse osmosis system. Many reverse osmosis systems include a post-filter using activated carbon, which makes these systems effective at removing a wide range of contaminants which cause your water to taste or smell bad.

The best way to find out what’s in your water is to schedule a water test with a Rayne Water technician. A water test can let you know what contaminants are influencing the taste of your water, and our knowledgeable technicians can outline the filtration systems that can deliver clean, filtered drinking water that’s crisp and great tasting.

If you want to learn the difference between salt versus salt-free water system or how salt is used in softening water, visit our page and contact Rayne Water today.

Sources:

  1. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx
  2. https://www.livescience.com/54521-tap-water-tastes.html
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-water-have-a-taste#sense-of-taste
  4. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/science/854-articles/story/why-does-water-from-different-places-taste-different
  5. https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C858-15&title=Removal%20of%20Hydrogen%20Sulfide%20and%20Sulfate
  6. http://aesl.ces.uga.edu/publications/watercirc/HydrogenSulfide.pdf