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Is your Drinking Water Refreshing or Distasteful?

There isn’t much better than a tall, cold glass of water as one of nature’s natural refreshments. Although, that delicious, refreshing glass of drinking water can quickly turn into something else entirely, if the taste or smell is “off” or just plain yucky. Water should never taste bad, but there are times when the taste just isn’t quite right; so, what takes our drinking water from refreshing to distasteful? There are several reasons why your drinking water could start tasting or smelling funky, let’s take a look at the different tastes and/or smells you might experience and their possible culprits.

  • Sulfur or rotten egg smell – Water will take on a sulfur smell if there is naturally occurring hydrogen sulfide in your water supply. Another common culprit of sulfur odors comes from a hot water heater. Hot water heaters contain an element that helps to protect against corrosion, however if that element starts to deteriorate, if can cause your water to smell like sulfur.
  • Metallic taste – Water can contain many different minerals that can change the taste of your drinking water, however, lead, copper, iron, manganese and zinc can leach into the water supply from your household pipes and can give a distinct metallic taste to the water.
  • Moldy or earthy smell – This is most commonly caused by bacteria found in the sink drain itself instead of the water. That being said however, organic matter and bacteria can easily find their way into the water supply from lakes and reservoirs, especially during certain times of the year.
  • Chlorine or chemical taste – The majority of water treatment plants use varying amounts and concentrations of chlorine during the treatment process, and sometimes it is more evident than at other times. Chlorine many also interact with organic matter already found in your home’s plumbing system and that interaction can cause a chlorine or chemical taste and/or odor in your water.
  • Salty taste – Water from a water softener can sometimes have a faint salty taste, but it should never be too salty. If your water has a very distinct salty taste, if could be from sodium, magnesium or potassium found in the water supply. Also, if you live in a coastal area, it is possible that seawater may be leaching into your fresh water supply.
  • Gasoline or solvent smells – While not common, underground storage tanks have been known to corrode and begin leaking petroleum, fuel, turpentine or other harmful contaminants into the water supply. If you notice this in your water, stop drinking your water immediately and contact your water utility company or local health agency.

As a general rule, if you notice the taste or smell of your drinking water coming from all of your faucets, the problem is most likely found in the main water supply. If the smell or taste goes away after running the water for a few minutes, then the problem will most likely be found within your home’s plumbing system itself. If the problem is originating from only specific faucets, then the problem is most likely with the fixtures or pipes supplying those faucets.
The best way to determine what is in your drinking water and causing the specific odor or taste you are experiencing, is to have your water tested by a local water company. They should be able to determine what is in your water and can offer advice on what water filtration systems are available to filter out the contaminants. Drinking water should never have a funky odor or taste, but if yours does, give us a call and let us help you find the root cause of the problem and install a solution that will fit your needs.