Cloudy Tap Water Baffles Homeowner

Angie Hicks
Written by Angie Hicks
Updated September 6, 2015
Faucet in sink
Cloudy tap water is unlikely to pose a danger, Angie says, but a plumber can help solve the problem if it doesn't go away on its own. (Photo by Summer Galyan)

Angie explains several factors that could be responsible for a homeowner’s cloudy tap water.

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Dear Angie: I hope you can advise me as to what I need to do about the water coming out of my faucets. It comes out cloudy and seems full of air. That is, if I fill a glass of water, it is not clear as water should look. It is creamy in color. It eventually clears up. I had a plumber come to the house. He said it was air, but could not say how to correct it. He suggested that I call our water department. Can you shed any light on this issue? – Elena C., Reading, Mass.

Dear Elena: There are a couple of possibilities here. High iron content in your water could be the cause of what you are seeing, however it’s more likely that air in the line is causing the cloudiness.

If the cloudiness is only coming out of the hot water line, it’s likely caused by the compression of the water that takes place in the water heater. Water under pressure contains more air.

If it’s coming out of just the cold water line, try attaching an aerator to the faucet. If you continue to have cloudy water, it could be a larger issue, possibly a broken line. Contact your water company and ask them to check if there is a leak somewhere in your water line, causing it to draw in excess air.

A good plumber should be able to help diagnose and repair any problems; however, there are also companies in your area that specialize in water quality testing and analysis. Those specialists should be able to assist you with troubleshooting your particular problem and coming up with solutions.

Generally speaking, cloudy water poses no health risks and will eventually clear. Until you find the source of the issue, allow the water to settle for a few minutes to clear up.

Angie Hicks is founder of Angie’s List. Have a question for her team? Email or tweet to #AskAngie. Follow her @Angie_Hicks.

Have you ever had cloudy tap water, and if so, what did you do about it. Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Aug. 2, 2011. 

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