What Do These Common Water Issues Mean?

Chris Knippa
Written by Chris Knippa
Updated June 15, 2021
water softener
Combat mineral content in your tap water with a water softener. (Photo courtesy of Kinetico San Antonio)

Does your water taste or look a little funky?

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Even if your city water supply passes federal water standards, you still can have issues with your water’s clarity, hardness, flavor and taste. Unclog the mystery on some common water issues and solutions.

Hard water

Hard water is defined as having high mineral content (commonly calcium and magnesium). The most common issues associated with hard water are scaling, dry skin, and appliances and plumbing systems that don’t last as long as they should. Removing water stains and scale from appliances, sinks, tubs and toilets can be expensive, and it usually involves strong chemicals.

To find out if your water is hard, perform a home test or call a water softener company to test the water for you. A water softener is the fix for this issue.

RELATED: When Is It Necessary to Test for Hard Water?

Cloudy water

Cloudy water in your tap system usually means there are varying amounts of dissolved or suspended solids present, known as turbidity. A home water test by a professional can measure turbidity and provide recommendations on how to address the issue. While some turbidity is natural, it also can be caused by land disturbances such as storms, construction or urban runoff.

Chlorine water

Chlorine has been used in public water systems since the 1850s to help stop the spread of disease. However, once the water reaches your home, chlorine is unnecessary. Many can't stand the flavor or smell of chlorine in their tap water, and there are home systems that can be installed to remove the chlorine.

Foul smelling and tasting water

Three common smells and tastes include earthy, “rotten egg” and metallic. When your water tastes or smells earthy or musty, it’s usually the sign of algae.

Rotten egg smells are associated with hydrogen sulfide. At federally-regulated amounts, this colorless gas may not pose a threat, but it can definitely make your water less desirable.

Iron, copper, manganese and zinc cause the metallic taste. These commonly enter your water through aging water distribution systems or corroded copper plumbing. Hire a plumber to inspect your plumbing system and offer suggestions for dealing with any of these issues.

CHECK OUT: How to Keep Your Drinking Water Safe

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