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Cloudy Tap Water? Here Are the Reasons

Cloudy tap water is nothing extraordinary. Homeowners often notice that the tap water has a cloudy or milky look from time to time. Most wonder whether it is safe for drinking and what they should do when they notice cloudy tap water. It is never easy to tell the cause of cloudy water by looking at it. Similarly, it is not possible to tell if the cloudy water is safe to drink by looking at it. The best way to know for sure is through testing.

Common Causes of Cloudy Tap Water

The sight of cloudy tap water can be alarming at times. That is especially if one is not used to it or is experiencing it for the first time in their home. The concern is mostly because you do not know the exact cause. Here are some of the common causes of milky or cloudy tap water at home.

  • Air trapped in the water
  • Heat from hot water pipes
  • Particulate in the water
  • Hard water
  • Methane gas

1. Air Trapped in the Water

Aerated water is the most common cause of cloudiness in water. Often, when there is a change in pressure in the water supply system, it can lead to air being trapped in the water. This often occurs when there a pipe has burst or during repair work in the pipes.

Trapped air in the pipes causes the water to appear milky or cloudy when it comes out of the tap. Such water usually clears naturally in a short time when allowed to settle in a glass. The cloudiness disappears as the tiny air bubbles rise to the top and burst to release the air.

If you experience cloudy water over a long time, you may contact your local water supplier to determine what may be causing the aeration in the water.

2. Heat From Hot Water Pipes

When cold water comes into contact with heat from hot water pipes or boilers, the temperature change can make the water appear cloudy. In such cases, the water would be warmer than usual when it comes out of the taps. Such water usually clears when allowed to cool down for a while.

If the cloudiness in your water is due to heat from hot pipes or the boiler, you need to contact a plumber to check on the issue. Rite way offers 24-hour emergency services for your plumbing maintenance and repair needs. Our highly qualified and experienced technicians will be able to provide a solution that meets your needs.

3. Particulate in the Water

As water flows through the water supply system, it may pick sediment that does not dissolve. Such sediment or particulate may be in the form of silt, sand, or rock material. The particulate would make the water cloudy when it comes out of the tap.

Unlike cloudiness caused by air in the water, cloudiness due to particulate does not clear. That is because the particulate is not soluble, remaining visible in the water. It may take a very long time for it to clear as the sediment settles at the bottom of the glass.

Although particulate makes the water appear dirty, it is mostly harmless. However, it may expose you to waterborne illnesses, especially if your water is from a private supplier and you’re using a UV filter to sterilize the water. The sediment may shield bacteria from UV filtration. If the levels of particulate in your water become a concern, you may need to install a mechanical water filter system.

4. Hard Water

People living in hard water areas may often experience cloudy water as limescale builds up in pipes. Heating hard water may agitate it, forming white or chalky deposits in taps or pipes. Mostly, that occurs in pipe systems connected to water heaters or boilers.

Hard water consists of a high level of dissolved minerals. The minerals are usually not harmful but form white particles in water. The chalky deposits may also cause discoloration in water-based drinks, which may make them unappealing.

One way to tell whether cloudiness in water is due to hard water is by allowing the water to settle. For hard water, the cloudiness does not clear. Hard water also leaves white spots on glass dishes after washing. It also makes it hard for detergents to lather when washing dishes or clothes.

There are ways of removing water hardness from your water. One way is through installing a whole-home reverse osmosis filtration system, which removes the extra minerals in the water to make it clear.

5. Methane Gas

Cloudiness due to methane gas is common for people that use well water. The colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas occurs naturally in well water. In most cases, the methane levels in water are below 10mg/L, which is safe. However, levels between 10mg/L and 28mg/L require regular monitoring. If the levels go beyond 28mg/L, then there needs to be immediate action to lower the levels.

If you suspect that the cloudiness in your water is due to methane gas, you need to call a professional to test the water. That will help determine the methane levels in the water so that you can have the fitting solution for your problem.

At Rite Way Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing, we provide top-notch services to home and business owners in Tucson, AZ and the surrounding areas. We have a wide range of plumbing products, including salt-free water softening systems, touch-less bathroom and kitchen faucets, and tankless hot water heaters.

Can You Drink Cloudy Tap Water?

For most cases, cloudy tap water is safe for drinking. If you put it in a glass and allow it to settle for a while, the tiny air bubbles will rise to the top and burst. As the water releases most of the air trapped in it, it clears. That indicates that the water is safe for drinking.

For water that is cloudy due to heat from the pipes, the water often clears as it cools. Thus, allowing the water to cool for a while would make it clear, an indication that it is safe for you to drink.

If the cloudiness in your tap water does not clear when allowed to settle for some time, it could be an indication that the water may be contaminated. Thus, it may not be suitable for drinking as it may contain particles that may be harmful to your health. Hard water may also not clear when allowed some time to clear. However, hard water is safe for drinking. It is therefore important to test your water to determine the cause of cloudiness, specifically if it does not clear. That will help determine if it is safe for you to drink.

Rite Way Heating, Cooling and Plumbing has a broad offering for heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing services in Tucson, AZ. We offer air conditioners, heat pumps, water conditioning systems, furnaces, and hot water tanks/water-filtration/. We also offer services such as home water quality testing, preventative maintenance for air conditioning and heating, AC/Heat tune-up, plumbing, and water softening system installation services.

Contact Rite Way Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for more information on plumbing, heating and cooling solutions.