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What Are the Biggest Factors That Can Affect Water Quality?

The water that your family drinks has a direct link to everyone’s health. If the water quality in your home is less than acceptable as potable water, or drinking water, it’s important to diagnose the problem correctly and then take steps to improve the water quality in your home.

Causes of Poor Water Quality

There are a number of reasons that you may experience poor water quality. Proper diagnosis can guide you in the right direction on how to resolve the issue.

Tainted Main Water Supply

We assume that the water entering our home from the city’s main water supply is clean. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Some cities don’t filter the water as well as they should before sending it out to the community. It’s more difficult for the city to filter water when it contains a lot of contaminants. Some of the main things that can pollute a water supply include industrial waste and oil spills.


Metal pipes eventually experience the natural occurrence of corrosion. Corrosion refers to the deterioration of metal to the point it turns into rust. Naturally, rust doesn’t belong in drinking water. In fact, it is one of the most common contaminants you will find in your home’s drinking water. The corrosion process accelerates with high temperatures, so it’s important to keep your water heater at or below 120 degrees. Corrosion can happen at your pipes and your water heater. Salt can also accelerate corrosion.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

When you experience a clog in your plumbing system, you may opt to resolve the issue with a chemical drain cleaner. Chemical drain cleaners use either acid, caustic chemicals, or bleach to eat at the clog. While effective, the chemicals can actually damage the pipes and get into your drinking water.


In agricultural areas, many farmers use pesticides to prevent critters from damaging their crops. The pesticides can get into the drinking water in the area, especially if a farm supplies its own water through a well on its property. Many people opt to purchase organic items not affected by GMOs to encourage a transition to less damaging farming practices.

Organic Growth

While high levels of light, oxygen, and nutrients promote useful organic growth in many marine ecosystems, this organic growth doesn’t contribute to the quality of your home’s water. Algae and seaweed in the water lower the water quality thanks to the natural processes happening.

Signs of Poor Water Quality

You can always purchase a water quality tester, but you don’t always need to do that to know you have poor water quality. Here are some signs to look for in your water.

Foul Odor

You may notice that the water coming from your faucets smells different than you expect it to smell. Most of the time, water is odorless. When chemicals, minerals, rust, or toxins get into the water, it can affect the way the water smells. One of the most common smells that you’ll encounter is the rotten-egg smell.


Water should appear clear when it flows from the faucet. Sometimes, water isn’t clear but is murky or orange in color. An orange hint to your water usually indicates the presence of rust as a result of corrosion. Additionally, minerals in hard water can cause the color of the water to change.

How to Improve Water Quality

When you realize you have poor water quality, it’s time to take action. Try these tips to improve the water quality entering your home.

Water Purifier

A water purifier can remove unwanted items in your water. Ideally, you want to install a water filter at your main water line so that all of the water enters your home clean and safe to drink. A whole-home water filter can cost a significant amount of money to install. You can also install a water filter on the desired fixture. You can even find pitchers that include a filter for your water.

Water Softener

Hard water not only has lower water quality than soft water, but it also creates sediment buildup in your water heater and pipes. A water softener removes the minerals before the water enters your home. Sometimes, you can find a combination water filter/water softener.

Natural Drain Cleaners

Natural drain cleaners use enzymes and bacteria to eat organic waste naturally and even release good bacteria in its place. Natural drain cleaners are safe for most pipes and appliances. They can also reach your mainline and septic tank, which you may not be able to reach with a plunger or plumber’s snake. Enzymatic drain cleaners work better as a part of regular plumbing maintenance instead of dissolving a complete clog.

Change Anode Rod

The sacrificial anode rod in your water heater absorbs corrosive materials in the water heater tank to slow down the corrosive process. However, you need to change the anode rod every couple of years. Magnesium anode rods work the best under normal conditions, but they require frequent replacement, and they may not excel in hard water conditions.

Aluminum anode rods don’t produce the same quality results as magnesium anode rods, but they cost less and last longer. They also handle hard water conditions better. Zinc anode rods are similar to aluminum anode rods but with the additional feature of eliminating the sulfur or rotten-egg smell coming from your faucets.

Replace Old Pipes/Appliances

After a certain amount of time, corrosion can affect your pipes or water heater to the point that they can no longer produce the same quality of water anymore. At this point, you will need to replace the pipes or water heater appliance. Pipes can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years, depending on what material you purchase. With good maintenance, a tank water heater lasts 10 to 15 years, and a tankless water heater can last up to 20 years.

Promote Clean Water Regulation

Get involved in your community by supporting regulations that encourage better waste disposal practices and filtration practices that affect the drinking water in your area. You can also support politicians that fight for clean water and clean air initiatives by voting locally, not just in the presidential election.

Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

If you want professional help regarding the water quality in your home, Rite Way Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing can provide plumbing maintenance, water heater maintenance, plumbing replacement, and water heater replacement in Tucson, AZ. Over the years, we have earned numerous awards for our high-level service and efforts to keep everyone safe, including the Angie List’s 2020 Super Service Award. Still not convinced? Check out the great reviews that lead to our 4.9-star average on Google!

We cover a lot more than just water quality. Our other offerings include home cooling services, heating services, and air quality services in Tucson. Contact our office today to learn more or to schedule your appointment!