Why Is My Tap Water Cloudy?

By January 12, 2021Plumbing
Is that cloudy tap water in my glass

Some people drink right out of their tap in some areas of the country, while others use bottled water. However, most people use tap water to clean dishes, water plants etc.  Since it is used everyday, it would be easy to tell if the tap water is suddenly cloudy. 

But why does that happen when it always seems to be clear?  Well, cloudy tap water can be caused by changes in temperature, water pressure, sediment in the filter, or the water supply.

It is possible there are contaminants in it, so until that is ruled out, use bottled water.

Let’s take a look at why this is important, reasons the tap water will be cloudy, how to fix it, additional things to think about, and when to call a professional.  

Why This is important

We use water all day and everyday. Usually cloudy water is harmless but sometimes it can be an issue such as contamination.  You will want to find out right away the cause so it can be fixed quickly.

Reason 1: Cloudy Tap Water Due to Change in Temperature

When it is very cold outside, the solubility of air in water goes up as the water pressure goes up and the temperature of the water decreases. In winter, the cold water travels from the reservoir to the tap and warms up along the way.

Some of the air is no longer soluble so it comes out like a solution.  If it is white, warm, and cloudy, there could be a problem with the water heater and you will want to have it checked by a professional or follow the steps here for maintenance:

Reason 2: Air in the lines

Sometimes air can get into the lines and the pressure of the water can force the air to make tiny bubbles. This can cause tap water to be cloudy.

Try this: First, put a glass of water on the counter.  Then, if the cloudiness disappears in a few minutes, it is the air in the lines causing the water to be cloudy.  The good thing is this is fixable and not harmful.

How to fix: Run the water through the lines to try to flush out the bubbles in the line.   

Reason 3: Sediment in the Line Can Cause Cloudy Tap Water

Little specks of rocks, stone, and soil can get into the waterline, but this is normal. Many homes have a low level of this in their water.  However, higher levels cause the water to be cloudy. 

How to fix: If you have city water, you can fix this by adding a sediment filter to your faucet to clean up the water.

If you have a well
Dirty tap water that might be contaminated

Reason 4: If You Have a Well…..

The water in the well could be contaminated as it is not treated like city water.  The murky water could be due to air in the lines from the tank or the pump.  However, it also could be contaminants.  Testing the water at least once a year is essential if you have a well. 

When the results come back and show contamination, you will need to fix this. If your water is brown, yellow, or green, you have contamination and need to call a professional right away.

You can have contaminated water no matter if you have a well or city water.  We can test this for you at Rivertown

How to fix: You may need to invest in a reverse osmosis unit

This will filter the water through a system that catches up to 99 percent of contaminants.

Reason 5: Methane Gas in Your Cloudy Tap Water?

Methane gas in your tap water is rare but does happen.

If you live in the country, it is possible for there to be methane gas in the water.  This is seen in rural systems or when the well is next to oil or gas lines. 

How do you find out if there is methane gas in the water?  First, take an empty gallon jug and fill it halfway. Then, put the top on it.  After an hour, remove the top and light a match at the top.  If a flame sparks, then there is methane in the water.  If it does not, you are clear. 

How to fix: A professional will need to install an aerator on the water line for you.  Additionally, this is a good thing as the methane is non-toxic but does need to be taken care of as it is a fire hazard.

Reason 6: You Have Hard Water

Hard water can cause cloudiness in the water and a water softener can help clear it up. Not sure if you have hard water?  Check out this short video:

Solutions to Cloudy Tap Water

  1. Use or install a good water filtration system
  2. Have the water tested
  3. Use a water system
  4. Call a professional for a diagnosis
Additional areas to check
If your water bill is higher than usual, check your water meter to see if you have a leak

Additional Areas to Check

1. If you are finding that the water is cloudy or murky after 24 hours, you may need to contact a professional to check for a water leak in the pipes or underground. Especially if you also notice low water pressure, leaks underneath the sink, or water forming in the yard.

2. Check your water bill.  If the water bill is higher than normal and your activities have not changed, there could be a water leak.  Locating and reading the water meter will be helpful to find out if there is a leak somewhere in the home or the yard.

When to Call a Professional

  1. Water is not clearing up
  2. Discoloring of water or it smells
  3. You suspect there is a leak
  4. Your water needs testing
  5. You are not sure what to do

Conclusion

Making sure your water is safe and clean is important and essential for your health.  If you have concerns, need help, or have questions, please leave them below.  Additionally, if you have other suggestions to add, let us know!

The Rivertown Team

Author The Rivertown Team

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