Cloudy Tap Water: Causes and Solutions
Cloudy tap water can look alarming, but it’s not always a cause for concern. With a quick, at-home test, you’ll be able to tell:
- What could be causing cloudiness
- If the quality of your water is potentially being affected
- If your cloudy water is safe to drink
- If it’s something you can fix yourself or something that would benefit from expert help
Why do I Have Cloudy Water?
Air or suspended solids are the two most common causes of cloudy water, both of which can be confirmed by conducting two simple tests.
The first test is called the resting test and is conducted by pouring a fresh glass of water and then allowing the water to sit (“rest”) for at least ten minutes. Tiny air bubbles are oftentimes introduced into the water supply through pumps and other equipment utilized in the process of delivering water to your spigot. If air is the cause of the cloudiness, this resting period will allow the air to rise to the surface and escape, thus returning your water to a clear state. These air bubbles are not a cause of concern and are harmless to your health and safety, however they can be a sign of issues with existing plumbing.
If the ten-minute resting test does not resolve the cloudiness issue or if water clarity improved but sediment settled to the bottom of the glass, you most likely have suspended solids or sediment in your water supply. Sediment issues can be determined through a visual inspection of the water-using appliances, faucets, and fixtures in your home or business. Yellow, orange, or black stains on toilets and sinks are all telltale signs of suspended solids in your water and if present, can be a persistent and ongoing issue. Iron, dirt, silt, and manganese oxide are all examples of debris that could be in your water that would cause cloudiness and staining.
Is Cloudy Water Safe to Use?
Cloudy water that is a result of air bubbles is perfectly safe to use.
Water that is cloudy due to suspended solids may not be safe to consume and should not be used until additional tests can be performed.
Why is My Hot Water Cloudy
It is normal for the hot water that flows from your tap to appear cloudy. This is because, as your water heater heats the water in your system, the molecules expand, trapping other gasses that result in small air bubbles. After your hot water has settled, these bubbles should rise and disperse.
How to Test Your Cloudy Water
Air and suspended solids are the two most common causes of cloudy water. Both of them can be confirmed with a simple “resting” test:
- Pour a fresh glass of water from your faucet
- Allowing the water to sit (“rest”) for at least ten minutes.
Outcome 1: If tiny bubbles rise to the surface and the water clears, air is the culprit. This means the cloudiness is harmless to your health and safety, but it can be a sign of issues with your plumbing (maybe the delivery process of water to your spigot).
Outcome 2: If the cloudiness does not go away, or if it does but sediment settles to the bottom of the glass, you most likely are dealing with suspended solids (like iron, dirt, silt, and manganese oxide). Your water-using appliances (like toilets and sinks), can show yellow, orange, or black stains, which confirms an ongoing issue that should be dealt with.
How to Fix Cloudy Tap Water
If all of your faucets are running cloudy water, the issue is likely with your municipality or community well. Maintenance or repairs are a common cause of air bubbles, and the bubbles should go away when the maintenance is finished.
If cloudy water continues for days or weeks, we recommend calling your water provider to see if there is ongoing maintenance being performed and ask when it will be complete.
If cloudy water is only coming from select faucets, your aerator may need to be cleaned. Simply remove it, clean it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, and replace it.
If your cloudy water is due to sediment and other impurities, the best way to fix it is with a water filtration system. To get started, call us at (888) 788-3181 or contact us to schedule your free water analysis.