When your tap water comes out discolored or cloudy looking, the sight can be unsettling. Most of the time, a white or milky appearance is harmless and will dissipate with time. But if the problem persists, it could be a sign that there’s something else going on with your water. Let’s look at the three most common causes of cloudy or discolored water.
Tiny Air Bubbles
The most likely culprit of cloudy tap water is aeration, or tiny air bubbles. Water contains dissolved oxygen (H₂O). If your home’s pipes are under a bit of pressure, that dissolved oxygen can turn back into a gas, which creates air bubbles in your water as it is flowing from your tap. In large volumes, these air bubbles can change the physical appearance of your glass of tap water. It’s harmless, but if it bothers you, leave the glass on your counter for a few minutes to let the air bubbles rise to the surface and disappear.
Another common cause of water cloudiness or discoloration is hard water. Hard water is full of extra minerals, like calcium and magnesium. When heated by a residential water heater, these minerals can create limescale buildup in your pipes and fixtures, which can give your water a milky or cloudy appearance. While it’s technically safe to drink, clean and wash with, these extra minerals can lead to a bad taste as well as irksome and costly problems. If you leave your drinking glass on your countertop for a few minutes and the cloudiness does not dissipate, the root cause could be hard water. The only way to truly diagnose this problem is to get your tap water tested.
Sediment or Particulates
As your tap water makes its way from your municipal water provider or your private well, it could be picking up excess silt or sediment. If these are not properly dissolved in your water, they could lead to a cloudy or discolored appearance. Fill a clear drinking glass with tap water and if you don’t notice the color or transparency improving over 24 hours, get your tap water tested. Drinking tap water with undissolved sediment is not necessarily dangerous, but the excess organic matter can create an environment for bacteria and pathogens to grow.
How Do I Treat Discolored Water? Schedule a free in-home water test by our Wolverine Water experts to help identify the root cause of your water problem. Our fast and comprehensive test can help identify hard water, iron, sulfur, bacterial iron, fertilizers, pesticides, nitrates, and other impurities. You will have your test results in just 20 minutes. Then, our team will help you identify the system that will work best for you, whether it’s a whole home water filtration system or an undersink reverse osmosis drinking water unit.