Why does my tap water taste weird?

Jul 23 , 2014
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It can stop you in your tracks. You fill up a glass of water from the kitchen sink and start to drink, but the water tastes… metallic? Rusty? Moldy?? It’s enough to make you buy bottled water indefinitely.

In Los Angeles, city tap water is regarded to be pretty safe. The general rap is that there are trace amounts of bacteria, but they’re so small and un-detectable by our bodies that there’s no need to worry.

So what then causes tap water to taste weird? While it may not be bad for us, knowing what we’re ingesting is never a bad idea.

Minerals

L.A. has its share of old homes, which means old pipes as well. While pipes don’t threaten to contaminate our tap water necessarily, they can affect the taste. Over time, certain kinds of metal contained within a pipe will impart their taste into the water flowing through them. In particular, high levels of copper or iron are often the cause of an off taste.

However, newer homes aren’t immune either. In new development on Los Angeles’ Westside, residents sometimes encounter metallic-flavored water due to a lack of lime precipitate, a chalky substance that provides a layer between the pipe and the water, and prevents corrosion. If your water tastes unusual over a long period of time, call the best plumber West Los Angeles has to offer. Hammer Plumbing and Drain can inspect your pipes, and determine if they’re causing irregularities in your tap water.

Particles

Have you ever poured yourself a drink, only to find that it felt like imbibing sand? Grit is not an uncommon discovery in tap water. While it’s not considered harmful, it can be a little disconcerting for any homeowner. What exactly grit entails is not entirely clear, though enough experts agree that sand is the leading cause of that gravely sensation.

If you’ve seen (but probably not tasted) black particles in your water, this could be something completely different. The explanation may be less scary than you think, but it’s still slightly unsettling. These bits are most likely caused by the gradual breakdown of rubber parts from within your plumbing’s fixtures.

Algae

Perhaps the most alarming taste of tap water can be mold. If you’ve ever experienced this, you know the mild panic that sets in after you drink the water. How dangerous is it exactly?

Officially, it’s completely harmless. It’s only bad for you in so far that it tastes off. There may also be some comfort in knowing what causes it.

In certain parts of the country during the summer, algae blooms along reservoirs and rivers (i.e., the community’s sources of water). This algae is swept up in the water that’s re-directed to our homes. However, any bacteria is removed before it reaches our pipes, thereby ensuring its safety. If you can’t take the taste, your best bet is to buy a water filter.

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