4 Signs to Stop Using Your Home’s Tap Water

In California, most people need not worry about their drinking water. If you drink from the tap, municipal water is safe to drink. However, just because municipally sourced water is safe doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get contaminated between the treatment center and your home, especially as it moves through your residential pipes.

We’re not trying to freak you out or make you think twice about your drinking water, but we do want to point out possible signs of problems because sometimes things happen. In this post, we discuss four ways that make it easy to tell if something isn’t right with your home’s tap water.

Cloudy Tap Water

Tap water should always look clear. Anytime it looks cloudy, don’t drink it or use it for cooking. Instead, put it to the side for about five minutes and wait to see if the cloudiness goes away. Sometimes a build-up of trapped air causes tap water to look milky or cloudy. If this is what’s happening, the cloudiness should go away within a few minutes.

What should you do if the milkiness persists? Often, cloudy water is a sign of hard water that has an abundance of magnesium and calcium. Although these minerals don’t pose a physical threat, they can cloud your water. Do you have a water softener? If so, check to make sure it’s working correctly, and it has the right amount of salt in it.

Another thing to consider is the state of your home’s water delivery pipes. Sometimes these pipes get dirty from sand or dirt. If this is what’s happening, it’s probably because there’s a leak in the water main line coming into your home. Call a plumber to figure out exactly what’s happening if you can’t get the cloudiness to go away on its own.

The Water Tastes Weird

The most common description we get when someone says their water tastes weird is that is tastes like metal. Usually, when your water tastes like metal, it’s because there is metal in the water. Where is the metal coming from? It’s likely that iron, manganese, or zinc deposits got into the water. This usually happens after municipal sources have treated the water, so it’s not a city problem. If all your water tastes like metal, you need to consider the possibility of your water lines being corroded or rusted. When this happens, tiny metal flakes get into the water as it passes through the affected pipes.

Sometimes only hot water has this taste. If this is happening in your home, it’s possible the water needs flushing. You can flush the water heater yourself or hire a plumber to do the job. After the flushing, do you still taste metal? If so, you could have a rusted tank and need water heater replacement. Have a plumber come out to inspect your water heater and also your supply lines. It’s always a good idea to hire a pro to make sure you don’t miss something.

Smelly Water

Treated tap water doesn’t have a smell. If it does, something isn’t right. Figuring out what’s wrong is the next step. The good news is different water pollutants have different smells. For example, if your water tastes like metal, it probably smells like metal too. Another common smell that people call us about is a musty smell. If you smell this, your tap water could have algae blooms. Some people complain of their water smelling like rotten eggs. This happens when bacteria get in the water heater. The last smell we want to mention is a salty smell, which too much salt in the water softener causes.

To address the problem, you need to identify the smell. Once you figure out what the water smells like, you can make adjustments. For example, you can adjust the water softener if the water’s too salty. If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting smelly water, contact a licensed plumber to help you out.


Your home’s tap water shouldn’t stain your tubs, sinks, or any other surface. If you notice stains or scummy residue, you need to figure out the source of the problem. The most common stains we’re asked about are orange-ish stains that show up in bathtubs, on shower walls, and in toilets. There are two possible reasons for these stains. The first reason is you have hard water, and it needs treated using a water softener or filtration methods. The second possibility is copper or iron has leached into the water because of corroded or rusted water supply pipes. Clogged supply pipes also cause these issues.

Now, if you have a chalky residue, this is because of magnesium and calcium and another sign you have hard water. As we mentioned earlier, if you have a water softener, check to make sure it’s working and programmed correctly. If everything looks good call a plumber for further investigation.

Why You Need to Take Water Quality Seriously

Sure, you can buy bottled water and call it a day, but you need to figure out what’s going on as soon as possible. The last thing you want is polluted water running through your pipes. The signs we mentioned in this post are not exhaustive by any means. There are plenty of other water issues that affect your home’s tap water. If you have questions about your water quality, pipes, or other parts of your residential plumbing system, call Wise Choice Plumbing & Rooter. We have 24-hour plumbers available to assist you right now. Call us right away at (888) 668-8922 for residential plumbing service in Southern California.