Milky or cloudy water from faucets may result from harmless microscopic air bubbles. Although the water may be safe for consumption, sometimes it can be a serious warning sign. You can’t tell the exact cause of cloudy drinking water by looking at it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get the water tested to ensure there are no harmful contaminants in your water. The good news is there are various tests your plumbing service can do to help determine the cause. Below are some common reasons for cloudy drinking water and how to solve the problem.
1. Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
TSS refers to small solids that do not settle to the bottom but remain suspended in water. These small solids may include sediment, iron, clay, silt, algae, and manganese. High levels of total suspended solids can often mean high concentrations of metals, pesticides, nutrients, or bacteria in your water. You may experience this problem in case of recent construction or disturbance close to your water supply. One of the common signs of high TSS is water becoming clear after passing it through an ordinary filtration system.
Although there are no measurement standards for TSS in drinking water, these solids can cause bacteria growth. While a bag water filter or a standard cartridge can help eliminate total suspended solids when the cloudiness is moderate, multi-level water filtration is the best solution for severe cloudiness in your tap water.
2. Methane Gas
The other reason for cloudy drinking water is methane gas. This gas is odorless, colorless, and lighter than air. And it naturally occurs in well water. Methane contamination in your water supply can also happen if you live in an area where gas or oil mining is happening. Water sputtering from one of your faucets or white air bubbles in the water are some of the common signs of methane-contaminated water. The cloudiness in drinking water contaminated with methane gas is mainly due to air bubble formations that occur when the natural gas escapes into the surrounding air. Luckily, methane is a highly flammable substance, and it rises fast to the top and dispels when you expose the water to air.
Although methane gas is a more dangerous reason for cloudy tap water, it is not a common cause. You can buy a methane gas detector and immediately test the air surrounding the water because methane gas levels in the water matter. It is also advisable to contact your local authorities when you suspect methane contamination in your water. A professional will come and test your water to determine the methane gas levels. In the meantime, you should ensure your house is well-ventilated when you turn on your faucets to run the washing machine or dishwasher.
3. Air Bubbles
The most common cause of cloudy drinking water is the presence of air bubbles. These tiny air bubbles get dispersed via the water, which can happen when air gets trapped in your pipes after repairs or other recent plumbing works. When your plumber cuts open a water pipe, high pressure from outside will force air into that pipe, mixing with your water to create air bubbles that eventually cloud. The amount of trapped air in your water can also be due to increased water pressure. Faucets or taps with high water pressure are usually prone to cloudy water. Increased water pressure makes the air more soluble, leading to more air bubbles formations, thus making your water look cloudy.
Modern low-flow faucets will add air to increase the pressure without increasing the water volume. This saves you money but it also makes bubbles in the supply a very common experience.
To check if there’s air in your water supply, open your tap, fill a glass with water, and allow it to sit for several minutes. If your water clears starting from the bottom and becomes completely clear after a couple of minutes, the issue is most likely air bubbles. You can run your front garden tap for several minutes to alleviate this problem. Air bubbles in your water are harmless unless they come from an ozone water purification system. If you do have an ozone system, wait for the bubbles to dispel before drinking the water.
4. Hard Water
If you live in an area with hard water, your drinking water may sometimes appear milky or cloudy. Hard water contains elevated levels of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. While these minerals may leave your water with an undesirable taste, it is safe for consumption. Greyish-white coatings on dishes and sinks and less soap foaming are signs you have hard water in your area. Hard water causes scale build-up on hot water pipes, boilers, and fittings. To minimize undesirable scale formations in your hot water systems, the hardness in your water shouldn’t exceed 200mg/L.
The other factors influencing water hardness effects include the kind of minerals present, temperature, alkalinity, and dissolved oxygen. If some of these factors combine, your water may become corrosive, especially if it is too soft. Have your plumber install a reverse-osmosis filtration system to fix the hard water problem. These systems effectively and safely eliminate the extra minerals in the water to make it less cloudy. A whole-home reverse-osmosis filtration system can also remove harmful bacteria or chemicals in your water.
5. Cold Weather
Your drinking water can also become cloudy when the weather outside is extremely cold. That’s because the air solubility in the water rises as the outdoor temperature decreases. During the cold winter months, water travels from an ice-cold reservoir to the taps and can warm up along the way. Since warm air holds less air than cold water, some air will not be soluble and will get released. As a result, the water that will come out of your taps will be cloudy or milky.
6. Sediment Build-up
Minerals and sediment can accumulate in your water heating system over time. If you are experiencing cloudy water only when you turn on the hot water taps, sediment build-up may be the culprit. If you suspect mineral and sediment build-up are the reasons for the cloudy water, consider installing a sediment filter. Nevertheless, if the build-up is in your water heater, you must address the issue directly. Call your plumber to inspect your water heater. Depending on the system’s condition, the professional can either recommend complete maintenance of the unit or a replacement of the water heater.
Partner With the Plumbing Experts Today!
Most of the time, milky or cloudy water from faucets is caused by microscopic air bubbles, and the water is normally safe to drink. However, other causes might be related to your water heater, water pressure, sediment build-up, cold weather, your local water supply, and methane gas. Having your home’s water tested by experts is a good way to determine if the water is safe for consumption or not.
Contact the professionals at Huft Home Services today if you have any doubts or warning signs about your water supply. These experts will test your water to determine the cause of the cloudiness and the most efficient solutions. Apart from water testing, we also offer cooling, heating, plumbing, air quality, and electrical services throughout Sacramento, CA, and the surrounding regions. Call us today to learn more about the causes of cloudy water or order any other service on our list.