Why Does Your Water Taste Weird?

Why Does Your Water Taste Weird?
If you turn on the tap looking forward to a fresh glass of water, but its off-taste makes you dump it out, you probably wonder what’s wrong with your water.

A weird taste in your drinking water is a symptom worth investigating before it ends up affecting your health or your home. Whether it’s a recurring issue or something new, there are common reasons your water might taste bad, and treatments available to solve the problem.

No matter if the taste is metallic or bitter, salty or sweet, the key to treating the symptom is identifying the cause of the issue.

Common reasons why your water might taste weird

You may be worried when there’s a strange taste in your water, but it may not be so much cause for alarm, as a nuisance. While many contaminants can affect the taste of your water, the truth is some of the most harmful don’t leave any obvious trace of taste or smell, including arsenic, nitrates, lead, and viruses. A weird taste to investigate can be a helpful sign to point in the right direction for treatment.

The following are possible causes of a weird taste in your water.

Iron or Manganese

If you get your water from a private well, it may contain naturally occurring contaminants such as iron and manganese. Effects may include not only a metallic taste, but also reddish, brownish, or blackish staining on your fixtures and appliances.

Copper, Zinc, pH imbalance

Another cause of metallic or bitter tastes in your water may be the presence of copper or zinc. These substances may leach into your water from the corrosion of galvanized (steel dipped in a protective zinc coating) or copper plumbing.

The root cause of the corrosion of the metals may be low pH, or acidic, water. Conversely, when your pH is high, or alkaline, your water may taste sweet.

Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride

The high levels of calcium and magnesium that make water very hard can also give it a salty taste. In certain areas, chloride compounds or saltwater may do the same. Elevated chloride levels may be due to seawater of industrial waste in the local water supply, or road salt carried into local reservoirs by melting snow and rain. The leakage of sewage into your water supply can also cause sodium and chloride levels to spike.

It’s also possible for high levels of calcium to make your water taste sweet.

TDS, Sulfates

The measure of minerals dissolved in your water is total dissolved solids (TDS). If you have an elevated level of TDS in your water, it may give it a bitter or medicinal taste. Sulfates in particular may taste objectionable, and levels above 250 ppm may cause health issues, including a laxative effect. A high level of sulfates may also be perceived as salty.

Identifying the issue by taste

Your description of the specific taste of your water provides clues to its origin.

Why does my water taste like metal?

The most likely reason for a metallic smell in your water is the presence of trace metals. Often the result of plumbing rust or corrosion, your first step should be to test your water to identify whether you’re dealing with iron, copper, zinc, or some other metal. It’s also possible your water is acidic, which can corrode copper or bronze plumbing over time.

Learn more about why your water might taste like metal

Why does my water taste salty?

The taste of salt in your water may actually be from salt. High concentrations of chloride in your water can occur naturally in groundwater, or be from an intrusion of seawater, or run-off from road salts. High levels of magnesium sulfate or sodium sulfate may also be a source for the taste of salt.

A reason for concern would be if the salty taste is an indicator of elevated chloride levels from sewage leaking into your water supply, which would be a severe health risk. If you suspect this is a possibility, it’s recommended you have your water tested for Total Coliform to tell you if you have microbiological contaminants.

Learn more about why your water might taste salty

Why does my water taste sweet?

There are a few different reasons your water might taste sweet. If your water’s pH is above the recommended range of 6.5-8.5, the alkalinity may give it a sweet aftertaste. A second potential source of sweet taste may be elevated levels of minerals such as calcium or iron. It’s also possible that your plumbing is lending the water a sweet taste, and just needs to be flushed. You can try running your water for a while before you use it to see if it eliminates the issue.

It may even be the case that something you’ve eaten recently is affecting your sense of taste.

Learn more about why your water might taste sweet 

Why consider testing your water

As tempting as it may be to just use clues to guess your water issues, it’s important to actually test your water to know for sure. Even if you’re pretty sure you’ve identified the source of the weird taste in your water, there may be other contaminants lurking that you should address.

Only when you’ve identified the actual contaminants in your water can you choose the appropriate treatment solution.

Expert Water Analysis with Tier1 Rapid Water Lab Test Analysis

Identify why your water tastes weird so you can fix it

When you encounter a weird taste in your water, you may be right to be concerned. The common reasons for strange tastes include both generally harmless contaminants, and more serious issues. While you can follow clues to guess what the cause of the taste is, the only way to identify specific contaminants and their level of concentration in your water is to test it.

Once you’ve confirmed the issue, you can choose the proper water filtration solution to resolve it. Tier1 offers the products you need to fix your water problems..

If you’d like a personalized recommendation for your home, the Tier1Water Technical Support Team is available to chat or answer your call at Tier1water.com.