Whether you get your water from a well or a city supply, it’s important to make sure that the water in your home is sanitary at all times. Over the years, we’ve run into some complaints from city residents who say that their water has a gritty texture that resembles dirt when they drink it. When asked, we sometimes struggle to come up with a definitive answer. The “dirt” taste in water can be extremely subjective and can also come from multiple locations. Hence, we hesitate to ever pinpoint the problem to any one source. However, there are some common reasons why your water may have that “dirt” taste that we’ve outlined in today’s blog.
The first step in determining the problem, is figuring out whether the “dirt” taste exists in your entire plumbing or just one single source. Test the water in multiple faucets and compare the taste of each one. If only one of your faucets seems to be guilty of the dirt taste, then it could very well be a problem with your faucet aerator, the tiny cylinder that is screwed to the end of your faucet head. Try unscrewing your aerator and then giving the water another try. Does the water still taste like dirt? If not, bacteria has probably just gathered in your aerator giving the water a less than favorable taste. To fix this, simply soak your current aerator in bleach or replace it with a new one. The choice is all your’s.
If the water tastes bad from all water sources in your house, then perhaps it is coming from your city water supply or well. To be blunt, “if it smells and tastes like dirt, it’s probably dirt.” Sometimes sediment from your water supply may find its way through your plumbing. Luckily, this can be fixed by applying a simple water filter to your faucets.
Does you water still taste like soil? We’re not giving up just yet. Often times the problem can simply be attributed to algae bloom. If you haven’t noticed the taste until the summer time, this is most likely what’s going on with your plumbing. When warmer weather creeps in, algae begins to form at the bottom of lakes, wells and other water sources. While this algae is normally filtered out, there is usually a very small amount of residue that is left over. The result: people with extremely sensitive taste buds may be able to detect these tastes and smells. While they are harmless, it can certainly be annoying to drink. This can be fixed with a simple water filter as well for the summer months. Once the weather cools down, you should be able to remove your filter and enjoy your water without wincing every sip.
Anothing thing to consider when trying to figure out why your water tastes dirty is the age of your plumbing systems. If you have older pipes, the dirt you taste could have originated from copper, iron or lead pipes that carry your water to your faucets. These elements may find their way into your water supply thus causing your water to taste funny and perhaps come out discolored (normally rusted). While copper and iron are safe to drink in low concentrations, you should stop drinking your water immediately if you have reason to believe the taste is from lead pipes. To get rid of harmful lead substances in your water supply some sources suggest using a carbon filter. Even if you get a filter you should have your water tested immediately for any lead substances.
If you still have concerns about the quality of your water, consider sending a sample off to a testing lab. Some labs such as Budget Water will actually test your water for free. As well, a local plumber may be able to come out and assess the situation. Don’t be afraid to exercise these options if you are worried it could be something serious.