What causes cloudy water?
When you turn on your kitchen faucet, you probably expect delicious, crystal clear water to come flowing out. Unfortunately, sometimes tap water can look milky or cloudy. Don’t worry – there are solutions! And, since every good solution starts with identifying the problem, we’ll break down the most common causes of cloudy water into three major categories:
Water Supply Issues
Hard water comes straight from our municipal water supplies. According to USGS.gov, “Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, largely calcium and magnesium.” Don’t worry – these minerals aren’t typically bad for your health, but hard water can stain dishes and do some damage to your clothing and hair. It also can make your tap water appear cloudy! Hard water can be remedied by installing a water filtration system (AKA a water softener) and you can enjoy crystal clear, delicious water every time. We have some options listed on our website!
While cloudy water caused by hard water is relatively harmless, there are more harmful contaminants that sometimes make their way to our taps from the water supply. These are typically caused by pollution or some sort of mishap at the municipal water facility and should be reported. To be sure if you have regular hard water or something more serious going on, you can have your tap water tested for peace of mind.
Hardware or Pipe Issues
Is your water cloudy after a recent renovation or plumbing project? While this can be alarming, it is likely harmless. After new plumbing work is done, air can be trapped in the pipes for a short time. Air in the pipes can cause tiny air bubbles to come through in the tap, causing a milky or cloudy appearance in the water. There’s a neat trick for diagnosing this cause of cloudy water! Simply fill a clear glass with water from your tap. Wait 10 minutes, then check on the glass. If the water has started to clear up, then your answer is air bubbles! The air will eventually clear from your pipes and your water will return to its normal clear state.
If only one faucet is producing cloudy water, then it’s likely that there’s mineral buildup or other issues with that specific piece of hardware causing the issue. A plumber can help you diagnose the issue with the fixture or even install a brand new one for you. Then, your water should run clear again!
If your tap water is cloudy in your whole house, there is the chance that your home’s pipes may need to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. This is tricky to investigate on your own, so it’s best to call a plumber. With tools able to view the inside of your pipes, a plumber will be able to tell you if issues such as lime scale buildup can be the cause of cloudy water.
Water Heater Issues
If only the hot water is cloudy, but cold water is clear, you likely have a water heater problem. While there are a variety of water heater issues that mean your water heater may need to be replaced, which we went over in this article, discolored hot water can usually be solved with just a repair. The anode rod is a component in tanked water heaters that erodes over time as it does its job eliminating sediment from the tank. If your anode rod needs to be replaced, then sediment will build up inside your hot water tank and make your hot water cloudy. Simply call your local plumber to tackle this common part replacement.
Whatever the cause, cloudy water is certainly not what we want to see in our homes. We hope we helped you learn more about what causes cloudy water. Fortunately, some of these issues can be solved at home DIY-style. For those that require a plumber’s touch, we’ll be here when you need us! Air & Energy is a family-owned and operated company providing air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and generator services to residents in Manatee County, FL for nearly 40 years.
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