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Why Does My Tap Water Look Cloudy?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Learn Why Your Tap Water Is Cloudy and What to Do About It

Ideally, the water that comes out of your faucet is always safe to drink and cook with, as well as bathe in. Having nothing to worry about when it comes to the water quality of your home is always preferable. Alas, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, you have cloudy tap water. And you are worried if it is safe to drink, and if there’s anything you can do to fix it. Well, we’re here to find out!  Let’s find out the reason behind the milky water from your tap and what to do about it.

Cloudy dirty water in glass
Check out the list below for the most common causes your tap water can be cloudy.

Common Causes of Milky Water From Tap

Why does your tap water look milky? There are several possible reasons for that. Some of the most common are:

Air Bubbles in the Pipes

The most common cause of cloudy tap water is aeration. The water turns milky when there’s air in the pipes, which possibly means you have high water pressure.

When there’s excess pressure, the air becomes more soluble and that results in air bubbles forming. But don’t worry because the cloudy water should clear just after a few seconds if the cause is air bubbles.

You also don’t have to worry about drinking it as it is safe to consume. However, it’s important to take note of it as it may indicate other problems. Moreover, high water pressure can take a toll on your home appliances.

Cold Weather

Chilled weather could also be a cause of milky water from the tap. It might be the culprit behind your cloudy tap water if it happened during late autumn and winter when temperatures get low to freezing. Cold weather can cause tap water to look cloudy due to air solubility.

The solubility of air increases due to extreme cold weather. But remember that the cloudy tap water should soon clear up when it warms if it’s due to chilled weather. If not, then the cause of the problem is something else.

Cloudy water investigate and fix tips
See our list of common repair tips for cloudy tap water.

Hard Water

Hard water is another common cause of cloudy tap water. Hard water has high levels of various minerals, including calcium and magnesium. Because of that, water from the tap doesn’t have the clean, crisp taste that people usually expect.

It also leaves a light gray coating on sinks, bathtubs, and fixtures. Bathing in this particular water is also not great as it leaves skin dry and itchy while the hair becomes brittle. It’s likely the cause of your cloudy tap water if it doesn’t clear up after a few minutes.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons why your tap water may look cloudy, along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to fix it.

Sediment Build-Up

Another common cause of tap water looking cloudy is calcium carbonate or sediment. Minerals and sediment leave water cloudy and looking unsafe to drink. It doesn’t look fit for drinking, especially since it remains cloudy all the time.

Unlike air bubbles or methane gas, cloudy tap water due to sediment buildup will have an opaque look no matter how long it sits in a glass. The good thing is you can fix this on your own by flushing your water heater regularly.

Methane Gas

It is not common for household water to have methane gas. But if you live in Wisconsin, it might be an issue for you. This is because methane gas is often present in water supplies close to fracking sites.

However, methane gas can also be introduced to household water through contaminated groundwater. This chemical is highly flammable but quickly dissipates into the air. If the cloudiness quickly clears, but air pressure or aeration isn’t the issue with your tap water, there is a good chance methane gas is the culprit.

Cloudy water from tap causes
Each of these solutions could fix your cloudy tap water issues.

What to Do if You Have Cloudy Tap Water

Your tap water is likely safe to drink even if it comes out cloudy. But since there’s still the possibility of contamination, it’s a good idea to find out why the water comes out milky and to do something about it.

Remove the Air Bubbles

Air bubbles aren’t a big problem. You can quickly get rid of the air in the water by setting the glass down for a few minutes. The air bubbles should clear out within a few minutes and you’ll feel confident that the tap water is safe to drink.

Use a Sediment Filter

If the problem is sediment buildup, you can install a sediment filter on your faucet to get rid of the cloudiness in the tap. The filter uses activated carbon cartridges, which trap the particles in the water improving its taste and purity.

Check Your Source of Water

If your source of water is a private well, there are a number of things that could cause cloudy tap water. One reason is that it isn’t treated for contaminants, unlike municipal systems.

There could also be chemicals and harmful residue inside the well. You will have to find out what by taking a sample to a lab and getting it tested. The lab often offers treatment options as well, so follow their recommendations.

Test for Methane Gas

It’s less likely your water source has methane gas but it’s not impossible. You can find out by filling a jug with tap water and setting it aside for about an hour, allowing the gas to rise. After an hour, light a match at the top of the water.

A flame will flare up if there is methane in the water since this chemical is flammable. In this case, you will need a plumber’s assistance to install an aerator on your waterline. The aerator lets the gas escape safely into the air, leaving you with clearer tap water.

Cloudy Tap Water FAQs

Is Cloudy Tap Water Safe to Drink?

If the reason why your tap water is cloudy is aeration, chilled weather, sediment buildup, water hardness, and other non-serious issues, then yes, it is safe to drink. But if the water is cloudy with bad colors like green, yellow or brown, it may have contaminants. In that case, it’s not safe to drink. You’ll have peace of mind about tap safety by getting the water tested.

Why Is Cold Water Cloudy?

Cold water can appear cloudy for several reasons. Some of these reasons include sedimentation, aeration, methane gas contamination, hardness of water, or simply because of chilled weather. Whichever is the cause of your cloudy cold water, know that it is completely safe to drink.

Is Cloudy Hot Water Normal?

Yes. It is normal for hot tap water to turn cloudy sometimes. It often happens when there are minerals and sediment buildup inside the tank of the water heater. It is safe to drink, but if you’re worried about cloudy water, you can have the dirty water flushed out with a plumber’s help.

Who Should I Call if I Have Cloudy Tap Water?

You can call a plumber to help out with your cloudy tap water problem. However, we suggest that you double-check first and confirm if you really do have a more serious issue, not simply because of trapped air bubbles or cold weather. Try doing a test – get some of the tap water into a transparent glass and see if the cloudiness clears after a while. If it’s still cloudy after 24 hours, then there is likely an issue. You can call your local water company if something’s wrong with the water supply.

Hire a Local Plumbing Pro

The methods above are effective DIY tips to investigate, diagnose, and fix your cloudy tap water. But if you need professional help, then don’t hesitate to contact a local plumbing pro using the phone number or form on this page.

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