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clean drinking water versus unclean cloudy water

What is the cloudy water in my tap?

Cloudy water an issue in your home?

Never fear, No Probs Plumbing & Electrical is here.

Often people panic, I mean cloudy water, sounds delicious right?

Said no-one EVER…

At No Probs, we understand your concern so to help put your mind at ease, follow on below for tips on what cloudy water is and how to deal with it in your home.  

Growing up in the western world we are lucky as Australians to have access to such crisp clean drinking water. Considering only around 3% of the world’s total water mass is safe to consume, I’d say we have it pretty good here.

Family drinking water together

But at times, even with this luxury, our water can be susceptible to changes in transparency and become cloudy in nature. This is more technically referred to as turbidity or in plain English terms – cloudy water.

Cloudy water generally appears milky or off white in nature and can be caused by a variety of different reasons.

The main 3 reasons for cloudy water are;

  • Air Bubbles
  • Hard water
  • Sediment

But before you start jumping to conclusions and start pulling things apart, it’s important to note that if the cloudy water is coming from a single fixture or tap, then it’s likely to be just that fixture that is the issue. 

Cloudy hot water may be an indication that your hot water unit needs repairing. While an issue with your entire system may be a result of one of the 3 instances mentioned above.

Air Bubbles in your tap water.

Finding air bubbles in your tap water is the most likely scenario for cloudy water in your system. This occurs due to tiny air particles becoming trapped inside pressurised water pipes. The air particles convert to air bubbles and disperse through the water causing it to become cloudy in nature.

Clean drinking water at home

Air bubbles are harmless and can generally go away on their own overtime, but this is not always the case. In some cases, you may require a plumber to flush the water mains to alleviate any air particles from your plumbing system.

The main causes of air bubbles in your system are likely due to:

  • Trapped air particles in your plumbing system
  • Recent plumbing work carried out around the house or on plumbing mains nearby
  • An increase in your home’s water pressure

To check if air is the issue with your plumbing system, an easy tip is to fill a glass of water. Leave it for a few minutes to settle while keeping a close eye on the water itself. If the water starts to clear from the bottom up in the next few minutes, then it’s highly likely air bubbles are the culprit. If the problem is not resolved after a few days, give your local professional plumber a call.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water refers to the presence of minerals and other ion deposits in your water supply system. The “harder” the water, the higher traces of mineral deposits present. Ground water often passes through limestone and other minerals, where it collects calcium and magnesium deposits. 

Iron deposits and some other mineral traces can also be present in your water supply picked up through soil, lakes, and rivers. A lack of routine maintenance on your plumbing system allowing your plumbing pipes to corrode can also be a reason for your system to produce harder water.

Potential signs that hard water may be present in your home:

  • Cloudy water in a glass never disappears
  • Your water tastes or smells “funny”
  • Strange stains – particularly around your toilet bowl (iron build up from rusted pipes)
  • Mineral build up around appliances and water fixtures
  • Never ending soap scum – white spots on dishes, benches etc.
  • Steel water pipes keep getting clogged (if applicable)
  • Family skin irritation – eczema
  • Clothes appear stiff and scratchy requiring more laundry detergent to clean

“The Australian drinking water guidelines define elevated hardness as 200 milligrams of calcium and magnesium salts per litre of water”. When measuring levels of hardness in water, a normal range sits between 0 – 60 mg/l. In Perth, water is considered hard as measurements generally range from 120 – 180mg/l, in some places even more. So, if you’re from Perth, like me, there is a good chance you could be dealing with the effects of hard water around your home and may not even know!

How to fix hard water in your home.

It’s important to recognise that cleaning plumbing lines and other band-aid fixes will NOT fix the problem of hard water. To help alleviate the problem you will have to do one of two things:

  • Invest in a water softener. A whole house reverse-osmosis filtration system is great for removing extra minerals, chemicals, bacteria, and other nasties from your water supply and improving water transparency.
  • Invest in an adequate filtration system that attaches to your tap or sink to remove specific minerals from your water.
clean drinking water system

Although water hardness at times can cause some issues, a lot of people actually prefer harder water. The minerals in the water give it taste with cities looking to provide a balance of safe and pleasant drinking water when treating their water supplies. 

Sediment in your tap water can send it cloudy.

As Perth locals, when you run a tap, around 40% of that water comes from groundwater, 45% from the desalination plant and a measly 15% from our local dams. As this water passes through the network, sediment in the form of sand, small stones or other minute particles can be picked up and enter your home’s water supply.

Although this sediment looks dirty and visually unpleasant, at lower concentrations it is quite harmless and safe to use.

That’s unless you source your water from a private water supply like an underground bore or well. Harmful bacteria and other waterborne diseases can be shielded by the sediment even after sterilising the water with a UV filter. In this case, it may be best to contact a trained professional to help alleviate the issue and advise you on how to proceed further.   

If sediment or other undissolved solids appear brown, yellow, or green and are found in high concentrations, then it’s likely you may have an issue with bacteria, pesticides, minerals, or metals in the water. If this is the case, it could be dangerous, so contact your local plumber immediately.

When at home, a great way to test if you have sediment in your water is to pour a glass of water and check for particles. Unlike air bubbles, as the sediment does not fully dissolve, the particles are unlikely to clear easily making it possible to see visually.

If you have sediment or other particles floating around in your water, you have a few options

Safety first!

As explained previously, cloudy water is generally caused by air bubbles, hard water, or sediment. At times, cloudiness is caused by factors totally out of our control. But what is certain, is that installing a reverse-osmosis filtration system or similar system will help improve water purity, softness, and safety. 

For more information on filtration systems and how they can improve your quality of life, or anything else plumbing or electrical, contact us at No Probs Plumbing on 9315 5545.