Got Nasty Tap Water? The Taste Tells You What's In It

March 14, 2017

Got Nasty Tap Water? The Taste Tells You What's in It

Here’s a mystery: Florida’s water is safe to drink but tastes nasty. Why?

The answer lies in what the EPA has nicknamed “nuisance chemicals”. These annoying chemicals plague our water but since they only affect the taste of the water and not the quality, they aren’t always removed.

Fortunately, though, you can get rid of those icky-tasting contaminants in your water. Here’s how:

  1. Do a taste test to identify which contaminants you taste in your tap water. Once you know what contaminants you’re dealing with...
  2. Choose the appropriate water filtration solution to remove those contaminants.

So, ready for some tap water tasting?

If your water tastes salty or bitter... likely have a high amount of “TDS” (Total Dissolved Solids) in your water.

TDS is basically the presence of dissolved minerals in your water. These minerals include:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Bicarbonates
  • Chlorides
  • Sulfates

The EPA suggests that the level of TDS in tap water never exceed 500mg/L. Your water may have more or less than this amount because the EPA can’t really enforce this standard strictly.

Other signs of high TDS in tap water are water discoloration and the presence of mineral deposits on water appliances.

How to remove TDS from your water

Reverse osmosis systems can remove total dissolved solids in your tap water. However, these systems are expensive to install and waste a large amount of water.

Our professional advice is to leave TDS in your tap water. Why? Natural minerals like calcium and magnesium are good for you and having a moderate level of TDS in your water can actually keep you healthy.

If your water has a metallic taste... likely have a high amount of natural metals in your tap water (go figure).

Natural metals that might be in your tap water include:

  • Copper (EPA suggests no more than 1.0 mg/L)
  • Iron (EPA suggests no more than 3 mg/L)
  • Zinc (EPA suggests no more than 5 mg/L)
  • Manganese (EPA suggests no more than .05 mg/L)

Other signs that you have a high amount of natural metal in your tap water include discolored water or stains on appliances that are bluish-green, orange, or brown/black in color.

How to remove metals from your water

To get rid of natural metals in your water, you’ll need a water softener.

However, sometimes, natural metals in your water may mean you need to repipe your home. The presence of copper or iron in your water can be a sign of corroding pipes. Have a professional examine your plumbing if you think you have high levels of copper or iron in your water.

Related: 5 Signs Your Old Florida Home Needs New Plumbing

If your water tastes like bleach... likely have a high amount of chloramine in your tap water.

Chloramine is used as a disinfectant in tap water and is formed by mixing ammonia with chlorine. According to the EPA, chloramine levels shouldn’t exceed 4 mg/L. And unlike the other contaminants we’ve talked about so far, chloramine levels in tap water are strictly enforced across the US.

Not all water treatment facilities use chloramine but according to the "2015 Drinking Quality Report", Sarasota County tap water contained 3.2 mg/L of chloramine.

How to remove chloramine from your water

To remove chloramine from your tap water, you’ll need a granular activated carbon or a catalytic carbon filtration system.

The Halo Filter System provides both of these filtration systems in its 5-stage whole-home filtration and conditioning system. In fact, this system reduces chloramines, chlorine, and chlorination by-products from all of your household water.

Want an accurate picture of what's in your tap water?

A water quality test will tell you all of the contaminants present in your water. Once you know what’s in your water, you can make wiser decisions about how to get fresher-tasting water in your home. 

Posted in: Troubleshooting

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