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Why Is My Faucet Water Cloudy?

Worried about tap water that comes out a little milky and cloudy?

If so, you’re likely dealing with one of these 4 issues:

  1. Air bubbles
  2. Hard water
  3. Total suspended solids (TSS)
  4. Methane gas

Not sure which problem you’re having? We’ll help by showing you the signs of each issue above. We’ll also show you what you can do to get rid of each problem.

Need a professional plumber to check out your water supply?

Cause #1: Air bubbles

Signs your have air bubbles in your faucet water:

Fill up a glass of water and let it sit for a few minutes. Watch the water. If the water clears from the bottom up and becomes completely clear after a few minutes, the problem is most likely just air bubbles.

Excess air bubbles can get into your faucet water due to:

  • Trapped air in your plumbing
  • Recent plumbing work
  • Increased water pressure in your home’s plumbing

How to get rid of it:

Actually, air bubbles in water is a completely harmless issue so there’s no need to do anything. But if the air bubbles are a nuisance, ask a plumber to recommend possible solutions such as installing an air elimination valve.

Cause #2: Hard water

Signs you have hard water: 

  • Cloudy water in a glass never clears
  • You see white spots on glass dishes after washing them
  • You have to use extra laundry detergent, otherwise your clothes are stiff and discolored after washing
  • White or discolored mineral deposits build on water appliances over time 
Mineral deposits on a sink faucet aerator.​​

Hard water is water that has a high amount of dissolved minerals in it (mostly calcium and magnesium). And because Sarasota has notoriously hard water, this could be the issue behind your cloudy faucet water. 

How does water become “hard”? Well, when rainwater falls, it travels along the ground until it hits a water source (a river, lake, etc.). But as it travels along the ground, it picks up sediment from the terrain. And if the terrain in your area is rich in calcium or magnesium (such as limestone or chalk), you likely have hard water.

Note: If you don’t live in the Sarasota area, use the map below to determine whether or not your area has hard water.

Hard Water Map

If your location is colored in red, white or blue, you most likely have hard water. So your cloudy faucet water is likely due to high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium.

Source

How to get rid of it:

Have a plumber install a whole-home reverse osmosis filtration system. These systems remove the extra minerals in your water to make your water less cloudy. A reverse osmosis filtration system also removes harmful chemicals or bacteria that can make its way into your water.

Related: Water Softening vs Reverse Osmosis: What’s the Difference?

Cause #3: High “TSS” concentration

Signs you have high levels of TSS in your faucet water:

  • Water becomes clear after passing through a standard water filter
  • There’s recently been construction, drilling activity or other ground disturbance near your municipal water supply

So, what exactly is “TSS”? TSS stands for total suspended solids and refers to all the extremely small solids in water that stay “suspended” in the water (don’t ever settle to the bottom).

Some of these solids include:

  • Silt
  • Sediment
  • Clay
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Algae

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t provide a standard for TSS measurement in drinking water, unusual cloudiness due to TSS can lead to bacteria growth.

How to get rid of it:

Use a standard cartridge or bag water filter for less severe cloudiness. For more severe cloudiness, you may need to use a multi-level media water filtration

Cause #4: Methane Gas

Signs you have methane gas in your faucet water:

  • You use well water
  • Water sputtering from faucet
  • White air bubbles in your water

Methane is a natural gas that can occur naturally in well water. This gas is colorless, odorless and tasteless. According to the U.S. Department of Interior, methane levels in drinking water:

  • Below 10 mg/L is considered safe
  • Between 10 mg/L and 28 mg/L should be regularly monitored
  • Over 28 mg/L requires immediate action (to lower methane levels)

How to get rid of it:

If you think you have methane gas in your drinking water, you’ll want to have a professional test the water to measure the exact methane gas levels. 

According to the Penn State Extension Water Quality Department, If a water test confirms that methane levels in your water is:

  • Below 7 mg/L, you should continue routine testing but no action is necessarily needed
  • Between 7 mg/L and 28 mg/L, you should install a vented well cap
  • Higher than 28 mg/L, you should install an aeration system

Need your water tested? Ask a Sarasota plumber

Want to know what’s making your faucet water cloudy? Contact us for a free water quality test (a $;59 value).

We’ll tell you if anything harmful is in your water and give you professional advice on water quality solutions.

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