‘Most common’ reason your tap water is cloudy – ‘important indication something is wrong’

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If the problem isn’t trapped air, the reasons why your kitchen tap water might be cloudy can mean varying solutions, so the first step is discovering which, if any, of the reasons below are the cause of your water troubles. Plumbing professionals have shared their reasons as to why tap water is cloudy, and how to prevent it, plus how to spot when cloudy tap water means there is a wider problem with home heating or pipework.

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Before homeowners call a plumber to fix this issue, here is the experts’ advice.

Not only does cloudy tap water look cloudy, it could be unsafe to drink, so it’s vital to discover why tap water is cloudy before working out how to fix it, if you can. 

Harry Knowles, a plumbing coordinator at Fantastic Services working with My Plumber, noted that cloudy water can be caused by harmless air bubbles.

He said: “The most common reason why your tap water is cloudy is likely due to tiny air bubbles trapped in the pipework. 

“This can be caused by a change in your water supply’s pressure, which in turn might be as a result of a burst pipe or repair work nearby. 

“This type of cloudy tap water is completely harmless and you can drink it.”

But to be sure, the best way to check if this is the cause of the problem, Harry advised asking neighbours if they are experiencing the same issue. 

If the issue is only based within your household, homeowners may need to contact a plumber or their local water authority to rule out any pipework issues in the house.

If your water is cloudy due to trapped air in the pipework, then it is most likely that the water will naturally clear after a few minutes.

David Cruz, plumbing expert at MyJobQuote, suggests that to help release air from the pipes you should locate the cold water tap that is closest to the “internal stop tap at the first entry point to the asses on a slow, steady flow.”

He added: “Then try turning the inner stop tap on and off about four to six times while the tap is running which will hopefully release air from the pipes.”

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Although cloudy water may be harmless, Business utilities expert CEO Phil Foster at Love Energy Savings said: “It can act as an important indication that something is wrong with your pipes.”

He advised that cloudy water can be a sign of aeration that can be put down to a burst water pipe or a leak.

Ignoring this problem can be costly, as a leaky tap, for example, can cause 5,000 gallons of water loss in a year and may cause damage or damp around the leak. 

Plus, of course, it will increase water bills. The best way to identify in-house leaks is to check the pipes in your house for rust and ceilings, walls and floors for water damage.

Another harmless cause of cloudy tap water can be for those living in a hard water area, and there’s a limescale build-up in the pipes. 

Limescale is chalky white deposits, which may have formed inside faucets or pipework connected to the boiler. 

The most common way to treat this is with a water softener that filters out the hard water minerals.

Since hard water is due to a high mineral content, plumber Harry suggests removing them with a hard water filter with “polyphosphate scale inhibitors, water softeners and calcium treatment units”. 

These can be retro-fitted onto pipework and can dramatically reduce the damage that hard water can do to pipework, including the delivery of cloudy water.

The plumbing expert suggests that before calling for assistance, double check if there is a more serious issue than air bubbles trapped in pipes by running all cold water taps in the house for a few seconds. 

Next, gather some water in a transparent glass from a running tap. 

Leave the water in the glass to see if the cloudiness clears. 

If the water is still cloudy after 24 hours then there is probably an issue. 

In this case, call your local water company to see if maintenance is being done or if your water has been impacted by an issue with your local water supply.

Harry added: “If you find that you’re only experiencing cloudy water from one of your faucets, remove the aerator, clean it with a solution of 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar, rinse, and reinstall. 

“If the problem persists, contact a plumber for assistance.”

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