Cloudy or milky tap water can be a cause of concern in the home, although it is usually not a serious issue. In the UK, water quality is generally high due to the rigorous testing it undergoes, although there can be isolated issues that can affect neighbourhoods or even individual households.
What Causes Cloudy Tap Water? Is it Safe to Drink? What are the Solutions?
There are a few possible causes for cloudy or milky tap water, all of which require different solutions:
- Trapped air in the pipework
The most common cause of cloudy water is aerated water. If there has been a change in pressure in the water supply network, for example if a pipe has burst or local repair work is being carried out, air can become trapped in the water running through the pipes and expelled via the taps.
If the cloudy water is caused by trapped air, it will clear naturally in your glass within a minute. The cloudiness will clear from the bottom upwards as the tiny micro air bubbles rise to the top. If the water from a hot water tap is cloudy, you may be experiencing an issue with your boiler, and you should contact a plumber as soon as possible.
A good way to identify whether it is an issue with your household pipework or the wider supply network is to see if your neighbours are experiencing the same issue. If the problem is isolated to just your property, this is where you may need to contact a plumber or the local council to see if it is an issue with your household’s pipework.
If you believe aeration is the cause of your cloudy water, it means the water is perfectly safe to drink. If you find it unsightly, run the tap for a few seconds before filling up your glass to clear the trapped air.
If the issue persists for a long time, check with your local water supplier to see if there are any ongoing repair work which may be affecting your area.
- Particulate in the water supply
As water passes through the network, it may pick up some sediment or particulate such as sand, silt or rock which doesn’t fully dissolve, leaving your water looking cloudy.
Unlike air bubbles, if the cloudy water is caused by particulate it will not clear easily and you may be able to spot the individual pieces of sediment if large enough.
Most particulate is harmless, with the main issue being it can cause water to look dirty. However, if you use a private water supply such as a borehole or well, and utilise a UV filter to sterilise the water, particulate can shield harmful bacteria from UV filtration, making you more susceptible to water-borne illnesses.
If you are concerned by the amount of particulate in your water supply, you may want to consider a mechanical water filtration system. A good example of this would be a water filter housing with a specialist drop-in sediment filter.
- Hard Water
If you live in a hard water area (you can check here), you may experience limescale build-up in your pipes or appliances, which may, in turn, cause your water to appear cloudy.
Because limescale is formed when hard water is agitated through heating, these chalky white deposits are usually found after boiling water in a kettle, although it can also form inside taps and pipework connected to the boiler or water heaters.
Although there are no health issues associated with consuming cloudy water caused by hard water, the discolouration in water-based drinks can be less appealing, especially if chalky deposits build up on taps and other appliances.
Hard water is caused by a large number of certain mineral content, there are a few different ways you can remove the amount of minerals that cause hard water and cloudy water including water filters with polyphosphate scale inhibitors; water softeners and calcium treatment units.
Find Out More
Contact Aqua Cure for more information about water treatment and keeping your water safe and clear from impurities.