You may occasionally notice that your water has a different taste or smell than normal. There are many common causes for this, which can be easily solved.
My water supply
Taste and smell of your water
Is the taste and smell of your water different to normal?
Chlorine taste or smell
Chlorine is added during water treatment, as a disinfectant to kill harmful bacteria.
This is to ensure the quality of the drinking water is maintained through the pipe network until the point when it reaches your tap.
The very low concentrations of chlorine used to disinfect water is entirely harmless and regularly monitored. Water leaving our treatment works will contain less than one part per million of chlorine, and this will reduce further, before reaching your home.
Some people are more sensitive than others to the smell or taste of chlorine and may become aware of occasional changes in chlorine levels in their tap water.
For example, the taste of chlorine may be more noticeable at times of day when water use is high. This is because the water is reaching you quicker and contains more chlorine than when it has been standing in the pipes.
Levels of chlorine may also become more noticeable if we’ve been working on the water mains, or if we have to supply you with water from a different water treatment works.
If you find the taste of chlorine unacceptable, a good solution is to fill a jug of tap water and keep it in the fridge. Not only will the chilled water taste better, it will lose that chlorine smell. Keep the jug covered and do not keep any water for more than 24 hours.
If you are still worried about the taste or smell of your drinking water please contact us.
Rubber, plastic, disinfectant or TCP taste or smell
A taste or smell of rubber, plastic, disinfectant or TCP is usually caused by common household plumbing arrangements or appliances.
Most dishwashers and washing machines are now connected directly to the mains water supply but are sometimes not installed correctly.
All connections should include a single check valve so that water within the flexible hoses of the dishwasher or washing machine, cannot return to the mains supply and reach the kitchen tap.
If it does not have a check valve you are likely to get a rubber, plastic, disinfectant or TCP taste and odour in your tap water.
Flexible hoses can also deteriorate over time and release traces of chemicals that can cause 'chemical' type tastes and odours that are particularly noticeable with hot drinks.
Fitting a single check valve, which are available from DIY stores, will prevent this problem.
If you notice unusual 'medicinal' or 'plastic' tastes only in hot drinks this can be due to the seal that separates the kettle's heating element from the water. This is particularly noticeable in new kettles.
To confirm whether the kettle is the problem, try making a hot drink with water boiled in a saucepan and compare the taste with one made from the kettle. If the taste has gone away then the cause is likely to be your kettle.
If you are still worried about the taste or smell of your drinking water, please contact us.
Earthy taste or smell
An earthy taste may sometimes occur in water supplied from a surface water source, such as an open reservoir.
It may also be the result of water standing in the pipework for a long period of time.
To improve the taste of your water, you should flush your taps for 2-3 minutes. This will remove any water which has been standing in the pipework.
Metallic taste or smell
A metallic taste to your water is most likely due to a reaction between the water and pipework in your plumbing system. This may be particularly noticeable when the water has been standing in the pipework for some hours.
Boiling water more than once may also make the metallic taste more apparent, so use fresh water each time you boil the kettle.
If your water has any other taste or smell, please contact us for further advice.
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