Homeowners once in a while encounter bad-tasting water. This interferes with the basic activities carried out at home using water. It is hard to drink or cook with water that tastes like salt or fish. The only thing one can think of is a water filtration system, but we need to be sure if the system will help.
Some water filters can help improve the taste of water. Activated carbon filters are ideal for the removal of chlorine. Reverse osmosis filtration systems with alkaline ionization filters also improve the taste of water by raising the pH levels. It is important to first identify the contaminants causing the unpleasant taste before employing a filtration system.
Read on to learn more about the most common reasons for foul-tasting water and how to fix them!
My water has a metallic taste. What contaminants are in the water?
A metallic taste is distinct from dissolved metals in your water. Metals like zinc, iron, and magnesium can give your water a metallic taste when dissolved in high quantities.
Here are other common tastes found in water and their causes.
- Bitter Taste. When your water has high levels of total dissolved solids(TDS), you will probably encounter a bitter taste. If you are using copper pipes in your house, you may also encounter a bitter taste from corrosion.
- Chemical Taste. Water with a chemical taste is likely to contain high levels of chlorine. Water treatment plants use chlorine as a disinfectant. The chlorine is not harmful to your body but will cause nasty tastes in water.
- Salty Taste. A salty taste often stems from a high concentration of dissolved chloride ions. Sulfates, which are common in solids, can be washed up and emptied into water sources and cause a salty taste. This instance is more common in coastal areas but can also occur in cities.
- Sour taste. A high concentration of heavy metals will make your water acidic, giving it a characteristic sour taste. Sour water is not safe for drinking.
In this section, we will explore how different water filtration systems help improve the taste of water. Stick around. We have a lot to unpack here.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters
A reverse osmosis system (RO) employs a semi-permeable membrane to filter out contaminants that can alter the smell, taste, and overall quality of water. RO systems are typically point-of-use filters. You can place them under the sink or connect them to your fridge.
Examples of contaminants that RO systems eliminate are lead, arsenic, chlorine, hard metals, iron, among others. In an RO system, water on the salt side of the RO membrane is pumped at high pressure and forced across, filtering out almost all contaminants in water. The water also passes through a carbon filter to remove chlorine.
The RO system will ultimately improve the taste of water, however, these systems remove all minerals, including those that are beneficial to our bodies like calcium and magnesium.
Activated carbon filters are widely used in homes. They offer cheap and convenient means of water filtration. These systems usually have a cartridge filled with burnt coconut shells. Other common materials used are bituminous coal and wood-based media. Activating carbon increases the surface area for adsorption. Carbon particles are porous.
As water passes through the activated carbon, impurities like chlorine that can alter the taste of water adhere to the carbon particles. This process is called adsorption.
Carbon filters are ideal for people encountering foul tastes from the presence of chlorine in the water.
Ceramic employs a hard ceramic casing with small holes as the filter media. You may find filters using a ceramic casing together with a carbon filter for double-step filtration. A ceramic filter will help you get rid of that dirt or fishy taste in water. The system removes dirt and bacteria, the contaminants responsible for giving the water a dirty or fishy taste.
Ceramic filters will only remove dirt and bacteria. You should couple this system with another system like an activated carbon filter to remove other contaminants present in the water.
Filtration systems using ion-exchange resin are likely to encounter this issue. When the anions in the resin decompose, they produce a by-product, trimethylamine. This compound is also produced by decaying fish flesh. Water passing through an expired ion-exchange filter may attract a fishy smell.
If you are using such a filtration system, make sure you regularly replace the filters. It would be best to avoid such a scenario as trimethylamine is strenuous to wash.
If you are not using an ion-exchange filter and your water still has a nasty taste, replace your filters. When filter cartridges have outlived their service life, they get faulty. A buildup of sediments and contaminants in the filter cartridge can give your filtered water unpleasant taste.
When the pipes or plastic parts in your filtration system degrade, you may experience a plastic taste in your water. You should clean and flush your filtration system. If you are using a whole house filter, replace your pipes to get rid of the plastic taste.
If you are using a water filter pitcher and your filtered water tastes like plastic, disassemble and wash the parts. Let the parts air-dry in a well-ventilated room, assemble the pitcher, and check to see if the taste is gone. If the taste persists, consider buying a new filter pitcher.
Regardless of the source, water will always have a certain level of contamination from either naturally occurring materials or man-made products. Since water filters remove contaminants, you may get better-tasting water.
It is not always the case since different water filters remove different contaminants. If you are concerned about a particular taste in your water, first investigate the causative contaminants and choose the right filtration system.
Upon installing a filtration system, you expect delicious and refreshing water. What can make filtered water taste bad?
- Expired filters. Over time, your water filters will degrade. When they are filled with contaminants, you may end up having foul tastes in water.
- Corrosion of pipes in whole house filtration systems. When metal pipes supplying water from a point-of-entry filtration system corrode, you may get a metallic taste in your water. A simple solution is to replace the old corroded pipes.
- Using the wrong type of filter. As we mentioned earlier, you should first identify the contaminants in water before installing a reverse osmosis filtration system. You might filter for chlorine to improve the taste while your water contains sulfates.
- A pH imbalance after water filtrating can make water taste bad. A filtration system may increase or reduce the pH level beyond the recommended range, leading to a change in taste.
A pH scale will help you gauge the acidity or alkalinity of water. Water with a low pH scale will have a characteristic sour taste from the acidity. If your water has a high pH scale, it is likely to have a bitter taste.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that drinking water should be in the pH range of 6.5- 8.5. If the pH level is causing problems with the taste of water, you can employ alkaline water filters. These filters add minerals back to the water to raise the pH level for better-tasting water.
Most tap water contains a mix of minerals, metals, and chemicals that can affect the taste. A Brita pitcher reduces many of those impurities. These filters employ an activated carbon filter cartridge to get rid of chlorine and other contaminants responsible for altering the taste and quality of water.
For the best-tasting water, go for a reverse osmosis water filtration system that uses a 3-stage or 5-stage filtration process. The multiple stages of filtration are dedicated to the removal of different impurities in the water and the result is usually great-tasting water.
By the way, have you ever wondered why Starbucks water tastes better than most water you have ever taken? The secret is the 3-stage filtration they use.
If you head to Amazon, you will find lots of great RO systems you can get for your home. APEC Water Systems Essence 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis is one of our top picks. It is a five-stage filtration system capable of removing almost all contaminants responsible for bad water taste and is therefore guaranteed to give you great-tasting water.
If you don’t have a filtration system installed, here are some DIY hacks o make your tap water taste like bottled water.
- Lemon slices. You can add lemon slices to your water to get rid of that harsh flavor since it is a natural softener. Just place a few slices in a glass of water for a refreshing experience.
- Cucumber slices. Adding cucumber slices to your tap water before drinking will help remove that chlorine taste in water. You should let the water sit for half an hour before drinking for the best results.
- Mint. Adding mint to your water will give it a refreshing and crisp taste. This herb is safe to use, and continued use does not pose any health problems.
Water filter jugs fitted with an activated carbon filter will improve the taste of water. This is the case for those dealing with chlorine. Places with extreme water contamination may need a more complex filtration system to remove unpleasant tastes from water.
Water from filter jugs may not be safe for drinking, since these filters do not remove a wide range of contaminants.
Chlorine is used by most water management systems to kill disease-causing microorganisms. While chlorine may not pose an immediate health hazard, your water will likely taste awful.
So, how do you get rid of the chlorine taste?
- Activated carbon filters can help you get rid of chlorine in the water.
- Using a reverse osmosis filter with multi-stage filtration will help reduce chlorine and chloramines known to cause an awful taste in water.
- Boiling water will help speed up the release of chlorine from water. At room temperature, chlorine gas should evaporate off. If you are looking to dechlorinate water on a large scale, it would be best to use a reverse osmosis filtration system rather than boiling.
A sour taste in water usually signals a low pH or acidic water. You should refrain from drinking acidic water because you may be exposing yourself to heavy metal poisoning and other toxic contaminants.
Acidic water can also destroy your teeth enamel and bones. Additionally, water with a low pH will corrode your pipes, increasing the odds of consuming metallic contaminants.
Filtration systems with post-alkaline filters are the go-to gadgets for such an issue. They raise the pH level of water by adding minerals back to filtered water.
There are several reasons your water has an unpleasant taste. Different contaminants display different characteristic tastes. You can get rid of poor taste in water by installing water filtration systems. Always test your water and keep in mind how contaminants affect the taste of the water before choosing a filtration system.
You may end up purchasing a filtration system that does not match the contaminants in your water. For example, you can best get rid of chlorine taste by using an activated carbon filter. Remember, if your water has a foul taste, it is probably not safe for drinking.