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Of all the water flavors out there, metal probably isn’t your favorite.
We’d all rather our tap water tasted fresh and a little alkaline, but the reality is often very different.
Metallic-tasting tap water can be caused by a number of factors, and depends on your region’s water quality, your water source, and the situation inside your home.
In this short guide, I’ll be looking at the reasons why your water may taste metallic – and how to easily and inexpensively resolve the issue.
🤔 Why Does My Water Taste Like Metal?
If you notice your tap water tastes like metal, it’s likely because it contains metallic contaminants.
Strange-tasting water is nearly always caused by something that isn’t supposed to be there. Drinking water that tastes metallic is one of the most common water quality issues that American homeowners face, but luckily, the problem is usually easy to resolve.
Let’s look in more detail at the causes of metallic-tasting tap water.
🚰 What Causes Tap Water to Have a Metallic Taste?
Your water’s pH can affect its taste.
While a higher pH will give water a more pleasant alkaline taste, a low pH can give water a unique, unpleasant metal taste. Water that’s more acidic is also more prone to contamination, so your water might taste like metal because it actually contains metals from your plumbing.
Get your water tested if you don’t already know its pH.
Related: Is your well water acidic? Check out the best acid neutralizer systems for well water
High Iron Levels
Excess levels of iron are one of the most obvious reasons for a metallic taste in your drinking water.
We all know the smell of iron or rust.
If you get your water from a private well, there’s a good chance that it contains higher-than-average iron levels. Iron can also cause rust when it oxidizes, which could affect the insides of your pipes and appliances.
Zinc & iron in combination can be particularly unsavory.
High Levels Of Metallic Contaminants
Iron isn’t the only metal that gives water a metallic taste.
A combination of copper, lead, and other metallic contaminants might affect the way water tastes.
Again, you should have your water tested, especially if you have a well water supply or you have a reason to be concerned about lead. This will tell you exactly what’s in your water, and you can look at water treatment options to improve your water taste.
Aging Pipes & Plumbing
If your plumbing and pipes are older than you care to remember, it’s likely that they’re made from galvanized steel or copper. This can result in certain metals leaching into your water is it travels towards your faucet. Your faucets themselves may be an problem if they’re particularly old and corroding on the inside.
It’s worth considering the main water lines that bring a water supply into your home, too. If your water tastes like metal, and it has done for a long time, these supply pipes may contain metals that leach into your water on their journey to your home.
Many parts of the US have old water infrastructure, and unfortunately, aside from moving to a new house, there’s not much you can do to escape this issue.
🩺 What Are the Potential Risks Associated With Metallic Tasting Water?
Water that tastes metallic isn’t automatically dangerous. Your health may be at risk, however, if you have particularly high levels of certain metallic contaminants.
Some potential risks of metallic-tasting water, broken down contaminant-by-contaminant, are:
Lead – hypertension, anemia & convulsions
Lead is a very dangerous metal, and no amount of this contaminant is considered safe to drink. Lead consumption can have a variety of health effects, including convulsions, developmental delay, constipation, anemia, hearing loss, and high blood pressure.
Manganese – memory, attention & behavior problems
In low levels, manganese won’t affect your health. High concentrations of this metal, however, has been linked to issues with motor skills, memory and attention. It can even cause behavioral problems if consumed by infants.
Low pH – dental problems
Drinking acidic water can cause corrosion of your teeth, along with irritation inside the body. Water with a pH of lower than 6.5 is also more likely to be contaminated by pollutants.
Copper & Zinc – vomiting, stomach pain
Though copper and zinc are good for us in trace amounts, too much of these metals can result in stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, headaches, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
Iron is the only metallic contaminant that doesn’t pose a health risk. However, it can be a nuisance inside your home’s water system. Its presence can cause bad smells, for example, and it could end up causing such a rust problem that your water-based appliances are unable to perform at their optimum.
❔ What Should I Do If My Water Tastes Like Metal?
Remember, city or well water testing is the first step to determining the problem behind the metallic taste – and this is especially important for wells.
Once you’ve got your test results back and determined the reason behind the metallic taste, you can consider your water treatment options for removing the harmful impurities.
💡 How to Remove Metallic Taste From Drinking Water
To achieve metal-free water, one of the best solutions is to use a water filter system.
Water filters – whole home filters, for example – offer a thorough level of filtration that can remove impurities that affect the taste, smell and quality of the water you drink.
Most filtration systems can generally free your city or well water of other harmful trace impurities, too, like chlorine chemicals (chlorine is used to disinfect city water). They can usually do so without removing the healthy stuff from your water, like minerals.
Aside from filtration, you could also consider changing the water pipes in your house, if you think your metal taste or odor problem is related to a rusty, corroding plumbing system. However, this isn’t an example of the most affordable solutions, and it may be cheaper and just as effective to install a filter system to remove problem impurities, rather than remedying the source of the problem.