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Water softener topic 15: Common water symptoms and potential causes

There are various ways to understand what is contained in your water. I tried to put together generic list of symptoms one may notice from time to time and their potential causes. Hope this helps. Visual signs (discoloration): 1. Water is Red / Orange / Yellow / Brown / Cloudy Potential cause(s): Iron, rust, pluming contaminants, resin if you have a water softener and possibly manganese 2. Water is Blue / Green Potential cause(s): copper / bronze alloys from corroded plumbing and possibly due to presence of zinc

3. Notice stains &/ deposits around faucets, dishes etc.

Potential cause(s): Likely due to calcium and magnesium i.e., hard water

From smell & taste:

1. Water smells Sulfur &/ rotten egg

Potential cause(s): Can appear as white, grey, black (likely plumbing fixtures), or reddish brown if associated with iron bacteria (sulfur bacteria)

2. Water smells &/ tastes like chemical

Potential cause(s): Likely presence of MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), gasoline or by products of gasoline refining, paints, detergents or inks

3. Water smell &/ tastes like Chlorine

Potential cause(s): due to treatment of city water for disinfections

4. Water smells &/ tastes metallic

Potential cause(s): Likely mercury, manganese, zinc, lead, copper, arsenic, or iron

5. Water tastes &/smells Musty / earthy

Potential cause(s): Likely algae / decaying organic matter

How to identify the source of the issues? At a high-level,

1. House pluming system.

- Discoloration / issue with water occurs after water hasn’t been used for few hours and stops (starts getting clear water) after using it for few minutes

2. From City

- Cold water is discolored but not hot water

- Discoloration or issue continues even after few minutes of water usage at faucets etc.

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