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.