Three Water Symptoms That May Or May Not Be Harmless

Some wells provide water that may have alarming qualities that are totally harmless. Others may have only slightly odd qualities that are rather more deadly. And some symptoms point to a serious issue in the plumbing system such as a problem with your water heater. Here are three water symptoms you may notice that could be harmless or quite the opposite.

1. Strange smell

Some "flavors" in well water are fine (aka not likely to make you sick), despite being unpalatable. Others can indicate a dangerous situation, though, so it's a good idea not to drink any water that smells "off" until you've figured out what the cause is. Some potential causes for smells include:

  • Bacteria in the well (can be harmful or harmless)
  • Smelly rocks present in the ground where the well is drilled
  • A gas, such as hydrogen sulfide gas (causes "rotten egg" smell, yuck!)
  • A contaminated tank or reservoir (can cause a variety of smells)
  • Bacteria growing in the hot water heater

2. Off color

Discolored water can spring from a number of sources. For example, water with a rusty tint could be the result of iron in your water. Or it could mean that your pipes are rusting away and contaminating your water (this can be dangerous depending on what your pipes are made of and it also means your plumbing system is deteriorating). If your water is simply cloudy in appearance but you can't detect any particles or specks in it, this could simply be due to the aerator on your faucet, which infuses your water with air bubbles. (If the water becomes clearer after sitting out for a few minutes and doesn't seem to have any sediment settling to the bottom of the container, this could be the case). Air in the water is harmless.

3. Strong mineral flavor

Many minerals are fairly harmless at the levels you're likely to find in your water. However, there are some naturally occurring minerals in the ground that can cause health problems (such as arsenic and lead), so if you haven't ever had your water tested, you definitely should. And the stronger the mineral flavor is, the more likely your water is to have high enough mineral levels to cause problems with your pipes. "Hard" water, which is what water with mineral inclusions such as calcium and magnesium is called, can eventually build up enough limescale in your pipes to cause water pressure problems.

Talk with a company like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. for more information.