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Water Heaters and Water Quality

Are you noticing strange odors, taste or color tint to your tap water? While there can be many causes, one of the most overlooked reasons for changes to water quality is water heaters. To find out if the water heater is the cause of the problem, consider the following:

• Does the problem only occur first thing in the morning?
• Does it happen after the water has not been used for a while?
• Does the problem clear up after you run the water for a few minutes?
• Is the problem isolated to the hot rather than cold running faucet?

If any of the above cases is true, it could be caused by your water heater.

Drinking Water Odors

Strange smells, such as sulfur odors, are sometimes caused by bacteria growing inside the water heater tank. When the water heater goes unused for long periods of time bacteria growth can cause unpleasant odors. Sulfur, or rotten egg odor, is sometimes caused by a corroded anode rod inside the water heater. While the amount of bacteria is usually not enough to cause harm, the cure is to ensure the temperature is high enough to kill the bacteria and that the anode rod is not excessively corroded.

Hard water can also cause sediment to accumulate at the bottom of the tank, causing odors. Flushing the tank regularly or installing a water softener should fix the problem.

Drinking Water Discoloration

Brown, red or yellow tinted water can be caused by rust from a corroded water heater tank or pipes inside the home. The iron present in most drinking water is not a significant health risk, but it can stain clothing and dishes and leave drinking water with a metallic taste. Your plumber can help track down the cause and determine if the water heater is the source of the problem.

White or tan particles in the water are usually a sign of calcium or magnesium. While not generally harmful to ingest, the minerals can clog pipes and drains over time. A water filtration system or water softener can remove the minerals from the water.

Have concerns about water quality in your home? Give Ostrom a call. We can help identify the cause of the problem and recommend effective solutions for a cleaner, better tasting water.

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