When you turn on a faucet and milky-white water comes out, you may be justifiably concerned about what’s going on and whether the water is safe to drink. There are a couple of possible reasons why you have cloudy tap water, but the good news is, it doesn’t usually pose a health risk.
What Causes Cloudy Tap Water?
Most often, tap water that looks cloudy or milky contains air. If it’s coming from the pressurized municipal system, you’ll notice cloudiness at all of your cold water taps. Cloudy water from a single fixture usually points to an issue with the aerator or faucet. White, cloudy hot water can indicate a problem with your water heater. Here’s how to troubleshoot cloudy hot and cold water so you can deal with the underlying cause.
Cloudy Water from Cold Tap
To check where the problem originates, run each cold water tap in your home for a few seconds then fill a clean glass.
- If the water from most or all of your fixtures is cloudy, it’s likely caused by air in the municipal supply. Let each glass sit for a few minutes and the water should clear from the bottom up. If you’re still seeing a cloudy flow after 24 hours, call the water bureau to ask if there’s maintenance being done, or a possible leak in the system.
- If cloudiness is only occurring at one faucet, take off the aerator, clean it with a 50-50 water/vinegar solution then rinse it thoroughly and reinstall it.
Why is My Hot Water Cloudy?
To find out why your hot water looks milky, let it run briefly then fill a glass. If the cloudiness dissipates from the bottom upwards within a few minutes, it’s simply due to pressurized air being released. However, if the water clears at the top first and particles settle to the bottom, have the water heater checked. A professional plumber may tell you it needs flushing to remove sediment, or the dip tube needs replacing. If you're in the Portland area, call Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical at (503) 994-9924 for an inspection, we will send our best technician out to assist you.
If cloudy tap water is a concern in your Portland home and you need expert advice, contact Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical.