Why Does My Tap Water Taste Funny?

Mother Nature generously supplies our drinking water, but it goes through a lot before it makes it to the faucet in your home. That’s why you might notice that the taste is a little bit… off. Your tap water might taste like chlorine, metal, or even dirt. Why? What makes tap water taste bad, and what can you do about it?

What Makes Water Taste Funny?

First, some potentially disturbing news: There might be all kinds of germs, chemicals, and bacteria lurking in your tap water. This is ultimately what changes the flavor.


For instance, you might notice that your water tastes like chlorine. And indeed, there is chlorine in your tap water. Because germs can easily contaminate water as it flows through miles and miles of pipes to arrive at your home, water companies will add a disinfectant — commonly chlorine. This helps to kill germs that can make you very sick, like salmonella, campylobacter, and norovirus.

Now, these companies use a very tiny amount of chlorine — just enough to get the job done. However, if you live in close proximity to where your water is treated, you might notice it more, since the level of the disinfectant will drop over time. Cold water can also hang onto chlorine for longer than hot water.


Are you getting a metallic taste whenever you drink from the tap? If your water tastes like metal, it could be because — brace yourself — there’s metal in your water!

Pipes can be made from iron, brass, copper, or galvanized steel. These metals (like most materials) have a shelf life. Due to the force of the water rushing through the pipes, the material starts to erode over time.


Person filling up a water bottle with tap water


So, if your pipes are very old, iron, zinc, copper, lead, and manganese could be making their way into your drinking water. In particular, lead pipes were only banned starting in 1986!


This one can be a little trickier to diagnose. If you’re only noticing this from one tap in your home, then it’s likely that the faucet itself just needs to be cleaned. If your water tastes like dirt throughout the entire house, then it’s more likely coming from the supplier.

One possibility is geosmin, which is a compound made up of plant bacteria and soil. Its name actually comes from the Greek words for “earth” and “smell.” Geosmin is so potent that even a tiny bit in your water can be detectable via taste and smell.

Another common culprit is algae blooms. Particularly when the weather warms up, algae can grow more rapidly at the bottom of bodies of water, like lakes and ponds. 

Geosmin and algae can ultimately find their way into your drinking water, making it taste dirty.

How Can You Make Your Water Taste Better?

“I’ve got a Brita filter. My water is clean!” you might be saying. We hate to break it to you, but there are all kinds of contaminants and particles that a Brita water filter can’t remove. The same goes for your refrigerator water filter.

These filters are often too small and not made from the right materials to filter out the contaminants we’ve covered in this article. They can also be difficult to clean, making it easy for bacteria to grow in and around the filtration system. Refrigerator water filters are rarely maintained in the way that they need to be to work efficiently. And refrigerators, in general, tend to harbor a ton of bacteria.


Woman reaching into the refrigerator


The Most Powerful Type of Water Filtration

Because of how minuscule water contaminants can be, it takes a very unique type of water filtration to make your tap water clean: reverse osmosis (RO).

What is reverse osmosis, though?

Let’s start with an analogy. You probably have screens on your window. Those screens let through fresh air, but that’s it. No bugs. No critters. No birds. This is what reverse osmosis is… except it's far more powerful.

During this process, pressure forces water molecules through what’s called a semipermeable membrane. This is a fancy way of saying that it lets in water molecules but nothing else. It’s got incredibly tiny holes in it, and it’s typically part of a stack of other filters.

The result is that filters utilizing reverse osmosis can remove protozoa, which are single-cell organisms that cause diseases like giardia and malaria. It can also remove bacteria (like E. coli) and even viruses, like hepatitis A. Additionally, contaminants like sodium, lead, chloride, chromium, arsenic, and copper don’t stand a chance.

There’s a good chance your tap water isn’t clean. Even if you’re using a filter, if it’s not reverse osmosis, it’s leaving contaminants behind. Reverse osmosis is the way to go.

What to Look for in a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter

So, you’re ready to purchase a reverse osmosis water filter. What types of features should you look for?

First, you want multiple layers of filtration to ensure that all sizes and types of particles are addressed. UV-C purification, in particular, is the ultimate defense against pathogens like viruses and bacteria. You’ll also want to be able to monitor your water quality in real-time so that you know when it’s time to replace the filter.

The Sans Water Purifier removes impurities that are as small as 0.0001 microns in size. It can instantly dispense hot water, and the glass pitcher that comes with the countertop device is removable. The filters can last anywhere from 12 to 24 months, and your purifier will always let you know when it’s time to replace them.

You need water to survive — shouldn’t you be drinking only the cleanest? Learn more about the Sans Water Purifier today.

Sans Water Purifier

Countertop Reverse Osmosis + UV purification

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