At American Water, we know how important the quality of home drinking water is. The way your water tastes, smells, feels, and affects you and your household depends on a number of factors, including the quality of your well water, any possible contamination, the age of your water distribution system, your home’s plumbing, or any violation of the federal drinking water standards.
Most homeowners are aware of the quality of water in Austin / Central Texas and the damaging effect it has on hair and skin, appliances, water heaters, fixtures, and anything that touches the water.
To be considered hard water, a water supply must contain high levels of dissolved minerals, usually calcium, magnesium, or iron. While it is estimated that around 85% of the United States’s fresh water supply is considered hard water, a number of central Texas communities are considered by the Water Quality Association to have extremely hard water.
In any case, hard water can have a number of persistent and expensive effects upon home owners and their property. Aside from causing dry skin and hair, hard water can damage almost anything it touches, including silverware and glassware, clothing, and home appliances.
Water that is cloudy, murky, grayish, or otherwise discolored is most likely turbid, containing high levels of particles dissolved from various solids. In many cases, turbidity is naturally occurring in a water supply or is caused by a number of land disturbances that may be caused by construction, storms, or urban runoff.
While turbidity may range from low to high, even water that does not appear to be turbid may, in fact, contain high levels of dissolved particles. With that in mind, we highly recommend that Austin residents have their water tested to ensure there is no turbidity present in their water.
As a means of improving public health, chlorine has been utilized to kill bacteria in our drinking water, and the pipes used to transport it, since the mid 19th century. While chlorine serves a critical role in ensuring our water distribution systems are free of disease or other dangerous bacteria, it no longer serves a purpose once it reaches your tap.
In addition to tasting and smelling bad, chlorine dries your hair and skin, fades clothing, and can substantially shorten the lifespan of home appliances by destroying their rubber seals.
Water is naturally without color, taste, or odor. Given this, any color, taste, or odor in your water may be attributed to the presence of a foreign substance. Some of the more commonly experienced tastes and odors in household water are as follows:
Earthy, musty taste and odor: Usually associated with the presence of a number of different algae, it typically comes from the compounds released by decaying vegetation that cause water to taste and smell earthy or musty. Though non-toxic, water that tastes or smells this way can be extremely unpleasant, even when a low concentration of algae is present.
Rotten egg odor: The presence of hydrogen sulfide, a colorless corrosive gas, will cause water to have the odor of rotten eggs. Aside from possibly leaving an unpleasant odor on your clothes and hair, high concentrations of hydrogen sulfite in your water can accelerate the corrosion of anything metal in your appliances.
Metallic taste: When your water tastes metallic, it’s usually because there are metal particles present, commonly iron, copper, manganese, or zinc. While manganese and iron are both found naturally in groundwater, the presence of copper and zinc usually result from corroding copper plumbing and brass fittings or from a water distribution system that needs to be replaced.
As a natural solvent, water will dissolve anything it comes into contact with if given the necessary time and conditions to do so. When water dissolves iron and manganese, it will often leave a rust-orange or black stain on objects it comes into contact with, including sinks, tubs, fixtures, toilets, and any other water-using household appliance.
Our Central Texas / Austin water filter and softener specialists can help you determine whether any water treatment is necessary for your water supply and, if so, help you customize a water system that adequately addresses these concerns. Contact us to schedule a free water test today!