You can be surprised by the metallic taste of the water that you are drinking. Maybe for the first time or after a prolonged time away from your own home. Why is the taste of water so different, and where does it come from? Several reasons can be responsible for this taste.
Water tastes like metal because there are some actual metals dissolved in it. Another reason might be that the pH of the water is lower than normal.
If it’s the first issue, then there are metal particles in the water. This happens because the municipal water travels through metal pipes to get to your house.
Another likelihood is the different pH from what you’re used to. More on why that happens later. But for now, it is important to understand that pH (potential Hydrogen) is a scale that’s used to measure acidity and alkalinity. The more acidity, the more metallic taste the water will have.
What causes a metallic taste in tap water?
There may be many different reasons why your water has a metallic taste.
Changes in pH
It’s quite hard to describe, but If you’ve ever drunk water from an old metal cup or flask, you’ll know what a metallic taste in your mouth feels like. The whole reason you can taste the metal is that the natural acid in your mouth starts to break down dissolved metals.
A similar thing happens when you taste something right after you brush your teeth. Coffee or orange juice just tastes so much different.
It’s really fast to measure the water pH with simple test strips that are easy to get. It should be around 7 to be considered normal.
Municipal water travels through metal pipes until it arrives at your tap. It’s possible that the water picks up some metallic aftertaste this way.
It often happens due to:
• Corrosion of metal plumbing
• Electrolysis happening along the way
• Effects of chlorine
• Time that water spends in the pipes or reservoirs
Also, there’s the question of the original source where the water is coming from. Was it groundwater or lake or river water?
Determining if the metal taste is harmful just by taste is probably impossible. Iron and zinc in water generally don’t have ill side effects. However, if your water was contaminated with lead, that can cause more serious issues.
Lead in drinking water would be a more serious issue as it is a toxic metal. If you live in an older house where the plumbing has not been renovated it is possible that the pipes were connected with lead solder. This method and material were outlawed in 1986 because of its harmful effects.
A lot of lead pipes have been replaced since, but for the sake of health try to find out how old the plumbing in your building is. If it was placed before in the early 1900s you should be cautious and consider a water purification system.
Related: Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?
What can you do to improve the taste?
When you notice the metallic taste, the most simple thing you should do before getting alert is to let some of the water down. It doesn’t matter if you own a filter or not. Let it run for a minute and taste it again. It might simply be an effect of stale water that stayed in the pipes for a prolonged period of time.
However, if the taste stays, in the short term, it won’t harm you. It’s better to stay hydrated even if with a slight metal aftertaste. But if you will be drinking the same water on a regular basis, take my advice.
Purchase and install a Reverse osmosis water purification system or a water distiller. It’s really easy to do. And with a little research, you can learn all about it. I have written a number of reviews and ranked the best countertop Reverse Osmosis systems. They are among the best ways to purify drinking water at home.