Why do I have cloudy, hot water from my tap?

Water straight from the tap should be crystal clear. So it can be a little disconcerting when you turn on the hot tap to wash some dishes, only to find the water has a cloudy or milky appearance.

However, while cloudy water may not look particularly lovely, it is pretty harmless in most cases. So in this blog, we are going to look at this phenomenon in more detail. We’ll discuss whether cloudy water is safe to drink and what, if anything, you can do about it.

What is causing the problem?

In most cases, cloudy water is harmless. The cloudy or milky appearance is caused by tiny bubbles trapped in the water trying to escape.

When water is heated in a pressurised water heater, the calcium bi-carbonate naturally present in the water changes to calcium carbonate. This process releases Carbon Dioxide, which is unable to escape due to the entire system being sealed.

When you turn on the hot water tap, water from the heater is released into normal atmospheric pressure. The CO2 trapped in the water is then free to escape, thereby creating millions of tiny bubbles.

It is these bubbles, not sediment, that give the water its cloudy appearance. The problem is more prevalent in hard water areas due to the higher levels of calcium bi-carbonate in hard water.

Is cloudy water safe to drink?

So long as the release of gas causes cloudiness, yes, it is safe to drink. However, in some cases, the cloudiness may be caused by sediment trapped in the system.

The best way to test this is to fill a glass with water and place it to one side. The glass should clear quickly from bottom to top as the tiny bubbles of gas escape. The process should take no more than a few seconds.

If the water remains cloudy after a minute, it could be a sign of sediment in the system. This water should NOT be drunk, and you should call a plumber to have your system checked out.

Can my cloudy water problem be fixed?

Yes, you can reduce most milky water problems by installing aerated taps. These aerate the water as it is released, which allows the gas to escape more freely. This will reduce but not eliminate cloudiness.

If you already have aerated taps installed, it may be that an aerator has become blocked. In this case, the cloudiness should only affect a single tap. You can solve this by removing the affected aerator and placing it in a mixture of one part vinegar, one part water, then leave it to soak overnight.

A faulty water heater causes some cloudy water problems. In this case, the water is usually, but not always, discoloured. In this case, you should get the water heater checked out by a licensed plumber.

Finally, there is a slight chance that a contaminated water supply causes your cloudy water problem. The water authority may be working on the system, causing air to get into the mains supply. In this case, the problem should clear over some time, so you will just have to wait it out.

Got a cloudy water problem, we can help

If you have a cloudy water problem and would like to get it checked out for your peace of mind, then get in touch with us today. We’ll arrange for one of our expert plumbers to come around and take a look.

We are based in Oakleigh, VIC and cover homes across the South Eastern suburbs. So give us a call on 9017 5092 or complete the contact form here and we’ll get back to you at a convenient time.

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