Having a metallic or chemical taste in your home's water is concerning. This unusual taste is often a sign of elevated levels of certain contaminants like iron, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc. If left untreated, these metals can negatively impact your health, plumbing system, and appliances. In this article, we’ll cover common causes of metallic tasting water in Tampa Bay, associated health risks, and the best water treatment solutions.
What Causes Metallic Tasting Water?
Several factors can cause a metallic taste in your tap water:
Iron and Manganese
Iron and manganese are two of the most common metals found in Florida groundwater. High levels give water a bitter, metallic flavor. These metals also leave stubborn stains on sinks, tubs, and laundry. While iron and manganese are not highly toxic, they can irritate your digestive system if consumed over long periods.
Corroded copper pipes and fittings can leach copper into your water, resulting in a bitter metallic taste. Copper consumed at elevated levels can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Those with liver damage or Wilson’s disease are at higher risk of copper toxicity.
Lead rarely occurs naturally in water but can enter from corroded lead pipes, solder, or brass fixtures. Lead is highly toxic, especially for children and pregnant women, and should be avoided even at low levels.
Galvanized steel pipes can corrode over time, releasing zinc into water. Zinc leaves an undesirable astringent taste. At very high doses, zinc can cause nausea, vomiting, and other acute symptoms.
Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium minerals. The reaction of soap with these minerals can impart a chemical, salty taste. Hard water on its own is not harmful but can lead to scale buildup in plumbing and reduce cleaning effectiveness .
The main health risks from metallic tasting water involve lead and copper exposure. Lead is extremely dangerous even at low doses and can impair childhood development and damage organs. Adults exposed to lead may experience hypertension, declined kidney function, and reproductive issues.
Copper is an essential mineral but can cause gastrointestinal distress in high amounts. Severe copper poisoning can damage the liver and kidneys.
Iron and manganese primarily affect taste and stain fixtures at moderate levels. However, well water with very elevated iron/manganese can potentially promote bacterial growth in pipes .
While zinc and hard water alter taste, they do not pose significant health risks unless extremely over the EPA limit for extended periods. Still, it is wise to treat any persistent metallic odor or taste in your water.
Testing Your Water
Since metals can be tasteless and odorless at lower concentrations, do not rely on taste/smell alone to identify contaminated water. We recommend testing your water 1-2 times per year for a panel of common contaminants.
This will help pinpoint the specific source(s) of any metallic taste so proper treatment can be installed. Contact our team to schedule a free water test consultation at your home or business in the Tampa area.
Water Treatment Solutions
The most effective solutions for metallic tasting water depend on the specific contaminant(s) present. Here are some common treatment options we recommend:
To remove lead and copper, replace any lead service lines or pipes in your home. Also consider a reverse osmosis system for drinking water.
For zinc and hard water, a water softener is the most effective option to reduce scale and metal corrosion.
If bacteria growth is a concern with elevated iron/manganese, add a UV disinfection system.
For well water with multiple metals/minerals, a comprehensive treatment system like WellFusion is recommended.
Proper maintenance is also key - replace water filters, flush pipes, and retest water annually. For severely contaminated water, more intensive commercial-grade systems may be required.
Our water treatment specialists can help select the right solutions after reviewing your test results. We also offer financing options to help cover the cost of recommended systems.
Protect Your Health with Clean Water
Don't ignore persistent metallic or chemical tastes in your water - take action to identify the root cause and proper treatment. Left untreated, elevated levels of iron, manganese, lead, copper, zinc, and other contaminants can negatively impact your health, home, and appliances over time.
Schedule your free water analysis with our team at Aqua-Wise today. We service all of Tampa Bay with affordable water treatment installations for homes and businesses. Invest in clean, safe water for better health and peace of mind.