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Why does my water look cloudy?

Splashing cloudy water

Key facts: 

  • Air is pulled into the plumbing and is put under pressure, which can create a carbonated effect that causes cloudy water to form
  • All water holds some form of air but pressurised water holds more air, which contributes to the cloudy water
  • Cloudy water is safe to drink and should clear after some time 
  • Contact your water supplier if your water has been running cloudy for more than 24 hours

Have you noticed your water looks cloudy?

A build-up of trapped air in your water pipes can cause water to become carbonated and look cloudy, however this is harmless. Your water pipes may be contaminated with small particles such as rock, stone, sand or dirt. In which case you should contact a certified plumber for a treatment consultation.

Drinking a refreshing cold glass of water is a great feeling, but what if when you opened your tap, a cloud bubble flowed into your glass? The first thing you should do is set it aside, wait for a few minutes and you should see the bubbles rise to the surface and clear up. Cloudy tap water, sometimes referred to as milky or white water is likely due to trapped air or a build-up of dissolved particles in the water pipes. It is important to note that cloudy water from the tap is completely harmless.

What Causes My Water To Look Cloudy?

Cloudy tap water tends to be short lived. As tap water is fed through plumbing brought in from outside your home, the water distribution system could get damaged in winter, due to an accident or a faulty plumbing fitting. This can lead to a rupture in the wall allowing air into the plumbing system. This air can become pressurised, leading to many micro bubbles being trapped in your plumbing and your water, making it appear cloudy.

Is Cloudy Water Safe To Drink or Use?

If you are unable to immediately contact a plumber or your water supplier, fear not as the water is safe to drink, possesses no health risk and should eventually clear. Bathing, consuming and washing are safe and encouraged.

What Should You Do?

If you notice the water appears to be cloudy, milky or even white, let it stand for a minute to see if there are any air bubbles.

Air bubbles clearing from the bottom, means that air is trapped in your system and needs to be flushed out. Run the taps to help flush the cloudy water through and repeat the above to confirm whether your pipes have been completely flushed.

Air bubbles clearing from the top, means that your pipes may be contaminated with small particles such as rock, stone, sand or dirt. A treatment consultation with a certified plumber will be required.

If you can see the cloudiness when your cold-water tap is running or if has been more than 24 hours and your water appears to be white, cloudy or milky, you should contact your water supplier and request they visit your home to check for a leak in your water line. Once the leak in the pipe has been repaired, the cloudiness will disappear and your water should run clear.