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Why does my water look white?

Image of milky water

Key facts: 

  • If your water looks white, this can be caused by a number of factors such as air bubbles or high levels of chlorine in your water
  • White or cloudy water is perfectly safe to drink and should run clear after a short while
  • You may wish to contact a professional to determine the cause of white water if it continues to run white

Have you noticed your water looks white?

White water can be caused by excessive trapped air in your water pipes or main supply. This leads to a build-up of pressure, forming air bubbles in your water that are released when the tap is run. he trapped air dissolves in the water but when you run a tap, built-up pressure is released and air bubbles are formed, which give your water its white appearance. This is called aeration and does not make your drinking water unsafe. If your water does appear to run white, it should clear after a short while. White water is also a sign of a high level of chlorine in your water, which is often used to disinfect water during repair work.

What Causes My Water To Look White?

Your water supply might be contaminated by impurities accumulated along the path feeding your resident. These impurities can come from many places including the surrounding reservoirs or pipes, and arrive in your water supply. These are generally harmless but aesthetically unpleasant.

You can differentiate between air bubbles and a contamination by filling a glass with water and letting it settle for a few minutes. If the water appears white due to air bubbles, the bubbles will quickly rise to the top. If the water remains white, it could indicate your water has been contaminated by impurities such as rocks, stones, sand or dirt.

White Water Can Also Be Caused By Any Of The Following:

  • Problems with residential plumbing
  • Main supply system repairs
  • Pressure changes in the main supply systems
  • Hot water heaters – Trapped air can be released more easily when water is heated, giving the way a white appearance.

Is White Water Safe To Drink or Use?

White, cloudy or milky water is perfectly safe to drink or use and is not harmful.

What Should You Do?

Firstly, check with neighbours to find out whether the problem is only affecting your property. If your neighbours are also experiencing white water from the tap, it is likely your residential plumbing system is not where the problem lies. Contact your water supplier as there could be a problem with the main supply.

If your neighbour’s water is running clear, it is useful to find out whether you require professional assistance. To test this, fill a glass with water and leave it to settle for a few minutes. If the white water does not become clear, contact a certified plumber or your water supplier to inform them of the issue.

If a certified plumber or your water supplier confirms your water supply has been contaminated with impurities, a sediment filter can remove the particles.

If your hot water is running white, please contact your water supplier.

Until your water runs clear and to help avoid dehydration, fill a jug of water every 24 hours and store in the fridge to maintain freshness.