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Why does my water taste like metal?

Liquid metal

Key facts: 

  • If your tap water has a metallic taste, it is likely caused by either lower pH levels, or an excess of trace minerals in your water supply, possibly due to rusty city or residential pipes
  • Although in most instances your water will be safe to drink, it is important to get your water tested to be sure a toxin such as lead is not the cause of the metallic taste
  • In addition to metal content like zinc, iron, manganese and copper, which cause the metallic taste, there are many contaminants detected in water supplies throughout Australia
  • Can sometimes be recognised as a salty taste
  • There are several ways you can locate and remove the problem
  • Identify the taps where the taste is coming from
  • Get your water tested by your local Water Testing Lab

Have you noticed your water tastes metallic?

Have you ever had a drink of water with a subtle metallic taste to it? Homes or office buildings with old, iron pipes may be the culprit behind water that tastes like metal. However, with a high number of contaminants detected in water supplies throughout Australia, it’s important to pinpoint why your water tastes like metal so you can rectify the issue and get back to drinking great tasting water.

What Causes the Metallic Taste?

There may be a number of reasons why your water has a metallic taste. The most likely reason is the presence of actual metal content. Trace metals like iron, manganese, zinc, and copper are all common water contaminates that can provide that unwanted hint of metal. Older, rusty city pipes or older residential pipes, particularly those made from iron, can be a common source of these metal contaminants as well. Generally, pipes made of brass, copper or galvanized steel have a lifespan of 80-100 years. If your pipes are from the early 1900s, you will want to check if they are made of lead to ensure no lead is contaminating your water. If your water source is well water, then your culprit is more than likely iron caused by seepage or corrosion.

Another reason your water may have a metallic taste is because of low pH (potential Hydrogen) levels. These levels measure the acidity or alkaline qualities of a substance. Low pH levels are sometimes referred to as “soft water” and can give the water a sour or acid-like taste which resembles metal. pH levels vary and can be affected by many different factors. A pH level below 7 will have a more acidic taste but the normal range is 6.5 to 8.5. You can get a pH level test kit from the store to test your own water.

What Should You Do If your Water Tastes like Metal?

Determining if the metal taste is harmful depends on the source. Iron and zinc, for example, generally tend to have no ill side effects. However, if your water is contaminated with lead and not iron, that lead content can be toxic to you, your family, and/or your coworkers.

If your water tastes like metal, it is best to have it tested to be sure of the minerals at the root of the problem. In some cases, the metallic taste may only be found in water from certain taps in your office or home. If this is the case, make note of the taps it is coming from to report to a professional or plumber.

Lead in drinking water typically comes from plumbing connected with lead solder, which was outlawed in 1986 due to its harmful effects. However, many water pipelines in Australia were placed before 1975. If you have an older home or work in an older building, make sure you know for certain that any lead pipes have been replaced. Lead pipes were common in the early 1900s. If you work or live in an old building or are a new resident, it is a good idea to have your pipes checked.

Improving Your Drinking Water

Water that tastes like metal doesn’t have to be the end of refreshing drinking water. One of the better alternatives to drinking straight from the tap is using a water filter that eradicates harmful contaminants. At Waterlogic, our mission is to deliver fresh, clean water to all offices. Our UV filtration water coolers eliminate 99.9999% of bacteria found in tap water sources.