My Water Smells Like Metal!

There are few things more disconcerting than turning on the kitchen faucet to get a glass of water and having your olfactory senses assaulted by the smell of metal. Suddenly, you’re not thirsty anymore. And you’re left wondering what happened to cause that smell.

That metallic smell is telling you there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Homeowners often think the water coming from their faucets comes from a sealed system that external factors can’t impact. But that’s not always true. External factors can affect the quality of your water in some cases. And sometimes, it’s the components of the water system itself that cause the problem. 

Common Causes of a Metallic Smell

Iron. One of the most common culprits behind that metallic smell is a high concentration of iron in the water lines. This shows up fairly often on rural properties that depend on a well for drinking water. But iron can infiltrate city water systems too. Some cities have more challenges than others with keeping water clean. Much depends on the infrastructure laid in the ground decades ago. When that infrastructure gets old, it starts having problems that can lead to contaminated tap water.

Other metals. Other metals besides iron can also infiltrate the water system. Zinc, copper, manganese, and lead are the prime offenders and produce metallic smells that should be investigated.

Low pH levels. This condition often impacts the taste of the water more than the smell. External factors such as certain types of rock formations or plant decomposition in the area can affect tap water. Many city water supplies are contaminated by their location. Water supplies located near power plants, landfills, large animal farms, or mining sites are most likely to be impacted by the activities that take place and the chemicals used at these locations.

Old pipes. Another culprit could be your pipes. Copper has been used in water delivery systems for centuries, starting with the ancient Egyptians and the Romans. By the 1940s, it was the most-used metal for plumbing systems in the U.S. Galvanized steel was also a favorite of many home builders and plumbers from the 1930s to the 1980s. Once industry experts discovered that galvanized steel rusts easily, the industry shifted to using safer products like PVC.

That said, many homes with older plumbing systems still have copper or galvanized steel pipes. As these old pipes age, metal leaches into the water. The result is tap water with a metallic smell and taste.

Will It Hurt Us to Drink It?

The answer to this question depends on the source of the issue. Iron in the water produces a strong metallic taste but isn’t necessarily dangerous. On the other hand, if the smell is coming from lead or zinc in the pipes, you or your family members may experience health problems as a result.

What’s the Solution?

If you notice a metallic smell or taste in the tap water, call a local plumber to schedule an inspection of your plumbing system. They’ll come out and take a look at the pipes to determine whether they’re the source of the problem or not. If so, they can replace the pipes as needed to get things back to normal.

If your pipes aren’t the problem, you may be able to resolve the issue by installing a whole-house water filtration system. This system filters out pollutants where the water enters the house — before the water gets to the faucets.

Beemer Plumbing Is Your Local Plumbing Expert

At Beemer Plumbing, we know the health and wellness of your family are of the utmost importance. If your tap water smells or tastes like metal, give us a call. We’ll come out, assess the situation, and provide you with the information you need to make the best decision for your family. Call today!