Ways to Tell if Your Home’s Water is Unsafe to Drink


Would you believe it if you were told that the U.S. has one of the safest water supplies in the world? Yet there are still so many different things that can result in water smelling, tasting, or even looking odd. If you’re curious to know if your water may be dangerous, the best way to tell is to have it professionally tested. Having it professionally tested will let you know exactly what’s present in your water.  Moreover, if you’re looking for a quick solution, this guide will provide you with some signs to watch out for to help you determine whether your water is unsafe to drink.

Ways to Tell if Your Home's Water is Unsafe to Drink

Signs Your Home’s Water is Unsafe to Drink

There are several common home water issues that can cause your drinking water to become unsafe to consume.

Here are some signs to watch out for:

Brown, Yellow, or Orange Water

Is your water yellow, brown, or orange? If so, avoid drinking it at all costs. Yellow water could be a clear sign that chromium 6 is present in the water. In addition, yellow water could also mean that your water has a buildup of lead, copper, iron, or manganese.

If you get your water from a public system, and you notice that the yellow color only appears while the water is running cold, it could mean that the water company is in the process of clearing out the pipes.

Brown or orange water could also indicate the presence of lead, iron, or manganese. Moreover, it could mean that rust is present, which is never a good thing.

Rotten Eggs Smell

Does your water reek of rotten eggs? If so, it could mean that your water contains hydrogen sulfide, thus making it unsafe to consume.

Hydrogen sulfide is a gas that doesn’t have a color and is present in groundwater. Once this gas comes into contact with certain bacteria, it turns into sulfate. This can cause symptoms such as diarrhea or even dehydration.

Fishy Smell

Does your water smell fishy? Fishy-smelling water could indicate the presence of barium. Barium is a chemical that is sometimes present and can get into your water supply via manufacturing or drilling.

Consuming water that contains barium could present dangerous symptoms such as muscle weakness, an increase in blood pressure, or liver, heart, or kidney damage.

In addition, fishy-smelling water may also mean that cadmium is present. Cadmium is typically present in copper and lead ores. It can seep into your water pipes via industrial waste. Consuming water with cadmium can cause bone, liver, and even kidney damage.

Bleach-Smelling Water

While this one may sound unusual, it’s possible for your water to smell like bleach due to the presence of chlorine. Chlorine is added to water to eliminate pathogens and other germs. However, the problem arises when chlorine blends with additional organic compounds. As a result, it can cause your drinking water to become dangerous to drink.

In addition to high levels of chlorine, low levels of chlorine can put people at risk of giardia, a parasite that can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.

Metallic Taste

Watch out for water that has a metallic taste to it. If your pipes are rusted, it could cause the release of various metals into your water. These metals are zinc, manganese, copper, and lead.

As a result, it could leave your water with a metallic taste. But just because your water has a metallic taste doesn’t mean that your pipes are rusted. It could also be something minor, such as a low pH.

Visible Sediment

Another telltale sign that your water is not safe to consume is if you see sediment. The buildup of sediment is typically common for those who get their water from a well. If your well water is polluted, you will visibly see clay, dirt, and even rust.

Not to mention, seeing these particles is a huge sign that there are other smaller particles that you cannot visibly see. Consuming water that has sediment in it can make you sick. Moreover, it can clog your well water tanks and damage your plumbing system.