Strange taste or smell to my water

Occasionally customers report that their water doesn’t taste or smell as it usually does. Taste and odour can be described as ‘earthy’, ‘musty’ or a chemical taste although a few other descriptions may also apply.

Here are some useful questions that may help you pinpoint the cause:

Do you have a header tank, which feeds the cold water drinking taps?

If you have, then take a look or get a plumber to look to make sure it’s covered. If it isn’t covered something may have fallen into the tank and caused the unusual taste or odour. If this is the case the tank will need cleaning out, disinfecting and a suitable cover fitted. You will need advice from a plumber in order to carry this out.

Have you had any plumbing or building work done recently or have you had a new appliance?

This could be a simple as having a washing machine installed or piece of new pipework fitted up to your drinking water tap or a new kettle.

  • If a non return valve has not been fitted to the end of your washing machine hose, depending on your plumbing arrangements, water that has been sitting in the hose can sometimes find its way into the water feeding your tap giving the water a phenol or TCP taste. This is may be particularly noticeable when you make a hot drink.
  • Short lengths of flexible hose fitted beneath sinks connecting the taps are sometimes the source of taste problems. Check the information that came with the hose to see if it has been approved for use with mains water by a recognised organisation such as KIWA, NSF or WRAS. If it hasn’t then you should replace it with an approved fitting. We recommend that whenever you undertake plumbing work yourself or ask a plumber to do it for you always check that fittings are approved for use with drinking water e.g. by KIWA, NSF or WRAS.

Is there a diesel or petrol taste to your water?

If you detect a diesel or petrol taste please report it to us immediately as this may be caused by a fuel spill e.g. when someone on your property or neighbouring properties been working on a car or motor cycle and allowed petrol or oil to leak onto the ground. Fuel can work its way through the ground and penetrate plastic water pipes, it can sometimes take several days or weeks for the fuel to reach the water pipe.

If you have made these checks or changes and the problem persists please contact us for further advice.