My water tastes or smells unusual

My water tastes or smells unusual

Call our emergency phone line if your water suddenly tastes or smells distinctly unusual. One of our Water Quality Advisors will call you back, usually within 24 hours.

0330 303 0368


Why does my water taste or smell unusual?

Water across the country has its own distinct taste. That’s down to the chemical make-up of the water in different regions. You’ll have heard of hard and soft water. That’s about the amount of calcium or magnesium it contains and that depends on the geology of your local area. The chemical make-up of your water is normally nothing to worry about.

When your water tastes iffy it can be because of the higher presence of salts (calcium and magnesium) and specific metals such as iron, copper, manganese and zinc.


Other reasons your water tastes or smells unusual

Chlorine smell
This is perfectly normal and comes from the small amounts of chlorine that remain in your supply known as ‘chlorine residual’.

Follow the link to find out more on why we add chlorine to water.


Metallic taste
You may sometimes experience a metallic taste if your water has warmed up in your pipes and has picked up traces of substances like copper.

This is more noticeable in large buildings with long lengths of pipework and low water flows.

Occasionally this may also be caused by iron from old pipes.


Earthy or musty smell
Some customers have described a stale or pond-like smell from their water.

This can be caused by:

  • water becoming stagnant in long lengths of pipes in large buildings
  • algae or microorganisms in raw water sources. These can produce trace compounds called 'geosmin' and 'methylisoborneol' which have an earthy or musty taste or smell. In areas where we know this is a problem, we treat the water with activated carbon or ozone, or both.