Why Does my Bathroom Tap Water Smell or Taste Funny?

Smelly water is obviously not something you want coming out of your bathroom taps, especially as something that smells bad is going to immediately put you off even attempting to taste it.

Smelly water that also tastes bad is even worse, as you’re not going to want to drink it – or even wash your hands in it – and is effectively rendering your water supply useless. If you have either problem then there can be a number of explanations about what’s going on with your water, but the fact is that your water should remain odourless and clear in the first place, so if it isn’t then it’s time to get it fixed.

While drinking water throughout the UK is of extremely high quality, problems can still sometimes arise. People particularly sensitive to the low levels of chlorine used in the water treatment process may sometimes notice a peculiar taste or smell. If it gets worse though, with bad smells and taste that prevent you from drinking the water, then you need to contact your water provider immediately so they can look into what might be causing the problem. What, though, causes these problems in the first place?


The Drinking Water Inspectorate advises that one of the following could be the source of your problem:

  • The use of chlorine as a disinfectant
  • Seasonal water quality effects
  • A change in where your water comes from or how it is treated
  • Moving from one area to another
  • Your plumbing

Concerning seasonal changes it is sometimes hard for water companies to prevent the quality of the water changing at certain times of the year. During the summer, rivers and reservoirs can take on a musty or earthy smell and change that can sometimes get through to your tap as treatment is not at optimal levels during hot weather. Algae blooms in the water source can especially affect the taste and smell, and while it can often be rectified by running your water through a filter it’s important to note that they are not usually harmful.

Musty and earthy elements can also come from your plumbing, particularly from stagnant and warm water running through sections of pipes that haven’t been used in a while. This brings us on to problems with your plumbing that could be causing this annoying outcome. If copper or zinc pipework is corroding it will lead to a metallic taste in your water; similarly a plastic or rubbery taste can come from plastic pipes, kettles, tap inserts, anti-splash devices and tap washers. If the problem persists contact your water company or a qualified plumber, both of whom should be able to tell you how to proceed.

If you’re moving to another part of the country you should expect the taste of your water to change a little, especially for those with sensitive palettes. Even if you don’t move though, the water source your tap water is coming from could change. Water companies sometimes change sources throughout the year to ensure an adequate water supply to all homes at all times, and sometimes they may even begin using a completely new source of water. There is no cause for concern if any of these happens, the water is still being tested and treated as stringently as ever. You will eventually get used to the new taste.

Basically, if you are worried about the water coming from your taps then you can report any problems to your water company using the handy list of contact details here. Problems with private supplies should be reported to your local council. If you’re still not happy with their response then you need to contact the Drinking Water Inspectorate.

If you find out it’s your bathroom taps causing the change in the water then why not take a look at some new affordable options by clicking here?

If you're looking for more bathroom inspiration, you might find the following posts useful - Bathroom Taps Buying Guide - What are the Different Types of Bathroom Basins? - How to Replace Basin Taps Step By Step.

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