Imagine turning on the faucet for a quick shower or face wash, and instead of crystal clear water, what you get is a cloudy stream. Cloudiness in water (also known as turbidity) is a common phenomenon for thousands of households.
The most common cause of hot water turning cloudy is trapped air bubbles. Your water should automatically clear up after a few minutes. If that does not happen, you might want to take a look into other possible issues.
Today, we will find answers to “why is my hot water cloudy” and how you can restore its clarity.
What Makes Hot Water Cloudy?
Here are a few factors that can give your regular hot water a cloudy and milky appearance:
1. Contaminated Faucet Aerator
Almost every faucet comes with an aerator which is basically a thin metal mesh that prevents the water from splashing too much. Over the years, the aerator can become contaminated with excess sediments from the original water source, especially if you live in a hard water area.
Even though the presence of these contaminants in your faucet is harmless, it can certainly increase the pressure on the water flowing out. The increased pressure, in turn, increases the number of bubbles in your water, which will cause it to look cloudy.
2. Sediment Build-up in Water Heater
Like other water-based appliances in your home, water heaters are also subjected to a continuous flow of water day in and day out.
If you live in a hard water area, it might leave behind magnesium and calcium deposits. With time, as the sediments accumulate, the texture of the incoming water will be affected, even if it’s fresh. Hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium easily dissolve in water, causing the the liquid to look cloudy.
Additionally, if you find that neither your water faucet nor your water heater is to blame for the extra water pressure, you might want to investigate the plumbing lines in your home. There may be some damaged water pipes that are forcing the water out with excessive pressure.
3. Excessive Heating
Sometimes the cloudy texture of your hot water can be a result of overheating. As mentioned before, when trapped oxygen bubbles try to escape the water, they often leave behind a cloudy appearance.
Now, cold water is capable of holding a higher oxygen content. On the other hand, the extra energy delivered by heating the water forces the oxygen bubbles to escape the water, making it cloudy.
You might notice a similar phenomenon when opening sealed bottles or cans of carbonated drinks. As soon as you open the seal, trapped oxygen bubbles try to escape, leaving behind a cloudy-white fizz.
NOTE: Although rare, cold water can also turn cloudy. This happens at extremely low temperatures when the water expands. The same reason why ice cubes appear cloudier than regular water.
How to Know If Your Water Is Contaminated?
Sure, the cloudy water coming out of your faucet may be due to trapped oxygen bubbles leaving the water, but how can you know for sure? Here is a quick test for that:
Take a clean, transparent glass bowl or jar and fill it up with regular tap water. Let it sit for a while and observe how the cloudiness disappears, if at all:
- If the cloudy appearance disappears from bottom to top, it’s just oxygen bubbles escaping the glass.
- If it clears from top to bottom, the water could be loaded with sentiments that slowly settle at the bottom of the container.
- If the cloudy texture does not disappear at all, the water is highly contaminated.
- If there is a slight discoloration in the glass of water, it is again a sign of extreme contamination.
How to Clean Up Cloudy Water?
If your home is troubled by cloudy water appearing in all the major pipelines of your property, you might want a quick and easy fix to get rid of white water once and for all.
Here are a few DIY tricks to fix the cloudy water problem at home:
1. Clean the Faucet Aerator
If you have identified dirty aerators as the main culprit, try giving them a clean. All you have to do is unfasten the filter and use a needle or toothpick to pick out the sediments. If you experience difficulty removing the residue, try soaking the filter in white vinegar or mild, soapy water before trying again with a hard brush or toothpick.
2. Clean the Water Heater
If you still see cloudy water running through the faucets, try cleaning your water heater. Drain all the water from the system and refill with fresh water to flush out the sediments. Repeat the process a few times until you see clean water flowing out.
3. Use a Water Softener
If you have identified excessive sediment build-up as the main reason behind the cloudy water texture in your home, install a water softener. After all, you probably don’t want to spend all your weekends scrubbing faucet aerators and water heaters. It’s best to address the problem at the root and eliminate calcium and magnesium residue from the water before they enter the main supply of your home.
4. Check the Water Pressure
Check the configuration of your water heater, faucets, and other parts of the pipeline to see if any part of it is exerting extra pressure on the water flow. This is something only a plumbing expert can handle. If nothing else works, it’s best to let an expert take a look.
We hope you now have the answer to: why is my hot water cloudy? More often than not, cloudy water is nothing to be worried about. It’s a widespread phenomenon and can be easily treated with our DIY tips mentioned above.
The only time you need to worry about the cloudy texture of your water is if it is discolored. If the water suddenly appears to be muddy, it could be a sign of damaged pipelines allowing contaminants to seep into the water supply. In this case, your best bet is to consult a plumbing expert or simply reach out to your local water distribution body.