Cloudy tap water is a common issue, but it can also be worrisome for homeowners. In this article, we’re examining this issue and getting to the bottom of it. More specifically, we’ll see why your hot water might be running cloudy.
Let’s get right to it. Why is there cloudy hot water coming from your tap?
Most of the time, cloudy hot water (or cloudy cold water) results from air in your water. Upon exiting the faucet, these tiny air bubbles give your water a cloudy appearance due to the density of these air bubbles. As the water is traveling through the pipes, it might be holding tiny air bubbles, which aren’t able to escape.
It also might be the case that the aerator on the end of your faucet is dirty and causing air bubbles right at the exit point. Whatever the case, a cloudy appearance is usually nothing to worry about, except in some rare instances that we’ll mention below.
Let’s dive deeper into each of these issues and show you how to identify and solve your cloudy hot water problem:
Why is my Hot Tap Water Cloudy and How Do I Fix Cloudy Hot Water?
As mentioned above, cloudy hot water is most often a result of air bubbles in the water. But sometimes, the reason is slightly more specific. Many things can cause these air bubbles, including:
Dirty Aerator: If you’re only experiencing cloudy water from one tap, the issue is often a dirty aerator. The aerator is the mesh covering at the end of your faucet, which cools down the water flow. If your water supply contains lots of minerals (also known as hard water), then these minerals can eventually build up inside your aerator, causing small clogs.
This issue is not harmful, but it can be a nuisance, especially if sediment is building in your pipes, in your water heater, and disrupting your plumbing. Often, in areas with particularly hard water, users install a water softener that helps filter out certain minerals and prevent these issues from occurring.
Most of the time, you’ll need to clean the aerator to clear the sediment clogs. To clear it up right away, you can remove the aerator and dunk it in a bowl of 50% vinegar solution. Alternatively, you could remove the aerator and poke out the clogs manually, using a paper clip, a needle, etc.
Repairs or Plumbing Issue: Sometimes, the issue might be outside of your control, which may be the case if the city or municipality is performing repairs or maintenance on your water supply. In this case, there’s the possibility of air infiltrating the pipes, water mains, etc. In any case, this air gets into your water supply and exits your taps.
A good way to tell whether this is the issue is to contact your neighbor and ask if they are having the same issue. Additionally, see whether you’re experiencing bubbly water from all of your taps. If the issue is prevalent everywhere, it’s more likely to be outside your control.
Temperature: The air bubbles might also be related to the temperature of your water, which occurs most frequently when water shifts in temperature from cold to hot. Coldwater can hold air, meaning that the air won’t separate and become bubbles. As this cold water passes through your hot water heater, it loses its ability to hold this air, and the air separates from the water, creating bubbles. Then, this bubbly water travels to your faucet, creating the cloudy effect you might see.
How to Tell if Air Bubbles are The Issue?
Most of the time, the issue is one of the reasons above, but this isn’t always the case. There are other reasons that your hot water could be cloudy besides air bubbles, which we’ll cover below. But first, you need to identify whether the issue is air or something else entirely.
Luckily, it’s very easy to tell, and all you need is a cup of water! Well, all you need is a transparent cup of water. From there, turn on your faucet and wait until the water is hot. Fill your cup with the cloudy hot water, and set it on a flat surface.
Once the cloudy water settles down, watch it. If the issue is air bubbles, then the bubbles will rise to the top of the water glass within a short period. The bubbles will eventually rise through the top, and your water will no longer be cloudy. You now know that the issue was air bubbles!
However, if the cloudiness sinks to the bottom, then you’re dealing with something else, which usually means that you have some form of sediment in your water, and your water could potentially be unsafe to drink. Various sediments such as tiny rocks, sand, or dirt could be infiltrating your water supply.
Most of the time, this will mean that your municipality is doing some form of routine maintenance, but it could also be a problem with your plumbing. If the issue doesn’t resolve itself in about a day, then you need to contact a professional to identify the source of contamination. This issue is rare, but it does happen.
Thanks for reading our guide to cloudy hot water! As you can see, the issue is very often as simple as air bubbles from a few common sources. The issue often involves a simple fix and is generally nothing to worry about. If you want to know for sure, check out our guide above to identify the problem. We hope you’ve found this article helpful and that you’re able to put your mind at ease over this common household issue!