Why is My Hot Tap Water Cloudy? (And Ways to Fix)

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Ideally, water in its natural state is supposed to appear colorless, odorless, and have no taste. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold water. 

Finding your hot water cloudy may cause you to freak out. Why not? Water with color or such whitish particles could a sign something is entirely wrong. 

If you’re seeking answers as to why your hot water keeps looking cloudy, you’re not alone. Most individuals even think that such cloudy water isn’t safe for consumption. 

On the contrary, hot cloudy water is harmless (provided the cloudiness clears off almost immediately). You can drink it or use to make your coffee or take a bath. 

In this post, you understand the possible reason your hot water is cloudy at times. So, continue reading. 

What Causes Hot Cloudy Water?

Many factors could be responsible for the hot cloudy water that keeps gushing out of your faucet. Let’s go through them quickly. 

1. Cloudiness caused by air bubbles

Water is the same everywhere. The only difference is that there is hard water and soft based on the amount of minerals in the water. 

Water (H2O) comprises two amazing gases – hydrogen and oxygen. And whatever state water is (gaseous or solid) it expands. Water also traps other minerals and gases along the way. 

So, why is your hot water cloudy? If your faucet isn’t faulty or the water isn’t contaminated, the probable cause would be the tiny air bubbles in the water. They make your water appear cloudy or, better put, milky as the water gushes out from the faucet. 

When you turn on the water heater, the molecules inside the water would begin to expand. They also trap other gasses as the pressure increases. 

However, after running the hot water into a glass, the cloudiness may disappear almost immediately. And this is caused by the reduction in pressure. The gasses can now separate and travel from the bottom to the surface. 

Once the gasses get to the surface of the glass cup, they escape into the atmosphere. You would understand this process better when you pour hot water into a clear glass and observe it. 

A Handy Tip: The cloudiness in hot water clears up in no time. It usually clears up from the bottom up as the gas starts escaping. 

2. Cloudiness caused by hard water

However, trapped air isn’t the only factor that causes hot water to appear cloudy. The type of water can also contribute to that. 

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If your area has hard water, you may experience cloudiness in your hot water from time to time. The reason is due to what’s called limescale build-up in the pipes or the appliances used in boiling the water. 

After boiling water in a kettle, take a closer look at the kettle. You would find some chalky-white deposits in there. That’s what we are referring to. Limescale builds up when you agitate hard water via heating. You may also experience this in the pipe or tap connected to the water heater or broiler. 

Is it safe to drink hard water that’s cloudy? Yes, you can drink it, though most people may find it unappealing.

What causes hard water and the chalkiness, which results after broiling the water, are the minerals. Hard water comes packed with loads of minerals.  

Can you remove the cloudiness in the hard water? Yes, you can. There are several ways you can take away the minerals responsible for the hardness of water and the cloudiness formed once it’s agitated. 

You can use a special water filter that boasts a polyphosphate scale inhibitor. Calcium treatment units and water softeners can also get the job done for you. 

3. Water cloudiness from alkalinity

Water’s total alkalinity can cause it to become cloudy. If the alkalinity is 150ppm, it then means your water contains excess carbonates. And that could be the possible cause of its cloudiness. 

4. Water cloudiness from biguanide sanitizer

Biguanide is a non-chlorine sanitizer used to purify pools and spas. When used in the right proportion, biguanide doesn’t irritate the eyes and skin. This sanitizer helps to decreases the water’s surface tension and gives it that smoother feel. 

But keep in mind that this sanitizer can make your water cloudy. It can also introduce an unpleasant odor in the water over time. 

How To Identify if the Water is Cloudy?

Water has universally acceptable characteristics. Water considered safe for drinking has to be odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Mark the word “colorless.” So, cloudiness is not one of the characteristics of water. 

Trapped gases can cause your water to become cloudy. Tiny rocks and other particles can cause that too. But when the water’s cloudiness is caused by tiny particles that came in through the pipe or remained on the glass, such water might be considered unsafe for drinking

A simple experiment to tell if your water is cloudy:

A simple experiment is to get a clear glass cup, get it washed, rinsed, and dried. You can use a clean cloth to dry the glass cup or turn it upside down for some minutes. The water left after rinsing will clear off. The reason for this is to ensure there are no particles by the time you run the water into the glass cup.

Now run the water from the tap into your glass cup. Fill it to the brim and place the glass cup on the table. The cloudiness in the glass cup should clear up in a matter of seconds. But if this doesn’t happen, then you have to be more concerned.

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You can identify cloudy water by merely looking at it. Look through the clear glass cup to have proper view of the water.

A Handy Tip:  If the air bubble clears up from the bottom up, then there’s no cause for alarm. The reason for this cloudiness is that air is trapped in the system. All you need to do is flush it out if you can. You have to run the tap for a while to flush out the cloudiness and normalize the water.   

However, finding the air bubbles getting cleared off from the top is not a good sign. What this means is that your pipes may have been contaminated. Smaller-sized particles such as stones, rock, dirt, or sand could be the culprit. 

In this case, you would have to hire a certified plumber to help fix the pipes and return the water to its original and acceptable quality. 

Ways To Fix The Cloudy Hot Water

Not everyone enjoys drinking or using cloudy water. The sight of the water alone could create this feeling of disgust. 

The good news is you can have your hot cloudy water problem fixed. But first, you need to do all you can to understand the problem or cause of your cloudy water. That way, you would know the right step to take. 

1. Fixing underground water issues

Cloudiness in water can be linked to the type of water produced from the ground in an area. If water supplied to your area is hard water, cloudiness can occur. Besides loads of minerals that hard water contains, agitation via boiling can make hard water become cloudy. 

Here’s the solution: Get the filter with polyphosphate limescale inhibitor. You can also deploy a water softener or a top-quality calcium treatment unit. These tools can help to take away the majority of the minerals responsible for the water’s hardness. They can also prevent water from limescale build-up. 

2. Fixing plumbing issues

The reason your hot water keeps getting cloudy could be due to issues with your plumbing. If, among all the faucets in the house, you discover that one of them keeps releasing hot cloudy water, check its aerator. 

A clogged aerator can cause your hot water to become cloudy. The clogging boosts the pressure. When the water manages to squeeze itself out of the faucet, it becomes cloudy. 

Here’s the solution: The first step you need to take is to check with other apartments. If they aren’t experiencing hot cloudy water, it then means your plumbing is faulty. 

If it’s only one tap you’re experiencing this cloudiness, here’s what you need to do. Get the aerator so the pressure would be reduced. 

To unclog the aerator:

  1. Dissolve white vinegar in water.
  2. Let it be half vinegar and half water.
  3. Rinse the aerator thoroughly in the water.
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Alternatively, you can get a new aerator. 

You should use this DIY process if only one of the faucets is faulty. If almost all the faucets produce cloudy water, contact a well-trained plumber to diagnose and fix the problem. The fault could be from the water heater, faucet, or pipes. 

3. Fixing cloudy air bubbles

This process is quite simple. If the cloudy water produced is due to air bubbles, all you have to do is keep flushing the water. By the time when cold water starts coming out, the air bubbles would have disappeared, and there would be no cloudiness in your water. 

Does Cold Water Become Cloudy?

Yes, it does. The reason cold water could get cloudy is due to air bubbles. For the records, the air cold water holds is more than that of hot water. 

You might experience cloudiness in your cold water when the weather is extremely cold outside. The reason is because air’s solubility in water increases proportionately with increased pressure. Its solubility also increases when the water temperature drops. 

Conclusion

Hot cloudy water is harmless if caused by air bubbles in the water. It usually clears off after a while. However, if the cloudiness persists, then it’s a cause for concern. 

One thing you need to have in mind is that numerous factors can cause hot water cloudiness. So, don’t just hinge it on air bubbles. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can cloudy water consumption cause you to fall sick?

The water you can consider safe should be odorless, tasteless, and colorless. However, depending on the factor responsible for the cloudiness, water might or might not be safe for consumption.

If the cloudiness doesn’t clear off quicker after pouring the water in a glass, then it may have been contaminated. Tiny particles such as dust, sand, and stones could be responsible for the cloudiness. And if that’s the case, then the water is not safe for drinking. 

2. Why is there white stuff in my tap water?

The white stuff has to do with the water’s hardness. Hard water contains a high amount of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and even silicate. When you agitate hard water through heating, you will find the white stuff.  

3. Can hot cloudy water be because of a plumbing issue?

Yes, fault in your plumbing can contribute to hot water cloudiness.

References:

https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-qa-why-my-drinking-water-cloudy?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/biguanides

https://www.watersafe.org.uk/news/latest_news/warningsigns_in_your_tap_water/

Sarah Walker
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