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Is Metallic Tasting Water Bad for You?

By: Stephanie Nielsen
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Ever wondered why sometimes your water has a metallic taste? It’s a peculiar sensation that can catch you off guard. 

Many people experience this peculiar flavor in their drinking water. Before you worry, let’s dive into what might be causing this taste and if it poses any health risks.

Key Points

  • A metallic taste in the water could mean a number of things, such as water treatment chemicals, a lot of minerals, changes in the pH level, the growth of bacteria, or problems with the plumbing. 
  • Additives used to treat water usually mean it is safe to drink, but activated carbon filters can get rid of the metallic taste.
  • If the water has a lot of minerals in it or the pH level changes, water softeners and iron/manganese filters can help. Acid-neutralizing filters can help if the pH level changes.
  • Water systems can be kept clean to stop bacteria from growing, and water that sits still needs to be flushed often. You can avoid plumbing problems by having regular inspections and fixing or replacing old pipes.
  • Making sure water quality is good and safe for people to drink can be helped by testing it regularly, getting advice from professionals, learning about water quality, and being ready for emergencies.
water glass

Is Metallic Water Dangerous?

Should you be worried about your health if your water tastes like metal? In most cases, a slight metallic taste in your water isn’t bad for you. 

The “danger level” of your water’s metallic taste actually depends on what’s causing it. So, in order for you to ensure your safety and improve your water’s quality, you should investigate what’s causing this awkward taste in your water.

Possible Causes and Solutions for Metallic Tasting Water

Let’s explore some key reasons behind this metallic-tasting water and their severity levels.

Water Treatment Additives

  • Severity: Low

Sometimes, the very process designed to make our water safe can affect its taste. For example, cities treat water with various chemicals to kill germs and other harmful organisms. 

Occasionally, these additives can give your water a slight metallic aftertaste, although it generally means the water is still safe to drink.

Dealing with Water Treatment Additives

  • Activated Carbon Filters: Use activated carbon filter systems or pitchers to remove chlorine tastes and smells resulting from municipal water treatment.
  • Raise Your Concerns: If you’re concerned about the levels of additives, contacting local water services for details can offer peace of mind.

High Mineral Content

  • Severity Low to Moderate

Water naturally picks up minerals as it flows through the environment. But sometimes, it collects a bit too much. 

Areas with hard water, characterized by high levels of calcium and magnesium, often report a metallic taste. Moreover, iron and manganese—two metals commonly found in groundwater—can also contribute to this issue, especially in regions relying on well water.

Even though small amounts of these minerals are not harmful and their severity is usually low, high levels of iron and manganese can stain fixtures and clothes, which can only be fixed by using water softening or filtration systems. 

Tackling High Mineral Content

  • Water Softeners: Install a water softener to treat hard water, reducing calcium and magnesium levels that contribute to the metallic taste.
  • Iron/Manganese Filters: Specialized filters can remove excess iron and manganese from your water supply.

pH Level Fluctuations

  • Severity: Moderate

The pH level—a measure of how acidic or alkaline your water is—can also influence its taste. Water is ideally neutral at a pH of 7. However, when it becomes too acidic (<7) or too alkaline (>7), it might start tasting bitter or metallic. 

These changes in pH levels can be caused by pollutants or natural geological processes. Long-term use of water with the wrong pH levels could be bad for your health and your plumbing. 

Correcting pH Level Fluctuations

  • pH Neutralizers: Installation of acid neutralizing filters can help balance the pH level of your drinking water, reducing corrosivity and improving taste.

Bacterial Growth

  • Severity: Moderate to High

Certain types of bacteria thriving in water systems can produce substances that react with metals or minerals in the water, creating a metallic taste. This is especially common in areas with stagnant water or in systems that aren’t regularly flushed.

The severity varies but can reach high levels if specific harmful bacteria are present. While not all bacteria affecting the taste are harmful to health, their presence can indicate poor water quality or a need for system maintenance.

Minimizing Bacterial Growth

  • System Sanitization: Clean your water heaters and storage tanks every so often. Also, make sure that any pipe ends that do not connect to anything else are regularly flushed or removed.

Plumbing Issues

  • Severity: Moderate to High

The pipes in your home play a significant role in the taste of your water. Old or corroded pipes can leach metals like iron, copper, or zinc into your water supply, leading to that unwanted metallic flavor. 

It’s particularly noticeable if the water has been sitting in the pipes for a long time, say, first thing in the morning or after returning from a vacation.

This scenario can become severe if the corrosion leads to leaks or significant water quality issues, potentially affecting your health over long-term exposure.

Addressing Plumbing Issues

  • Regular Inspections: Schedule annual inspections of your home’s plumbing system to identify and replace corroded or aging pipes.
  • Flush Systems: After extended periods without use (e.g., after a vacation), flush your pipes by running taps for several minutes.
  • Maintaining and Replacing: To keep sediment from building up, drain and clean your water heater as often as the manufacturer suggests. You should also consider replacing old units with newer, more efficient models.
water tap

General Best Practices for Addressing Metallic Tasting Water 

Implementing general best practices can serve as both preventative and corrective measures. Let’s delve deeper into these strategies to ensure consistently high-quality water in your home.

person drinking water

Post-Event Testing

When there is a known event of contamination in your area or a big change in the taste, smell, or color of the water, you should test it right away to make sure there are no health risks.

If you want to learn how to test your home’s water yourself, here’s a guide that can help you.

Professional Consultations and Solutions

Talk to environmental engineers or people who work with water quality. They can correctly interpret test results and suggest the best treatment options for your needs.

Based on what experts say, you might want to install advanced water treatment systems. Some of these are reverse osmosis units, ultraviolet light sanitation, and next-generation filters that are made to get rid of specific contaminants found in your water.

Staying Informed and Proactive

Stay connected with local environmental groups and water boards to stay informed about water quality issues and initiatives in your area.

Keep up with any new rules or regulations that affect the quality of water. Public health and safety can get better in the long run by supporting policies that protect local water resources.

Emergency Preparedness 

Keep bottled water on hand in case of an emergency where the safety of tap water is questionable. You should also know what to do if your area issues a boil water advisory.


There is a chance that a metallic taste in your water is not a big deal, but you should look into it more to make sure it is safe and of good quality. The taste and safety of your water can be improved by finding out why your water tastes metallic and fixing the problems that cause it.

Whether you are treating water additives, dealing with high mineral content, fixing pH level changes, stopping bacterial growth, or fixing plumbing problems, being proactive will help you keep your home’s water quality high. 

You can protect your health and make sure your water is clean, safe, and does not taste metallic by staying informed, talking to experts, and being ready for emergencies.

Photo of author
Stephanie Nielsen
Stephanie worked as a department supervisor of kitchen, bath, and appliances at Home Depot, and water filters were part of the inventory she was responsible for assisting clients with so she learned the ins and outs of matching the right filtration device to homeowner’s needs. She also worked closely with Culligan water to educate customers about whole-home water treatment and softener systems.

Learn More About The Water Tech Editorial Team

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