Why does my water taste funny?

If your tap water starts tasting funny then it is best to get to the root cause of why. Some tastes that occur in water can be harmless in small quantities, while others are cause for immediate concern.

‘Funny’ can be a fairly broad term, so let’s narrow down exactly what kind of taste your drinking water has so that we can find out what might be causing your water to taste this way:

How to fix funny-tasting water

There are many methods to remove funny tastes from your water; some require a whole home system, while others are treatments that can fix a specific cause of metal in your water. First, you’ll want to test your water to identify what the root cause of your problem is and then consult an expert to see which water filtration system works best for your situation.

Reverse Osmosis

Works by pushing water through a membrane that stops many harmful contaminants. Reverse osmosis is quite effective at improving water quality and will remove many dissolved solids and other chemical contaminants. It works to remove most metals including copper, lead, magnesium, manganese, and iron. It should be noted that hydrogen sulfide is a gas and if it’s dissolved in the water supply it can pass through a reverse osmosis system.


Not my favourite form of water purification as it removes the most’ taste’ from the water; however it is the best at removing some contaminants. Distilled water is made by boiling water into steam; this leaves the contaminants and dissolved minerals behind. With proper usage, distillation will remove 100% of minerals from the water, however it will not remove things with a lower boiling point than water, such as chlorine (however, chlorine will naturally off-gas). This makes distillation a great option for removing metals. You can also add minerals back into your water after distillation to improve the tap water taste.

Activated Charcoal

Suppose you’re looking to improve the taste of your water while leaving behind some of the healthier minerals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium. In that case, an activated charcoal filter might be right for you. While it will still leave behind some unwanted minerals, it can vastly reduce any that might cause health problems. For example, a properly maintained activated charcoal filter can remove many metals up to a 90% level. However it won’t be able to completely remove the metals, so if you have a dangerous metal such as lead in your water system you will want something more robust.

Note: For ‘funny’ tasting water an activated charcoal filter is the easiest method to try out at home. You can install it on a tap, under your sink, or even just use a jug with a filter inside.

Water Softener

A water softener can remove small amounts of metal from your water, however, if you are experiencing a large amount of metals in your water softener, you will want to use another method of water treatment or add an iron filter to your water softener.

Iron/Rust Filter

An iron filter is a replaceable cartridge that removes iron from your water supply.

Rust Removal

A rust remover is a treatment that can be done on your water softener. Follow the instructions of a rust remover like Rust Out. This will help in the short term, but you should still try to find out what is causing rust in your system.

Flushing Your Pipes

This is especially useful to remove rust from your iron pipes in a home or pipe that hasn’t been used very often. It is the simplest solution, however it doesn’t fix the root cause of the problem. If your water tastes bitter or metallic after flushing the pipes, you will need to address the root of the problem.

The Taste Series

Does your water taste a certain type of way? Find out why with our series of water taste articles.

Adam S

Adam S

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TryWater Club is a website dedicated to everything water.  Drinking, finding, exploring, and tasting.

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