Why does my water taste sour?

A sour taste is most commonly caused by acidic water. Water with a lower pH level will begin to taste sour and have a higher chance of tasting metallic over time as more acidic water can start to erode your pipes, causing the metals to leech into your drinking water.

You can easily test the pH level of your water with an at-home pH strip to see if this is the cause of the sour taste in your water.

The sour taste in most cooking is generated by acids such as acetic acid (vinegar) and citric acids (fruit).

How to fix Sour (Acidic) Water

If you have highly acidic water, you will want to treat it before it gets into your system, as acidic water can cause havoc with metal pipes. Acidity is not something that can be ‘removed’; it has to be neutralized by adding a base. The level of acidity in your water will determine the amount and type of base added to your water to bring it up to a neutral pH.

Fix water with a pH of 6

For slightly acidic water with a pH value of ~6, the most common method is to use an acid neutralizer tank at the water’s entry point into your home. Calcite is great in that it is self-correcting, it will only bring the water up to neutral and won’t go any further. While this is fantastic if you have slightly acidic water if your water has a pH lower than 6, you will need something with a little bit more power. Calcite relies on contact with the water to work, so if water is quickly moving through the tank or the pH is too low, it won’t be effective enough.

Note: While calcite is really great at neutralizing acidic water, calcium is one of the main causes of hard water. So while you will succeed in making your water less sour/acidic you may have to deal with additional water hardness problems.

Fix water with a pH of 5.5N

For water around a 5.5 pH you will have to use a mixture of magnesium oxide and calcite. Magnesium oxide is more potent than calcite however, it has the potential to overcorrect. Additionally, too much magnesium oxide in your drinking water can have a laxative effect. For these reasons, it’s best to use just enough to get your water in the neutral range.

Fix water with a pH in the 4’s or low 5’s

If your water is in the low 5’s or 4’s, then you will need to use a chemical injection system to bring the water up to a comfortably neutral level. A chemical injection system injects the acidic water with a mixture that contains soda ash and caustic soda before it enters your home. These systems are high maintenance and require a lot of upkeep. If your home’s water is that acidic, it is necessary to protect your health and your plumbing. For reference, tomato juice is a weak acid with a 4 pH.

If you are having issues with your water, you can use our ‘Taste Series’ to find the source of the issue in your water supply:

Adam S

Adam S

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