Colors, odors and tastes—is your water changing with the seasons?

by Diana M Published 5.17.2013

Another spring is here, a time of change and wonderment. The landscape changes, the types of birds one sees and the songs they sing change. Everything seems to burst with renewed life, including some water supplies!

For well water users and some municipally supplied water users, a change in weather can create a change in water. And friends, change is not always good. Well water may change with a rainy season, which can introduce materials to the aquifer that had not previously been there. Some municipalities change the source of their water supply with the changing seasons and weather conditions. Often times, the supply is from a well, and a different well means different water. Even two wells on the same property can produce two entirely different types of water.

Illustration of colorful clouds over a home

In the spring and the fall, we can count on receiving calls from customers about this very thing. Common unwanted changes to the water include new colors, odors and tastes, which are produced by a variety of causes.

Irons’ reddish brown stains are probably the most familiar to us all. However, tannins—the result of rotting vegetation—cause staining very similar to iron. Shale, organics and manganese can result in black staining. These are just a few causes of color in water. If you find that you have any of these in your water supply, don’t despair; they can be treated.

Odor is another issue that can arise from the changing of seasons or weather. A concern we hear frequently is rotten egg smell resulting from sulfur. This can leave one wondering if an egg was missed in the Easter Egg Hunt. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and we have to admit it is the water. 

Anything that alters the color of water can alter the taste. As an example, iron may produce a metallic taste. We frequently hear from people that grew up on well water and not only expect but enjoy the mineral or metallic taste. If it wasn’t present in your water before, though, it might come as quite a shock.

We even get calls from people with water softeners. Now, you may be asking yourself why your water softener is allowing these changes to come through. A water softener is designed to remove calcium and magnesium. These are the hardness minerals that create scale in pipes, appliances, sinks and tubs. Often times, however, staining and odor require a different type of treatment.

Color, taste and odor can become a permanent part of your water supply or they may be passing with the seasons. Rest assured; with proper testing and treatment, your water can be brought back to normal in no time. Your local water treatment professional can advise you based on their experience as to whether it may be passing or permanent and provide the perfect solution for you.

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It wasn't the soap, it was my water!

by Guest Bloggers Published 6.22.2012

L. Heiden has been in the water treatment business for more than 25 years. Currently, she is a National Account Executive for UL and is an active member of the Water Quality Association.

Before my 25 years working in the water treatment industry, all I knew about water was that it was wet and I liked to swim in it. As a child I lived several different places but the one I called home was my grandparent’s house in a small village in Northeastern Ohio. This was the home that my father and his siblings grew up in and eventually where I spent my teenage years.

As a teenage girl I took lots of showers. I remember we always used a beauty bar soap which was supposed to be made with “¼ moisturizing cream.”  Funny, but I also remember my skin feeling tight and dry and because of that, I always felt that this was bogus advertising.

As a young adult with a husband and new baby, I lived in the same house in the small village that I grew up in.  I finally got to choose which soaps I wanted to buy and use. I knew one thing; it would not be that bogus soap with the cream in it.  Well, it turned out that no matter what soap I bought, I always had that dry tight feeling after showering. To try and combat this, I’d pour on the lotions and goop up my baby girl with baby oil. This was only a temporary fix.

bottle of soap or lotionEventually, my husband and I bought a house in the country, about fifteen miles away from the house in the village where I grew up. The water in the country was very different. Instead of that dry tight feeling, I was left with a sticky, filmy residue after showering.  It was at this time in my life when I was first introduced to water treatment.  It was like a light clicked on in my head when I started working at Kinetico. I finally learned why there was such a difference in my water when I lived in the small village versus the water in my home in the country. The house in the village was on a city water supply which took water from seven different wells (not always the same ones) every day and chlorinated it to make it safe to drink and use.  This chlorine was the source of my dry tight skin when I lived in my family home; the same feeling you get after swimming in a pool! The water in the country was supplied by a private well on our property. This water was not chlorinated so I did not get that dry tight feeling. However, it was loaded with iron and had a lot of hardness made up of calcium, magnesium and other minerals. The hardness in the well water, along with the iron, I learned, was binding with the soaps and creating a soap curd which clung to my skin and created that nasty sticky feeling after showering. A water softener to get rid of the hardness along with a prefilter ahead of it to trap the red iron and sediment was the cure. I was now able to enjoy my showers and guess what, I could even use that moisturizing soap and realized that the advertisement was not what was bogus it was my water quality!

Now as a mature adult, I’ve come full circle and once again live in the old family home in the village which is now considered a “city” as the population has grown to a whopping 5,000 people! When I first moved back there was an issue with the water meter. The city water department sent a technician to check it out. While he was working on the meter I told him how disgusting I found the water in our village to be. He was surprised and a little shocked.  He informed me that most people felt the water in our village was great.  I am not sure he understood the difference between people thinking the water was great and people not realizing how much better it could be. I’ll admit it …. I am now a water snob after becoming accustomed to dechlorinated - iron free - soft water thanks to my Kinetico equipment. It happens to the best of us. Once you have water without chlorine, minerals, iron and odor, it is difficult to go back to what you previously thought was “great” water.


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Water: Understand it, Value it, Respect it. Learn more about life’s most vital resource.

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