Mark in Davis, CA is wondering about the quality of the water that comes out of his tap, and whether it’s okay for him to drink it. Mark says:
“I don’t want to get into my exact age, but I remember when getting a cool drink of water was as easy as taking a glass out of the cabinet and filling it at the kitchen sink. In the past few decades, this seems to have changed; everywhere I look, I see bottled water and filtered pitchers to make our tap water “clean.”
I live in Davis, a college town and a community with deep agricultural roots, so there’s a lot of talk about environmental sustainability and going green and clean. I’m wondering if this extends to the quality of our water. Heck, I guess I’m just wondering about our water in general because I’ve noticed that it does have a bit of a funny taste and smell.
Basically, what I want to know is whether or not Davis tap water is safe to drink. And, if it’s not, should I take action to make my Davis tap water clean and drinkable? I’m downright parched and very much looking forward to my next cool, crystal clear drink of local water!”
Mark, I don’t want to make you feel too old, but I’ve heard tell of those simpler times where tap water was always drinkable and they sound gloriously refreshing, to say the least. Your question is a good one, not only for Davis, but for all Northern California communities where the quality and abundance of our water seems to always be conflicted and changing. The answer, however, isn’t as clear. It’s a little murkier, like tap water that you definitely shouldn’t drink.
Fortunately for Mark, and anyone else in Northern California wondering to themselves, “Is Davis tap water safe to drink?” there are things you can do to guarantee beyond a shadow of a doubt that the water in your own home will always be fresh and sparkling clean.
Is Davis Tap Water Safe to Drink?
The simple answer is that, yes, Davis tap water is safe to drink; there’s not much argument about that. However, a common answer to this question is that the water in Davis tastes funny, unless maybe you’ve grown up drinking it. The reason is that Davis has what’s known as hard water, and analysis of hard ground water in our area has previously turned up high carcinogen readings and other potential troubles as well.
What Is Hard Water… and Does It Describe My Davis Tap Water?
Hard water is high in dissolved minerals and it occurs in many communities that draw their tap water from the ground, common throughout Northern California. It has a few noticeable effects on your home that range from easily noticeable to very hard to detect. Let’s take a look at some ways you can identify whether or not the faucet in your Davis house is piping in hard water:
- A funny taste or smell: Mark specifically mentioned that his water has a funny taste and smell. If you’re noticing the same thing, this could be a sure sign of having hard water. Mark didn’t get into specifics, but the most common hard water taste is one that’s a little bit metallic, due to the excess of iron.
- Odd stains and soap scum: If you’re noticing vague reddish stains on white porcelain or splotches on your clean dishes that make them look dirty, that could be another sign you have hard water running through the pipes of your Davis home. This is also caused by having too much iron or other minerals. Folks with hard water also complain that soap scum seems to accumulate at a faster than average rate, which happens because the minerals in hard water don’t play well with soap, leading to an effect that makes soap scum more prevalent.
- Clogged or damaged pipes: Having hard water isn’t just a problem for someone like Mark who wants tastier tap water, it can also lead to having an effect of pipe scaling in your home. Minerals do funny things to plumbing because they contain magnetic properties that cause them to glom onto the iron and copper pipes, continuing to build on each other like staking lego bricks. Over time, they get so thick that plaque builds up and damages the piping. This, of course, is a bit less obvious than the other signs, which means you may only notice it when so much plaque has been allowed to build up that you start getting backflow into your sinks, showers, or toilets.
- Poor shower quality: Hard water in your shower can lead to an increased incidence of skin rashes and irritation, or, in extreme cases, health problems that include a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.
Solutions for Treating Hard Tap Water in Davis—and Making It Safe to Drink
If you do have hard water that leaves you constantly wondering if Davis tap water is safe to drink, you can soften your home’s hard water with a water conditioning system. If, like Mark, you have any concerns about your water at all, I’d suggest contacting a plumbing expert. A local professional plumber will be able to come out to your home and run a quick water-quality test. From there, they can advise you on what your options are.
Generally, there are three types of water systems homeowners should consider:
- Reverse osmosis: A reverse osmosis filter uses the natural principles of hydrostatic pressure to grab bad substances, like heavy metals, before they enter the drinking water supply.
- Water softening: This method uses salt to snag those heavy minerals, including chromium-6, replacing them with sodium ions.
- Magnetic water conditioning: Instead of grabbing the minerals as they pass, this method uses big magnets to neutralize the heavy minerals when they enter the house. These neutralized minerals no longer cling to pipes, so water scaling isn’t a problem.
So, Mark is right to wonder whether or not Davis tap water is safe to drink. My answer is yes, it absolutely is, but I would strongly advise working with a professional plumber to learn exactly how safe it is—and to look into some of the drinking water solutions we’ve discussed.
Water is, obviously, vital to sustaining life; you don’t want to take risks with it. Also, for older folks like Mark (kidding, Mark!) there’s some value in the nostalgia you can get from being able to draw a cool glass of clear drinking water straight from your tap.
To learn more about the water quality in your home and how it may be affecting your pipes—or even your home’s energy efficiency—contact the trained plumbing professionals at Bell Brothers today for more info or a free in-home consultation.
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