Why Does My Drinking Water Taste Bad?


If you're unhappy with the taste or smell of your home's tap water, chances are the culprit is either chlorine, chloramine, disinfection byproducts, or sulfur. Bad tasting water is one of the leading reasons people turn to bottled water, which unfortunately results in billions of plastic bottles being thrown away each year. Luckily, all 4 of these chemicals can be effectively removed with the right filter. Here are a few things to know about each chemical and what you can do to get great-tasting water right from your tap.


Most municipal utility providers (roughly 80%) disinfect their drinking water with chlorine to protect against water-borne diseases. While chlorine is effective at getting rid of nasty biological contamination, and is safe to drink, it gives your water that swimming pool smell and an unpleasant taste.


As an alternative to chlorine, a growing number of municipalities are upgrading their water treatment facilities to use chloramine as the primary disinfectant, in an attempt to minimize the formation of disinfection byproducts (see below). While this is a good thing, chloramine is harder to filter from water than chlorine, so people in cities like Washington, D.C., Houston, San Francisco, and Denver, among many others, typically find that inexpensive filters don't make their water taste as good as they were hoping.

Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs):

Disinfection Byproducts or DBPs are a class of chemicals formed when chlorine-based disinfectants react with naturally occurring organic compounds. These byproducts not only make water taste and smell bad, they can also be bad for your health. Most inexpensive filters do not do a good job removing them.


The unmistakable “rotten egg” smell found in some water isn't typically harmful, but it does make water unpleasant to drink and bathe with. Homes that draw from wells frequently have sulfur issues. The culprit is a volatile sulfur-based chemical called Hydrogen Sulfide that, luckily, can be easily removed with a Hydroviv under-sink or shower filter.

Learn more about Hydroviv's personalized water filter products.

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