Tastes and smells
We work hard to provide clean, clear water that tastes good.

Lots of things can change the way your water tastes or smells.


We filter the water to remove any debris, kill bad bacteria, and we test the water (a lot!) to make sure it meets our high, regulated standards.


Noticing a change in your water can cause some worry, but many of the causes are harmless. We've pulled together some information about the most common types of tastes and smells.

Does your water taste or smell of:
Chlorine, or 'swimming pool water'
Our water comes from different sources, like rivers, reservoirs and groundwater.


This means you may notice a difference in taste between areas in the North East. These small differences are perfectly normal.


Just moved home?

If you have moved house, your water may come from a new source. You′ll get used to the taste over time. 


Seasonal changes

Seasonal changes also affect how our water tastes, because small tweaks may be needed in the treatment process. Chlorine may taste or smell stronger in the cold weather, too.


TOP TIP! Chill your water before drinking it. Fill a jug or bottle and put it in the fridge. Remember to pour any unused water away at the end of your day and refill it, to keep the water fresh.

TCP, antiseptic or mouthwash
We need to treat our water with chlorine in order to kill harmful bacteria.


Now, for a bit of science. The chlorine we use to kill nasty bugs can react with plastic and rubber in your plumbing. This causes a taste or smell of TCP, mouthwash or antiseptic.


But chlorine isn't the only suspect here!

If the taste or smell is noticeable in hot drinks only, it could be down to your kettle.


If your kettle is new, make sure to use fresh water every time you use it. If your kettle is older, and a bit worn, it may be time to replace it.


If the taste or smell is noticeable in both hot and cold drinks, check your plumbing and fittings. Worn, damaged fittings should be replaced with WRAS-approved ones.


Check your valves

If you've recently had a new appliance plumbed in, it could be the culprit. Check the appliance has a 'check valve' or a non-return valve.


This makes sure the water flows in the right direction, and stops water flowing back up the pipe.


If you don't have a check valve, get a WaterSafe-approved plumber to fit a WRAS-approved one, so your plumbing meets water supply regulations.

Musty or stale

Standind water

'Musty' or 'stale' tastes and smells can be caused by standing water.


TOP TIP! If your home has stood empty for a while, run your cold water to flush out the pipes.


Blocked drains and pipes

If you only notice the smell when you′re near the sink, make sure the sink and overflow are clean. Fats, greases and oils can build up in pipes, leading to bad smells and blockages. 


Wash the sink drains with bleach and hot water. If the blockage is stubborn and won't shift after a good bleach, call in a reliable plumber.


You can find local, approved plumbers at www.watersafe.org.uk.


Pipe insulation

Hot and cold water pipes that run close together must be properly lagged and insulated. This means the hot water supply can't heat the water in the cold supply.

Egg or fish
We've had a number of customers describe their water as 'eggy' or 'fishy', and the most common cause of this is a build up in the wastepipe and overflow.


TOP TIP! Try cleaning the sink and overflow with very hot water and bleach. Be sure to only use cleaning chemicals that are safe for your kitchen surfaces.


Throw out old, disposable sponges and dishcloths.


If the smell or taste continues, and your neighbours are unaffected, contact a reliable plumber. Find local, approved plumbers at www.watersafe.org.uk.

If you can taste metal in your water, it's likely to be metal pipework causing it.


This taste or smell can be even more noticeable from the hot water supply.


It can also be due to parts in the hot water system breaking down. Try running the hot water for a few minutes. If this doesn't help the taste or smell, you'll need to get the system checked.


Find an approved plumber at watersafe.org.uk.

Diesel or petrol
It is very important you contact us, if you think your water tastes or smells like diesel or petrol.


Please call us on 0345 717 1100.

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