Can copper pipes cause bad tasting water?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ February 22, 2012 ~ Comments

The drinking water in our house has a bad metal taste to it ever since we had new pipes put in. A new water heater was installed and some old cast iron piping was replaced with copper, but now the water actually tastes like a mouthful of pennies. Is there a way to make the bad taste disappear?

Sally J. ~ Reading, PA

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Sally. I suspect that the metallic taste you're experiencing with your water is simply due to the new copper pipes not having had time to become coated with minerals. I normally use copper piping in new homes and one of the most frequent complaints I hear when purchasers move in is that the water has a metallic or strange taste. Even though the copper pipes have water running through them during the latter stages of construction, it's normally not enough to coat the pipes. Even new purchasers moving from homes that had copper water pipes notice the difference initially. How long it takes to coat the pipes depends on the amount of water your family uses each day.

One other issue that could be causing the taste is a type of flux some plumbing contractors use when soldering the joints in copper water pipes. This also should go away with time, but if it doesn't, ask your plumbing contractor to come back and flush the water pipes with a beach solution.

I wouldn't think that the metallic taste would have anything to do with the water supply around Reading if you just noticed it after the plumbing repairs. I also don't believe that it would be caused by your new water heater as that would only affect your hot water.

If the taste persists and flushing the water pipes doesn't seem to have any effect, you might want to consider installing a small water filter. I think it will go away though, as copper pipes have a pretty good reputation for not adding taste to a home's water unless they are old and corrosion is involved. On the other hand, some plumbing contractors do believe that cast iron water piping can add a metallic taste.

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