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We know it can be a bit worrying if your water appears cloudy/discoloured, but there's usually a simple explanation for this.

White, cloudy or milky

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Fixing it:

Fill a clear glass with water and watch carefully for a few minutes. The air should start to rise in the glass and the water will start to clear from the bottom. If the water clears from the bottom of the glass, it's definitely aerated water. The air does not affect the quality of your water.

The air generally clears by itself within one or two hours. If it goes on for longer or you're concerned, please contact us and we can advise you further.

But why does this happen?

Warm Water

If water warms up in the pipework, this causes naturally dissolved air to come out and cause cloudy water. If running the tap for a short time clears the cloudiness, it may be that you need to lag your hot or cold pipes to prevent this from happening.

Tap Washer

A faulty tap washer can also draw air in and make the water look cloudy. Check other taps in your property. If your taps are dripping or if flow changes solve the problem, replace the washer with an approved product.


If we've recently fixed a water main nearby, this can cause the water to be aerated and can make your water appear cloudy. Check our alerts for on-going work in your area.

Heating System/Boiler

If you notice cloudiness or air in your hot water but your cold water is clear, this suggests there may be a problem with your heating system or boiler. Unfortunately, we can’t help with this, so you may wish to contact the manufacturer or a WaterSafe plumber or GasSafe heating engineer.

Brown or discoloured water

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Fixing it:

Run your cold kitchen tap for about 5 minutes. If the water begins to run clear, continue to run the tap until it has been completely flushed through. If the colour of your water does not improve after 5 minutes, check out our alerts page for any ongoing work in your area, as this may affect the colour of your water. If you're concerned, or if this is an ongoing problem, then please contact us and we can help you further.

But why does this happen?

Brown water is usually caused by iron in your water supply and can be a result of iron sediment being disturbed. This can be due to:

  • Ongoing work on the water mains in your area
  • Deterioration of your storage tanks. If this is the case, contact a WaterSafe plumber so they can advise you on the next steps to take.
  • Corrosion of your service pipes. This is more likely to be the case if you see it more regularly when the water is left standing, particularly overnight, and if the water then runs clear when you run the cold kitchen tap.

Water seems to be blue

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Fixing it

This problem should only last for a few days until a layer of limescale builds up on the inside of the pipes. If you’ve been experiencing this for several weeks, we advise you contact either the company who built the property or carried out the renovations, or an approved WaterSafe plumber. This is more common if you have a water softener installed at your property, which you should notify our Fitting Regulations team about.

But why does it happen?

Most household pipes are made from copper, and in buildings with new plumbing, small amounts of copper can dissolve into the water. This doesn’t usually cause any problems other than the slight risk of staining (particularly for white baths and sinks). If the water has been in contact with the pipes for a long time, this can lead to the water having a blue tint.

This could also be due to the use of toilet blocks in cisterns. If the system doesn't have suitable backflow protection, this can also cause blue water at other taps within your property. If you notice this, then we advise you contact a WaterSafe plumber to assist you, and please let us know too.

Suspected staining caused by water

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From time to time, you may notice stains or discolouration in the areas where you use water, such as around taps in sinks and basins. In nearly all cases, this isn't caused by the water itself. 

But why does it happen?

Pink or red stains can sometimes be seen on shower curtains, bath sealant or around taps. This isn't caused by the water itself, but by the growth of common bacteria or yeast. These are completely natural, and don't affect the quality of your mains water supply.

Black, grey, or reddish staining can occur around taps in your bathroom, on grout between tiles, and in your washing machine powder drawer. This is caused by airborne mould that can grow and spread in damp areas. If the area is poorly ventilated, then this problem can become worse.

Fixing it

Regularly wipe down wet surfaces and increase air flow within your property by opening a window or fitting an extractor fan.

TOP TIP: Household cleaners, disinfectants, or bleach can be used to clean off bacteria or yeast spores and staining. There are also specific cleaners that are designed to tackle mould. Always ensure you read the instructions for any product you use.

Orange or pink particles

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Some customers may experience an orange slime-like substance coming through their taps. This is sometimes best described as frogspawn, or jelly-like in appearance, and looks like small beads.

What to do…

The first thing to check is whether or not you have a water softener installed. If you do, this is almost certainly the cause. This happens when the softener's internal filter breaks, and can cause the substance to leak into the domestic plumbing system. It's also important that you have water softeners regularly serviced and maintained in accordance with the manufacturers' guidance. 

If you do NOT have a water softener and are experiencing this, then please contact us for further advice.

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