My Services

Metallic or bitter tastes and smells

If you notice a metallic or bitter taste or smell in your water, it’s probably because of increased concentrations of copper or zinc.

These tastes or smells are often related to metal fittings, tanks and pipes used in your plumbing.

Copper and zinc are widely used in plumbing systems and these tastes or smells can occur when water has been standing in your pipework for long periods.

This effect is sometimes increased by warming from any unlagged hot water or central heating pipework that is close to your drinking water pipework.

You might notice metallic or bitter tastes more in large buildings or in buildings with long lengths of pipework, like blocks of flats and apartments, where the water has more pipe to travel through before it gets to your tap.

If you have a water storage tank, it’s a good idea to check what it’s made from and what condition it’s in as this could be a cause of the metallic taste or smell.

Generally bitter and metallic taste and smells may be resolved by running the tap for several minutes to bring fresh water into the property.

If you’re on a water meter, we can credit your bill with an amount to compensate you for the water you’ve used to flush the system.

You might notice the taste of chlorine as metallic or bitter, particularly if you smoke. Our advice for what to do if you taste or smell chlorine is different, so make sure you read that too.

Select from the icons below and find out more about why your water may taste or smell unusual and what you can do:

What to do if your water looks unusual.

How we look after your water quality.

Advice on your water hardness, fluoride and pets.