If your water tastes metallic, there’s something in your water. That ‘something’ is likely copper and it may be harming you and your home in more ways than one. Here’s everything you need to know about copper in your water.
Copper is an element found within the earth’s crust. That said, it’s usually extracted from copper mines underground. After extracting the sediment, the rock is refined through a series of processes to produce pure copper. Most often, copper is combined with other elements to create new matter. Most often, it’s combined with tin to make bronze or with zinc to make brass.
Due to its adaptable properties, copper is often used to create common, household goods. For example, cars manufactured in the U.S. can contain around 50 pounds of copper. Similarly, U.S. homes contain around 400 pounds. Within your home, you’re likely to find it inside your walls as many pipes and electrical wires are made of copper. You might even find it in your wallet or pocket if you have a penny created before 1982. While they used to be made of 95% copper, pennies are now made of 96.7% zinc and only 2.4% copper.
The most common way copper contaminates water is through the corrosion of pipes, faucets and water fixtures. When hot water runs through copper pipes, the element is stripped and dissolves into the water. Similarly, water sitting in pipes overnight can have the same effect on copper. Copper levels in water may vary depending on the other minerals present, the length of time water sits in your pipes and the water’s temperature and acidity. Not to mention, other heavy metals may also sneak into your water as a result of mining. Upon refining copper, leftover waste (like lead and mercury) is drained into rivers and streams, contaminating our water supplies.
Copper can affect both you and your home. Around your home, you may notice blue or green stains on faucets, pipes, and sinks as well as bitter or metallic tasting water. In regards to your health, excess copper intake can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains. If you experience any unusual side effects, consult a medical professional immediately. While signs of copper in your water supply may sometimes be obvious, they can also go undetected. Thus, it’s best to have your water professionally tested for levels of copper and other dangerous minerals.
To test for copper in your water, get started with a free in-home water test from Culligan. Whether you get your water from a private well or from a public supply, your water could become contaminated by the time it drips from your faucets. That said, well water is at even higher risk of infection. As so, the EPA recommends testing your water every two to three years or sooner if you notice signs of contamination. By regularly testing for copper in water, you can help protect your home and yourself.
To reduce copper in your water supply, allow water from faucets to run for 30 seconds before use. Alternatively, water filters like Culligan’s Reverse Osmosis Filtration Systems can do the work for you. By filtering out harsh elements like copper, lead and mercury, you’ll have cleaner, better tasting water to use throughout your home when you need it most.