Taste and smells

If your water tastes or smells of chlorine or disinfectant, don’t worry, this is common.

The causes can be found here. Sometimes, however, you might notice your water has an earthy, stale, fuel or woody taste or smell, or it’s simply different.

Here we explain the causes and how to deal with them:

Earthy, musty or stale tastes and smells

Quick check list


My water:

  • tastes and smells musty, earthy or stale
  • often tastes/smells more noticeable first thing in the morning or when the property has been left for a period of time.

What can I do?


  • Run your taps to clear any water that’s been standing in your pipework.
  • Ensure your cold water tank is clean with a well-fitting lid
  • Check the inlet of the tank is as far as possible away from the outlet to allow the water to turnover and avoid any stagnation
  • If you run off any water from your taps, don’t waste it, collect and use for indoor or outdoor plants.

Woody tastes and smells

Quick Check list

My Water:

  • tastes or smells woody or like pencil wood
  • tastes or smells better after running the tap for a few minutes.

Fuel contamination

Quick check list

  • My tap water tastes or smells of fuel or solvents
  • I have a fuel tank stored at my property
  • There has been a fuel leak or spill nearby
  • All or part of my water pipe is made of plastic
  • My fuel tank was recently moved or filled up.


File icon Musty or stale

File icon Pencil wood

Still stuck? Try our self diagnosis tool to help solve the problem.


If you’re a business customer, contact your provider for more information.