QWHAT’S IN THE WATER? We recently moved onto a narrowboat and the domestic water has become cloudy / greyish. Any ideas why? Is it safe to use? ROBYN1234, via the CB website
AThis could be something dissolved in the water, fine air bubbles, or particles suspended in the water. Fill a tumbler and let it stand. If the cloudiness stays the same, it’s something dissolved in the water or of biological origin. If it clears from the bottom up, it’s air. If it tends to clear from the top down and leaves a deposit in the glass, it’s suspended particles.
In the first case (something dissolved), it probably came in when you filled the tank. Unless you want to get into steam cleaning the tank, drain the tank via the taps (engine running to keep the battery charged) and refill a few times from a source you have tested with a tumbler. Then sterilise the tank and pipes with a proprietary product, Milton, or cheap thin bleach and flush the system again.
In the second case (air), the pump is sucking air into the system. Make sure the tank is full, check that the main stop valve between tank and pump is fully turned on, check that any strainer on the tank side of the pump is clear, and that there are no damp patches around the pump. If the pump is not connected to flexible pipes the pump to pipe joints can leak. You might have a pinhole in the pump diaphragm, but this often shows as a small leak and the pump running more than usual.
In the final case (suspended particles) then unless you have a mild steel water tank or one that uses the hull as part of the tank, the most likely explanation is that it is the result of filling the tank (so proceed as per the first case). Some mild steel tanks are cement-washed to prevent rust, and a hard impact may have dislodged some cement wash. I doubt that would make the water harmful, but I would drain and refill the tank, and plan to get the tank inspection cover open soon so you can inspect the tank, deal with any rust, and recoat with a product suitable for use with potable water.
Where are you filling your tank from?