United States

Problem Water Series: Tannins in Water

Water quality, particularly well water, is sometimes affected by natural, organic sources. Does your water have a bitter taste or a musty odor? Is it yellow in color? If this describes your water, tannins may be the culprit. Tannins are natural substances which come from plants or soil. When tannins are present in household and drinking water they may cause issues related to taste, color and odor of water*.

Your well water may have tannins in it if you notice:

  • Water is yellow or tea colored 
  • Water has a musty or earthy odor 
  • Drinking water has a bitter or tart taste 
  • Laundry is discolored and doesn't smell fresh 
  • Yellow stains on household fixtures and dishes

Fortunately, the presence of tannins or other contaminants can be tested for by your local water professional, your Culligan Man. He will then be able to use these test results, and his knowledge of your local water conditions, to prepare a recommendation for providing you with better water.

There are no health concerns associated with tannins. However, if you believe you may have tannins or other contaminants in your water, we suggest you get your water tested (2). Your Culligan Man may also recommend testing your water for sulfates, alkalinity, iron, total dissolved solids (TDS) and hard water, as these may help determine which water treatment method will be most effective (3). He can not only test your water, but is a great resource to recommend a Culligan whole house water treatment solution to fit your specific needs. You can also visit Culligan's online Solution Center to help pinpoint specific water issues by touch, taste, smell and even appearance (such as the color).

*Tannins and other contaminants are not necessarily in your water.


1) http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/iron.html

2) http://www.gov.ns.ca/nse/water/docs/droponwaterFAQ_HumicSubstances.pdf

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