Chemical tastes and smells

You can experience chemical tastes and smells from many sources, for several reasons.

If you only notice a chemical taste in your hot drinks, try boiling water in a clean saucepan.

If the hot drink no longer has a chemical taste or smell, the taste or smell is probably coming from the kettle gasket that seals the elements to the side of the kettle.

This is often most noticeable with new kettles and the problem may go away over time, as you use the kettle.

Boiling fresh water each time can help to keep the taste or smell to a minimum, but if the problem persists, you should contact the manufacturer for advice.

Chemical tastes can sometimes be caused by the hose which connects your dishwasher or washing machine to the water supply.

If there’s an increase in your water pressure, the hose can expand. When the pressure drops again, the hose collapses and this can send water back into your pipes, which can mix with the water coming to your taps.

Most issues like this can be solved simply by fitting a non-return valve to the pipe on your dishwasher or washing machine. You can order a free single-check valve from our team, and we'll send one out to you with instructions on how to fit it to your appliance.

A non-return valve stops any water that’s been in contact with the flexi-hose from coming back into your water supply.

One cause of chemical type tastes and smells could be the washer inside your kitchen taps and stop-taps, or other fittings in the tap.

If you’re getting an unusual taste or smell from your kitchen tap, try another using tap in the house, such as one at the bathroom sink, to see if the different taste or smell is also present there.

If the water from the second tap seems normal, then the cause is probably the washer or fittings in the original tap.

If you don’t have another tap you can use, run the original tap for a few minutes before tasting the water. This may clear the problem. If the taste or smell persists then it could be caused by a washer or fitting in the stop tap.

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.

Some washers and fittings degrade over time, at different rates in different conditions. This means the taste or smell may come and go.

It’s important your washers and fittings meet UK standards, and if they are the source of the unusual smell or taste, it’s likely that they don’t meet those standards.

Make sure any replacements that you buy or have installed are compliant with Regulation 4 of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations.