Why Does a Glass of Water Become Carbonated If Left Sitting Out? - Ballard Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning

Why Does a Glass of Water Become Carbonated If Left Sitting Out?

water sitting out turns carbonated

Have you ever wondered this odd question about the water that comes out of your tap … Why does a glass of water left sitting out become carbonated?

The science

You may have noticed that if you have a glass of water at room temperature, or colder, and the water is left out for a few hours. Why is it becoming carbonated that fast? Well, that’s actually not carbonation! Carbonated water (and other beverages) is created by adding carbon dioxide into the liquid. Hence the term, “carbonation”! Neat, huh?

But, no, when you leave a glass of water out for a few hours and it starts to get little bubbles in it, that is simply a result of the high pressure your tap water has been flowing under (through the pipes). So, that water is a) under air pressure and b) as cool as or cooler than room temperature. Both of these conditions, the pressure and the cold, help the tap water dissolve gases from the air over time: nitrogen and oxygen.

So, those air bubbles you see after your water has been sitting out for a few hours are nitrogen/oxygen bubbles, not carbon! It’s a subtle difference, but it also means, you can’t make your own soda water just by letting water sit out.

Does this mean there’s something wrong with my pipes or my water?

No! Having water pressure in your pipes is very important, and if it leads to air bubbles forming in a cup of water that’s been left out, well, that’s perfectly normal.

It is possible that if you start to see air bubbles in a glass of water that’s been left out for under an hour, that means the water pressure is probably a bit too high! This is an unlikely scenario, but some other symptoms of excessive water pressure in your pipes are dripping faucets, leaky pipes, and a toilet that won’t stop running. If you notice these things, then you’ll want to call a Ballard technician out to your Inland Empire home immediately!

But, generally, no. A glass of water getting bubbles in it when left out for a few hours is perfectly normal, in terms of water pressure and water quality. It’s perfectly safe to drink, too. The only time you shouldn’t drink an “old” glass of water is if it’s been left out for a night or longer. That reason has nothing to do with your water quality or your pipes, but it’s simply because a glass of water left out for a long time can start to breed bacteria or collect dust. Yuck! Just get a new glass of water to drink.

Call Ballard

We hope we’ve “quenched your thirst” for knowledge about water that is left sitting out! If you have any questions about water quality or are having any plumbing issues, Ballard is happy to help. Contact us online or give us a call! 909-297-1914

Scroll to Top