Rusty-Looking Water? Here’s What You Should Know and Do About It
At first, it may look like a scene from a horror movie – red or brownish water coming from a sink faucet or showerhead. Not only does it look gross but it also smells. Then you remember the news stories of water contamination around the country. Yikes!
Is it time to panic or stock up on bottled water? Not so fast. Rusty-looking water is a fairly common plumbing issue – and one that’s not usually as bad as you think.
What causes discolored water?
When water flowing from a faucet appears brown, yellow, or red, it usually indicates the presence of sediment or minerals such as iron and manganese. These minerals can come into play at multiple points of the water supply, or from the pipes inside your home.
Once a year your town or community will flush the fire hydrants. Sometimes this can cause the water coming from your faucets to be brown for a short period of time. Just run the water until it is clear again. It is nothing to be concerned about but if it continues, you should give us a call.
Later, we’ll discuss how to narrow down the source of your decolorization in more detail.
Health risks of discolored water
The first question you might ask about rusty-looking water is, “Is it dangerous?” We can’t tell without knowing exactly what is causing the water decolorization. But we can tell you that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists minerals such as iron and manganese in the secondary standards for water quality. These contaminants are not health-threatening and only require voluntary testing. So while your rusty-colored water may look, smell, and even taste bad, it’s probably not bad for your health.
Causes and potential fixes
Just because off-colored water may not be bad for you doesn’t mean you have to live with it. The first step to fixing the problem is to identify where and how widespread the discoloration is.
- If only the cold water of a few faucets are affected by cold water – In most cases, this is a sign that there is rust or corrosion in your pipes close to those faucets. Try running the water for 10-20 minutes to see if it clears up, which would be the case if a small amount of rust broke off from inside the pipe. If the water doesn’t clear, you should have a professional plumber inspect your pipes, as they may need to be replaced before they corrode further or break.
- If only your hot water is discolored – Odds are there is sediment in your water heater tank. To clear things out, drain and flush the tank, let it refill and heat up, then test the water again. If it’s still discolored, it’s time to call a plumber to take a look.
- If both the hot and cold water turn brown suddenly – This is a sign that the contamination is coming from the main water supply. Report the problem to your water company and find out if there was maintenance or repair work in your area recently.
Plumbing services in Schererville
Dirty- or rusty-looking tap water can be a cause for concern, but it’s also an issue that can usually be resolved quickly by an experienced plumber. To enjoy crystal-clear water in your home, trust the team at Reichelt Plumbing. To schedule an appointment, call (219) 322-4906 today.