In the United States, we’re used to turning on a tap and having fresh, clean water flow through it. When we turn that knob and a rush of brown water comes out, it’s alarming. Why does this happen? It’s a question that homeowners often ask: why is my water brown?
- First, let us put your mind at ease about the water’s toxicity. Water that’s discolored, even if it’s brown, is not necessarily toxic or poisonous. Still, it’s not a good idea to drink brown water. The brown color may be coming from a rusty pipe, and rusty pipes can crack, exposing your water supply to contaminants. Rust also causes leaks, leading to mold and mildew, and this can become a severe health hazard.
- The cause of brown water is probably mineral, sediment, or rust. These things accumulate in water mains over time, and if they’re stirred up, they’re likely to make it into your water. This can happen because of a water main break, or because of construction in the area, but it can also be the result of a damaged or recently replaced pipe. Typically, the problem will resolve itself within a few hours, unless it’s caused by pipe damage.
- If your water is brown, run the cold water tap for about 20 minutes. If that doesn’t clear the brown color, call your utility provider to find out whether there’s a problem with the city’s pipes. You might also ask your neighbors: if there doesn’t seem to be a problem with the city’s water, yet your neighborhood has brown water, the utility provider will need to resolve the issue.
- If the problem is just with your home’s water, try to pinpoint the source of the brown water. Is it coming from your hot or cold water taps? If it’s only from the hot water, your water heater warrants inspection. Sometimes, scale inside the water heater can fall to the bottom of the tank and discolor the water, and the problem can be rectified by flushing out the water heater. On the other hand, your water heater may be beginning to rust, which can indicate that it’s reaching the end of its lifespan.
- Your plumber may be able to flush the rust out of your pipes. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, you may want to consider a water filter or water softener.
If you’ve got trouble with your plumbing, trust Puget Sound Plumbing to help. For over 20 years, we’ve been taking care of business owners and homeowners in Seattle, and we can meet all your heating, cooling and plumbing needs. Family owned and operated; we provide superior service at affordable prices because our customers are our top priority. For help with your plumbing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call (206) 938-3219 or contact us through our website.