Brown water coming from your faucet can be concerning, but it's a problem that often has a straightforward explanation and solution. Here are some common causes of brown water:
1. Rust in Pipes
Corroded Pipes: Over time, the inside of metal pipes, especially iron or galvanized steel, can corrode, causing rust to leach into the water.
Disturbance in Pipes: Sometimes, rust can be dislodged from pipes due to changes in water pressure or work on the water lines.
2. Sediment in Water Heater
Build-up of Sediment: If the brown water is only coming from the hot water tap, it might be due to sediment build-up in the water heater.
Corrosion of Water Heater Tank: Older water heaters can start to rust, which may discolor the water.
3. Municipal Water Supply Issues
Water Main Breaks or Repairs: These can stir up sediment and rust in the municipal pipes, leading to brown water in your home.
Changes in Water Source: Sometimes, a change in the municipal water source or treatment can temporarily alter water color.
4. Iron Bacteria
Iron in Water Supply: Iron bacteria can occur in water that has high iron content, creating a brownish color.
Not Harmful but Unpleasant: While iron bacteria are not harmful to health, they can give the water an unpleasant taste and odor.
5. Dirt and Other Contaminants
Broken Pipes: If a water line breaks, dirt and other contaminants can enter the system, leading to discolored water.
What to Do:
Run the Water: Let cold water run for a few minutes to see if it clears. If it doesn't, stop using the water and investigate further.
Check with Neighbors: Ask if they are experiencing the same issue. This can help determine if the problem is within your home or part of a larger municipal issue.
Inspect Water Heater: If the issue is only with hot water, inspect your water heater. It may need to be flushed or replaced.
Contact Your Water Utility: If you suspect the problem is due to municipal water supply, contact your local water utility for information and assistance.
Seek Professional Help: If the problem persists or you are unable to determine the cause, it's best to consult a plumber. They can inspect your home's plumbing and make necessary repairs.
Use Caution: Until you're sure of the cause and the water is clear again, it's prudent to avoid drinking or cooking with the discolored water.
Brown water is usually not harmful, but it can be a sign of a problem in your plumbing system or with the water supply. Addressing the issue promptly can prevent potential damage to your plumbing and ensure the safety and quality of your water.