If you’re experiencing brown water coming out of your faucet, don’t panic! Read this blog post to find out what causes brown water and how to fix it.
One day, your water is clear, sparkling, and mineral-free… the next, you turn on the faucet, and brown, rusty water comes pouring out. Oh no!
We know… it’s disgusting! But, brown water coming from your tap is typically not cause for concern, as it’s probably just a buildup of harmless sediments or minerals in a high concentration. Even though it’s not necessarily hazardous to your health, it’s obviously less than ideal. So, in this blog post, we’re going to explain exactly what causes brown water from your faucet, and what you can do to get it fixed.
What causes brown water to come from your tap?
Brown water coming from your tap or faucet is nasty but usually isn’t cause for too much worry. Brown water from your faucet means there’s a higher-than-normal concentration of iron oxide – or rust – in your water supply. Here are some of the possible reasons you might be getting brown water coming out of your faucet:
Sometimes, water that comes from underground springs and wells has a brown tint. This is why it’s recommended to get your tap water tested regularly if you live in an area where this might be the case. This is not always a cause for concern, but it can be disturbing to watch brown water come out of your shiny metal faucets.
Installing a whole-house water filter can help solve this problem, but don’t jump the gun on this.
Keep reading to discover more possible causes for brown water from your faucets…
In-home plumbing issues…
Another common reason for brown water coming out of your faucet is actually something going wrong inside your plumbing. The most common cause is a mineral-based buildup that has been allowed to accumulate in the pipes of your water heater, toilet, or sink faucet.
A mineral build-up can contain rust, which is why your water might appear rusty or brown.
If this is the problem in your home, you’ll need to call a plumber to help clear out the mineral buildup and get your plumbing system back to normal. Until then, it’s best to avoid using any water from your faucet until the issue has been resolved.
Iron and rusty water…
Water with high iron content will typically appear brownish when it comes out of the tap because it contains fine sediment particles. This can occur if your home is served by a rusty municipal water supply, or for several other reasons. When the water in your pipes starts to cool down, the sediment will often sink and form a rusty film on the bottom of your tank or container.
Water heaters are especially prone to this issue, as well as wells that have been sitting unused for an extended period of time. If you’re noticing brown water coming out of more than one faucet in your home, it’s likely that you have a high concentration of iron oxide in your water supply.
Construction or maintenance work near your home…
If there’s work being done to any underground sewer or pipe system near your home, then it’s possible that the underground disturbance could cause brown water to come out of your faucet. If you suspect that the city has something to do with the brown water coming from your tap, give your water supply company a phone call and find out what’s going on in your area.
City construction workers are required to get proper licensing and notify all water supply companies before beginning work near any water lines for public health reasons, so they will probably know what’s going on and how to fix the problem.
Sediment buildup in your hot water tank…
If you’re experiencing rusty water coming from only your hot water faucet, then maybe your hot water tank could be getting old and building up a layer of sediment that’s resulting in reddish-brown water. This can be a problem with any in-home plumbing, so you may want to consider replacing the tank if this is an ongoing issue.
Can rusty water be hazardous to your health?
Yes, and no… it depends on the minerals causing the water to turn brown. According to the EPA, there are two different kinds of standards for regulating the level of contamination of drinking water. Essentially, there are primary and secondary standards.
The EPA is very strict about primary standards for treating drinking water. Included in the primary standards are a limitation on levels of extremely hazardous contaminants, such as lead, arsenic, and various other carcinogens. If brown water has been found to exceed primary standards, then the EPA will still not consider your municipal drinking supply safe until the levels of contamination have dropped below their established limits.
Secondary standards include less-dangerous or non-hazardous chemicals and minerals, such as iron (which causes rusty water). Chemicals/minerals included in the secondary standards listed by the EPA are not technically hazardous for human consumption, though they might taste or smell awful (gee… thanks, EPA!).
Is brown water safe to bathe in?
Probably. But you will not know for certain until you get it checked out by a plumber. If there is a brown tint in your water, it’s probably rust. Rusty water is not harmful to your health, however, if there is enough iron/rust contamination in your water, then there is reason to be concerned that there are also other contaminants mixed in with the rust.
So your best bet is to call your local plumber or your water supply company to figure out what’s going on and how to get it resolved ASAP.
Why is brown water coming out of my faucet?
Brown water coming out of your kitchen, bathroom, or shower faucets is usually caused by a buildup of iron oxide, or rust, which is accumulating somewhere in your plumbing system. It can also be caused by a few other culprits, such as sediment buildup in water tanks/water heaters, or city maintenance near your home.
How do I get rid of brown water?
If you’re experiencing brown water, here are the steps you should follow to get rid of it:
Call your water supply company…
First and foremost, before you call a plumber, handyman, or your uncle Bob, call your water supply company. City construction workers are required to get proper licensing and notify all water supply companies before beginning work near any water lines for public health reasons, so they will probably know what’s going on and how to fix the problem.
Check if brown water is coming from your hot water, cold water, or both faucets…
If you’re experiencing brown water coming from only your hot water faucet, then there’s something wrong with your water heater. If the brown water is coming from only your cold water faucet, it’s most likely your water supply company. If it’s coming out of both your hot and cold tap, then you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands.
Call a plumber…
Finally, call a plumber. It’s likely that there is some sort of blockage or sediment buildup in your plumbing system that is causing the rust and brown water. Your plumber can help you to identify the source of the problem and resolve it with a thorough cleaning. A plumber may also suggest installing a whole-house water softener to help reduce the amount of sediment in your water, providing you with safe, clean, and rust-free water throughout your home.