Why is My Water Brown? | Brown Tap Water | Day & Night

Imagine you are about to fill a pot of fresh water for family pasta night, and instead of noodles al dente, you get noodles all dirty! There’s nothing more alarming than brown water. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of brown water, potential health effects, some simple solutions, and when it’s best to call a professional. If the water in your residential home or business are Brown, you can schedule an appointment online with the professionals at Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing in Phoenix.

Minerals Can Turn Tap Water Brown

There are a few potential causes of brown water, but mineral deposits in the water are the most common. Over time, a buildup of sediment, minerals, or rust can accumulate, causing brown or generally discolored water. This color change often indicates an issue with the water main.

Nearby construction and main breaks can trigger sediment in the pipes to stir up, polluting the water supply to your home. Brown water caused by this type of disturbance will usually resolve itself in a few hours, but if the issue persists, it’s important to contact a professional to diagnose and resolve the issue.

Rusty Pipes Turn Tap Water Brown

The other most frequent cause of brown water emitting from your spout is rust on pipes. Galvanized plumbing pipes are well known for contaminating the water. The rust on these pipes is caused by corrosion. Rust can occur on the inner layer of the pipe. Water flow and pressure can loosen this rust as it is pushed through the pipe and up to your tap. This corrosion will worsen with wear over time, causing ongoing brown, smelly water. More seriously, a rusty pipe can even lead to inconvenient and dangerous leaks. These leaks can spring up at unexpected times and cause damage to your home. If you have brown water, run your tap for about an hour. If you are experiencing brown water that persists for longer than an hour, it’s important to contact a technician. The professionals at Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing will assess the corrosion and fix old, rusty pipes before they become a problem.

Hot or Cold Test for Brown Tap Water

One quick check you can perform is the hot and cold test. On occasion, the brown water can emit from one temperature rather than the other. Check to see if the brown is coming from the hot or cold spigot independently. If the tainted water comes only from the hot, then your water heater might be the cause.

Tank-style heaters feature a magnesium-coated iron rod. When functioning properly, this rod is designed to attract corrosive electrolytes, pulling them from the water so as not to corrode or attack the tank. With age, this magnesium coating will wear down, exposing the rod. The rod, in contact with the water, will naturally rust. This leads to water discoloration as well. Occasionally, rust can build up on the sides of an aging water heater.

This can muddy the water and rust the unit even further. It is also a sign that the heater is nearing the end of its life span. If an old, rusty heater is the culprit, it’s important to call a professional to replace the unit. Newer water heater units will provide more security for your water and your home and family. A new heater can also save you money over time and on your bills, as the newer models are far more energy-efficient than their bulky, wasteful predecessors.

Is Brown Tap Water Dangerous?

Brown water is smelly, unsightly, and is not at all appealing to have in your glass. Its presence is not necessarily toxic or dangerous, but it could be, and it’s definitely worth having the problem looked into. The extraneous circumstances surrounding the brown water, such as cracked or rusting pipes, can cause other health hazards and inconveniences down the line.

The brownish color is most typically caused by the increased presence of iron or magnesium in the water supply. Iron occurs naturally in soil and can be found commonly in groundwater sourced for wells, but it’s not recommended that you consume iron-laden water.

Corrosion of pipes is another common culprit when it comes to brown water. A corroding pipe is the ideal breeding ground for a plethora of bacteria to build up in the water supply, in addition to the iron sediment. It’s also possible that your water includes mildew at this point.

In any case, you should get to the bottom of things right away. At the very least, you can find out if your brown water is still safe or if it’s putting you in immediate danger. To keep your water crystal clean, contact a professional to service your rusting pipes at the first sign of brown water.

Why Is My Water Brown All of The Sudden? Find the Source

Recall that brown water can have two major causes, one outside the home and one inside the home.

If the cause is external, like water main repair or nearby construction, this can disrupt the sediment causing the discoloration. Run the tap for about 20 minutes and see if the water becomes clear. You can ask your neighbors if they are experiencing discolored water as well. If they too have brown water, then the city utility company should be contacted.

You can inquire with the city for answers as to why the water may be brown. Once alerted, the city can instruct the utility provider to come out and remedy the situation. The utility provider will come and flush out the system using a fire hydrant. This can take a considerable amount of time to resolve.

If you’ve inquired with your neighbors and the problem is isolated to your home, then you should contact a professional for immediate service.

What Do I Do If My Water Is Brown?

If the problem exists outside the home, such as nearby construction or a water main break, and you have inquired if others near you are also experiencing this discoloration, your first call should be to the city. Once the city is aware of the issue, they can contact a utility service to dispatch a utility service team. Though this process can be a bit of a headache, it will ultimately be the quickest solution.

If the problem is isolated to your home, it is always best to contact a professional at the first instance of brown, smelly, discolored water. A professional can quickly assess the source of the contamination. The fixes can range from installing a new, energy-efficient water heater or a filtration system. Galvanized plumbing, popular in many older homes, must usually be replaced. Replacing an entire system is an extensive project that requires the experience of a team of professionals you can trust. Once your home is outfitted with a new plumbing system, you may begin to see the accumulation of long-term benefits, like a reduction in bills, fewer service calls, greater peace of mind, and maybe even an increase to your overall home value.

At Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating, and Plumbing, we’re proud to employ many of the most experienced plumbing experts in Maricopa County. Our skilled and knowledgeable staff makes us a trusted full-service plumbing company here in Phoenix. We’re able to provide fast, effective repairs for most problems, so don’t hesitate to set your appointment. Schedule online at your convenience.

Featured Image: Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock

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