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Brown Tap Water… What Does it Say About Your Pipes

Brown Tap Water… What Does it Say About Your Pipes

It can come as an unpleasant surprise when you turn on the tap and instead of crystal clear water there is a brown tint or smell to the water. This is an indicator of a major problem, and you need to have all the facts to make an informed decision moving forward.

The Causes of Brown Water

One of the primary causes of a brown tint to your water is that there may be rust in your pipes. If your home is older, it may have been fitted with galvanized pipes, which have begun to deteriorate. Pipes can suffer from oxidation and corrosion on the inside as well as the outside, and this can impact the appearance of the water. If flakes of rust have entered your water, it makes it unsafe for human consumption. This problem can be accelerated in hot water pipes.

Another potential cause of brown water is that iron and manganese are present. These elements can enter the water and pipes through contaminated soil. Additionally, iron oxide, along with other forms of sediment, may have built up in your pipes over time.

You may also have brown tap water because there is a problem with your water heater. When the anode rod inside your water heater is damaged, it will cause a brown tint in the water until the component has been replaced.

The Problems With Brown Water

The main issue with brown water is that it is not only aesthetically unpleasing, but it can have detrimental effects all around the home. Depending on the underlying cause, you may notice staining on your laundry, and it could even leave a colored residue on your skin and hair. This will be particularly noticeable if you have fair skin or blonde hair. If the problem is being caused by rust in the pipes, you may also find that the sediment clogs up the pipes and sinks, which puts your home at risk of flooding.

Brown water is also likely to be a problem in the kitchen. Not only does it look unpleasant, but it can affect the appearance and taste of any foods and drinks prepared using it. For example, fresh cooked vegetables may look murky and dark while tea and coffee may look sludgy.

Do You Need a Plumber if you have Brown Tap Water… ?

The main reason why you need a plumber for brown tap water is that there is some form of problem with your plumbing system. While you may make an attempt to discover the cause of your brown water, it takes an experienced professional to properly diagnose the underlying issue. While you are waiting for the plumber, it is a good idea to switch to bottled water for cooking, brushing your teeth or drinking. Not only does brown water appear unappealing, but the underlying cause may mean that the water is no longer safe for human consumption. Think of the situation in Flint Michigan for one which has been catastrophic.  Even if your water is safe to drink, if you cook or prepare drinks with brown water, it is likely to impact the taste and appearance.

By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing

Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half.  A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.