Rusty Water? What Should I Do?
When you turn on the water faucet in your Springdale, AR, home, you expect crisp, clear water to pour out. But sometimes, you get rusty, brown water instead. Unfortunately, this can be a common occurrence, and there may be a safe explanation that doesn’t require you to call your local plumber right away.
Let’s take a look at this guide to learn when rusty-looking water may not be a reason for concern and when it’s time to call for a plumbing repair.
What Causes Water to Turn Brown?
Your tap water looks rusty, dirty, or reddish because it contains an excessive amount of minerals. The color typically comes from the presence of iron and manganese in your water. Microscopic deposits of each mineral can get into the water stream in several natural or man-made ways. If you notice a funny taste or smell, these minerals may cause that, too.
Will Rusty Water Harm My Family?
It depends on which minerals have made their way into your water, but the answer is probably no. The EPA regulates how water is treated and divides minerals into primary and secondary categories.
Lead is an example of a primary mineral. If too much of this dangerous contaminant is present in the water supply, it will not be made available to the public.
Examples of secondary contaminants are iron and manganese. They won’t harm you, but they may not taste, smell, or look good. You might also notice water with these contaminants stains your clothing or irritates your skin.
Public water systems are required to perform regular testing for primary contaminants. There are no requirements for testing for secondary minerals. However, many companies voluntarily complete this testing.
Determine Whether It’s Rust
Yes, rust and too much iron can look the same. So how can you tell which one you may be dealing with? Typically, when there is rust in the water, you’ll notice a distinctly metallic smell along with the reddish-brown coloring.
This happens because rust particles are oxidized iron. Additionally, rusty water will leave a reddish-brown stain on white sinks and countertops. If you notice red staining around your plumbing fixtures, you may be dealing with rusty pipes.
What’s Causing My Water to Turn Brown?
The water coming from your faucet could be brown for several reasons. One of the first things you should do is determine whether it stems from an internal issue like your water heater malfunctioning or an external source, such as public water.
It’s always best to call the local plumber for an official assessment, but you can self-diagnose using the following examples as your guide.
Every Faucet Runs Brown Water
A city-operated water main or fire hydrant may have broken in this scenario. This can cause sediment to seep into the main water supply.
Another potential cause is that your water heater or plumbing has become corroded and has begun affecting your water.
Only Hot Water Is Brown
Your water heater tank may have a collection of sediment or rust built up in it.
Cold Water from Certain Faucets Runs Brown
There is a problem with your water supply pipe.
How Can I Get Rid of Reddish Brown Water?
Now that you’ve completed an informal diagnosis and know why your tap water looks rusty, you know where to begin.
Entire Water Supply Is Brown
This one requires a call to the water supply company. Explain to them what you’re seeing coming from your faucets. They’ll let you know of any issues with the water main or fire hydrants and how they will repair them.
It’s also possible that the city is performing routine maintenance on the pipe. This process can stir up some sediment that will eventually clear up. The water supply company should be able to tell you when you can expect your water to start running clear again.
Only Hot Water Is Discolored
Rusty hot water often comes from a slow buildup of sediment. These deposits are not only bad for your water, but for the water heater tank, too. Many water heater leaks are caused by built-up sediment.
Call a local plumber for this issue. Your tank will need to be drained and flushed. It’s good practice to have this done twice a year to prevent buildup.
If draining and flushing the tank does not resolve the problem, you may have a bigger problem. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple plumbing repair. Your water heater may have been permanently damaged and require significant attention from a professional.
Only a Few Faucets Are Affected
Turn on these specific faucets at full pressure for several minutes or until the water runs clear again. Small amounts of rust may have flaked off of the interior walls of the pipes and entered the water supply. In this case, running the water for a few minutes should clear the problem.
If running the water doesn’t clear the problem, or it returns not long after flushing the system, you may have corroded pipes. Too much rust on the pipes will allow the minerals to enter your home’s water supply, and you will have a continuous supply of brown, rusty water.
The best solution for this problem is to call your local plumber for deep cleaning and replacement. If this problem is not addressed, it could lead to more significant issues.
Tired of Rusty Tap Water in Springdale, AR?
Rusty water makes a great breeding ground for bacteria, mildew, and mold. None of these will cause you serious harm, but it’s not something you want to consume consistently.
If you’ve been having trouble with your tap water looking rusty, it can be frustrating to deal with. But remember, Stith Plumbing & HVAC is here to help. We can diagnose why your tap water looks rusty and make any necessary plumbing repairs to restore the clean, clear water you love.
Need Your Pipes Diagnosed? Give Us a Call!
You shouldn’t have to drink murky, brown water, so don’t! Give SPH a call to schedule your appointment today!