Sometimes, your tap water may appear brown and rusty due to sediments.
And though there is no reason to worry when tap water turns brown, it is essential to make it run clear again. If there is an issue with the plumbing, acting quickly becomes vital to your health and home.
It is generally not advisable to ignore this for long, so here are ways to identify the root cause of brown water.
Reasons For Tap Water Turning Brown
A damaged or rusted galvanised iron pipe is the most common reason your tap water turns brown. It may vary in brownness due to a varying degree of the chemical oxidation state of the pipe and the rust.
Pipes connected to hot water system are susceptible to rust and damage, so you may want to check your water heating system too. When water moves through these rusted plumbing pipes, rust dislodges and gets carried along with the water supply. The brown water will come only from the hot water tap. If a rusty pipe is the root cause, it’s best to act quickly and replace it. Your rusted pipe may be a breeding ground for bacteria. If it is the cold water that is brown, check every cold tap and check with your water provider to see if they have been doing any water supply works in your area. If it is caused by works, the problem will soon settle.
In other cases, minerals, rust and sediment accumulate in your water pipes over time. And disturbances such as nearby construction and water main breaks may cause these sediments to mix in your water, colouring it brown. If there are no disturbances close by, you may wish to take another look at the plumbing.
Your city’s water table often sees shifts, or the water flow becomes irregular. If either of these events occurs, it can cause the sediments to shift and get carried with the water.
The Impact Of Brown Tap Water
Generally, drinking water tainted with iron or magnesium is not advised. It may not cause severe sickness, but it will taste and smell foul, not to mention its unclear appearance, which is bound to make it unappealing. It’s vital to filter or boil your drinking water before consumption.
The damage is not limited to your health. Brown water may signify rusted pipes, which will eventually rupture and cause more significant plumbing issues later on. If the worst comes to pass, this may even affect the structural integrity of the surrounding walls. If your water pressure tank shows visible rust, its structural integrity may be compromised. When this happens, you will need to replace the tank entirely.
Brown water will also leave marks and stains on your ceramic fixtures, fabrics and faucets. It causes the most damage to laundry, as clothing will turn dirty reddish-brown when exposed to brown water. If you’re using chlorine-based bleach, it will result in a nasty reaction with the rust and ruin your clothing items.
When your water is brown due to rust or an old water heater, it could lead to bacterial growth. Rusty water is ideal for bacteria to breed, and as a result, the quality of the water suffers. Consuming it may lead to health issues, such as bacterial infection or diarrhoea.
How To Fix Brown Tap Water
Generally, letting the water run for a few minutes may clear the water up. Once the accumulated matter ceases to show up in your tap water, it should be safe for consumption. If this occurs frequently, it may be due to your water supply being drawn from a river, which carries the river bottom sediments. To solve this, you may want to install a sediment filter. Aside from water filters, consider routine flushing.
You may try checking different taps to see if it is an isolated case. Should the water turn brown in a specific tap, it is most likely an issue with your plumbing. Additionally, pipes, especially those used in water heaters, may end up rusting from the inside and muddying the water. So, you can consider installing a water filtration system on your taps.
You can talk to your neighbours and see if the problem is limited to your house. If they face the problem as well, contact city authorities to have the water quality assessed.
If the water appears brown after 24 hours, you may contact related professionals to resolve the issue.
Keeping Your Tap Water Clear
Tap water can turn brown once in a blue moon. The first thing you should try if it happens is to let the water run for a couple of minutes. If the problem persists, check if it’s isolated to a tap. Rusted pipes are a common reason for brownish water, and replacing them will fix the issue.
Calling a professional would be a good idea if you can’t pinpoint a reason. After all, having someone who knows the ins and outs of plumbing will have the problem fixed in a flash. For a professional and experienced plumber in Sydney, make sure you speak to the Fixed Fast Plumbing team!
We look forward to seeing you in our next guide!