So, you’re brushing your teeth, or pouring a glass of water, and you notice that the normally-crystal-clear tap water is coming out with a brown tinge – what do you do!? While quite unappealing and pretty alarming, brown water coming from the tap is not uncommon. Don’t panic – there are a few things that you can do to remedy the situation, all of which will be covered below.
Within this article, we’ll also cover what causes brown water coming from the taps, whether or not it is dangerous, how to get rid of brown water, and when to call in a plumber.
There’s brown water coming from my tap – why?
There are a couple of different potential causes for brown water to be coming out of your taps:
Sediments in the pipes
Generally, the most common cause for brown water is rust and other sediments coming through the water. If you have old plumbing made from iron or steel, it’s not uncommon to have rust sediments in your water after years of use. In particular, when exposed to acidic or alkaline water, rust can begin forming in the pipes. Similarly, sediments like calcium and magnesium can build over time. Areas with lots of salts and minerals in the water (known as hard water), are prone to brown sediment disposal in your taps.
Hot water system corrosion
If the brown water is only coming from the hot water taps, it may be caused by corrosion inside an old hot water system. If this is the case, it’s important to have your system replaced.
Water mains issue
While brown water coming from your taps is most likely to be coming from corroded pipes or rust sediments, there is one other potential cause: issues with your water mains.
There are a couple of different reasons for water mains issues, whether it be from work or repairs to the system, a construction site near your water main, use of a water hydrant nearby, or other agricultural run-off in the area.
Is brown water from the tap dangerous to drink?
Generally speaking, no – it is not a potential health hazard if it has been caused by sediments. While off-putting, the brown tinge is almost always caused by rust or other mineral sediments coming through the pipes. These sediments are harmless and are actually always in your drinking water any way – just in lower concentrations.
However, if your hot water system is corroded, you need to get it fixed as it can lead to a potential health hazard. It’s important to call in a local plumber ASAP to prevent the corrosion from getting any worse and to ensure the issue isn’t more sinister than typical sediments coming through.
What to do if there is brown water coming from your taps
So, now that we know what would have caused brown water to come from your fixtures, there are a few things you can do right away:
- Let the water run for a few minutes.
- Ask your neighbours if they are experiencing the same issue. If they are, it is most likely a main water issue.
- Recheck the running water.
- If the water’s colour is normal again: It was a sediment build-up. Keep an eye on the water over the next few weeks. If it goes back to being tinged with brown bits, it’s time to call in a plumber.
- If the water’s colour is still brown, primarily from the hot water tap: your hot water system may be corroded – time to get a plumber in to make sure you’re operating with a safe, efficient, effective system for your household.
Call in the experts
If you’re experiencing brown or cloudy water coming from your household’s taps, it’s important to monitor and try to understand the problem. And if you’re not sure, it’s always best to call in your local plumber who can identify the cause, provide a solution, and ensure there’s a preventative measure put in place to prevent it occurring in the future.