Turning on your faucet and seeing brown water flowing out can be alarming, but rest easy knowing it is not excrement, garbage, or sewage! Rusty brown water does not indicate anything dangerous!
Rusty water may come from either your city’s old pipes or from within your own home’s pipe and tank system.
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Rust-colored water coming out of your faucet may be alarming, but don’t panic! Unless it’s been heavily contaminated with iron, discolored water is typically not harmful; instead, it indicates that it may be time to call in a plumber for inspection and repairs.
Homeowners with older homes may have galvanized pipes that have begun corroding, leaving behind rust that taints their water brown, red or yellow in color. Copper or PEX pipes could provide a more permanent solution than galvanized options for eliminating this issue.
Construction or demolition sites nearby may also contribute to rusty water, as dust and dirt from construction or demolition activities can enter the public water system and cause it to appear rusty-colored.
Report this incident immediately so your city water department can take appropriate action; alternatively, if this rusty water only appears from your hot water supply, it could indicate that your heater needs to be either replaced or cleaned out, as this may be a sign that something is amiss with its operation and replacement may be required.
Whenever your faucet spews rust-colored water when turned on, this indicates excess sediment build-up in your pipes delivering water to your home. This may be caused by an old galvanized pipe that has begun rusting and releasing pieces into your supply; according to EPA standards, this type of secondary contamination does not pose any health risks but impacts tap water’s taste, smell, and color.
If you’re not sure where the source of rusty water comes from, ask your neighbors. If this issue affects everyone in the same location, then it could be related to public water supply piping in your city and should be flushed out through its system by calling your city utility company; usually, this clears up within hours; if not, it may require professional repairs.
If your water looks brown or murky, you could have a mineral issue. While elevated mineral levels aren’t harmful for consumption, they can stain hair and hamper washing dishes and clothing more effectively. You can identify its source by looking at how it tastes, smells, and appears.
If rusty water only appears when hot water is used, this could indicate that something is wrong with your home’s water heater. A professional plumber should examine and replace it if necessary.
Water Main Breaks
Sudden changes in weather often cause breaks in water mains. Freezing temperatures can shift pipes while hot weather expands the soil, both of which can result in the cracking of old and brittle pipes.
Significant breaks often become evident as they saturate nearby areas and create temporary water fountains, but smaller breaks often go unnoticed for some time.
Once reported, water utilities will dispatch crews to assess and begin digging for broken pipe sections. They may need to close nearby valves in order to isolate and minimize disruption before excavating affected areas and replacing or repairing damaged pipe segments as necessary before putting everything back together again.
At this time, it is wise to restrict water use only for essential needs. Many areas even issue a boil water alert or warning in order to ensure safe drinking water for their residents.