Why Is My Water Discolored?

When you turn the water on in your faucet, have you noticed the color changing? It can be really disturbing to see brown or red colored water coming out of a faucet when you are expecting the usual clear, clean water.

It is also a little worrisome as far as what is causing this discoloration in your water. Is it a broken pipe? Is the city water system contaminated? How long will the problem go on for? So many thoughts can go through your head. Not to mention, you don’t have any water in the meantime until the situation is addressed and the problem is fixed.

  • One of the main causes of brown water is too much iron in the water. Iron is a mineral that occurs naturally in the soil around your home, and since your pipes are buried in the ground, it is not uncommon for your water system to become contaminated by the iron in the soil. And, if you get your water from a well – this is most certainly the problem.
  • Another big cause of brown water is rust in the pipes. If you have been away from your home for a while and turned the water off to protect them from freezing, you might notice the water that comes out after first turning the system back on is a bit brown. When the pipes have been sitting empty and then a forceful flood of water pushes through, it can cause some of the rust inside the pipes to dislodge a bit.
  • Finally, if the water that is coming out discolored is from the hot water faucet, you might need to have your water heater inspected. The rod that is inside of the tank could be corroded or exposed, causing it to discolor your water.

Depending on what is causing the brown water, it is not necessarily harmful to consume. For instance, if the brown water is due to iron or manganese from the soil, you can consume these minerals in moderation without cause for alarm. But, if the discoloration is due to rust or some other corrosion, it is important not to consume the water. Make sure to contact a professional plumber right away if the water coming from your faucets is discolored.