Brown Water From Your Pipes: Here’s What You Need to Know

Two Sinks

Most of us take our easy and convenient access to clean drinking water for granted. Turn the knob on your kitchen sink in the morning, and you have access to hot and cold water. Fill up that pot for coffee, add some to your cup for tea, or just fill up a water bottle to take with you on the go. Most of us are highly dependent on using water regularly for things like bathing, flushing the toilets, and various outdoor activities. That’s why it can be so overwhelming when something happens to your convenient water supply. One morning you get up to make your coffee, and the water that comes out is brown. That’s a serious problem and something that you’ll have to deal with as soon as possible, especially if the brown color doesn’t go away. So here’s an overview of what the brown color means and what you can do about it.

What Does Brown Water Mean?

There are a few different reasons that brown water is spewing out of your pipes. Perhaps a water main burst in your city supply if you get city water. Maybe repairs are occurring somewhere along the municipal water line, perhaps your city water supply is overstressed and redirecting water to keep up with demand, or perhaps you have rusty pipes in your own water line.
While nearly all the above reasons are out of your control, a rusty pipe is not. Over time, pipes can rust, and if you notice brown particles floating around in your water that’s likely why.

What Is That Brown Stuff?

If you have rusty pipes, the brown stuff is the rust from your pipes coming loose. Old iron plumbing wears out and puts off both iron and manganese into the water. This rust isn’t very dangerous, but it’s probably not something that you’ll want to drink or wash your dishes with.

Clearing the Brown Away

If you just got hit with brown water in your pipes at home, there are a few things that you can do to flush out your pipes and enjoy clean water once again. Turn your water on within your home for a good 20 minutes to flush out the rust. You could also do something constructive like water your lawn or your garden to flush out the water.

Your Water Heater Could Be to Blame

If you only have problems with brown water when you access your hot water, it’s likely that your hot water heater tank is to blame. It’s probably corroded on the inside and leaking rust into your water. The best fix for this is to replace the heater, but get a pro over there to take a look first and evaluate the issue. If your plumber does tell you that the tank is rusted out on your water heater, head those warnings! The last thing you want is a flooded basement due to a burst water heater.

Consider Pipe Replacement

If you’re suffering from brown water regularly, there’s a good chance that you have rusted pipes in your home water line. This is even more likely if you don’t rely on city water and are instead based on a well. Either way it’s something you want to get checked out. Call in a plumber to your location, and have them look over your lines to determine where the rusted locations are. Have the pipes replaced and the problem should dissipate over time.

Are you having a problem with brown water in your home or business? Don’t wait. Call Tritan Plumbing today at 815-515-4062.


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