The water that comes out of your faucet should always be clean, clear and pristine. So when you see (and sometimes smell) nasty brown water flowing from the tap, there’s plenty of reason to be alarmed. Brown water is an occurrence that points to a number of problems with your water system or the source it comes from. No matter the source of the problem, brown water is definitely something that you should take care of as soon as possible.
What Causes Brown Water?
Galvanized pipes found in older homes can be a major source of trouble. In most cases, water can turn brown when the galvanized pipes in your home’s plumbing system begin to deteriorate. As the galvanized piping degrades, corrosion and oxidation allow rust to flake away, quickly turning your water a brownish color. Hot water can easily exacerbate the process, especially if this water is allowed to return to the hot water heater. Your water can also turn brown if iron oxide and other sediment somehow get stirred up in the hot water heater. Years of iron oxide deposits, dirt and other impurities that settle to the bottom of the water tank can easily be stirred up as the result of an improper drain and cleaning. A disturbance in the water main due to hydrant use, construction or main breaks can also turn water brown for a short amount of time.
How to Get Rid of It
In the case of disturbed sediment, simply running your faucet and bathtub for a lengthy period can help flush brown water out of your pipes. Plumbing systems in older homes that have remained unoccupied for long periods of time may also need a good flush before the water becomes safe to use. If the problem occurs only when you use hot water, chances are your hot water heater needs maintenance or, in some cases, a complete replacement. If brown water continues pouring out of your taps, even when you use cold water, there might be a problem with your galvanized piping. At this point, you’ll want a trained and experienced plumber from C&W Plumbing come and take a look at your piping. Only a plumber with the right tools and expertise can pinpoint the faults in your plumbing. Replacing the galvanized piping with corrosion-resistant copper or CPVC is sometimes your only option. In some homes, this may call for a complete overhaul of your plumbing system. To be sure it isn’t a problem with the water main, check to make sure there isn’t any construction activity or water main breaks in the general vicinity. Call your local utility company or contact them via website to help give you an idea of what’s going on. If there is a disturbance somewhere along the mainline, it can take a few hours for the water quality to go back to normal. In the meantime, you should probably switch to bottled water until the issue either subsides on its own (in the case of water main disturbances and water heater tanks) or until it’s fixed once and for all. Brown water is definitely not safe to drink due to the sheer amount of impurities it contains, but it can be used for the toilet.
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