What Causes Discolored Water from Faucets?

When you turn on a faucet to wash your hands or grab a drink, the last thing you want to see is brown or orange water streaming out. Anything but crystal clear water will probably be unappealing as well as concerning. Gillece Plumbing is often called about this problem and helps people to understand why their water is discolored and how they can clear it up.

Iron in the Water

Usually, brown or rust colored water comes from iron in old iron pipes. When there is an increase or change in water flow, sediment may be stirred up and can stain the water. Things like water main breaks, construction, maintenance and fire hydrant use can increase the speed of water traveling through water mains, in which iron sediment rests at the bottom. Once the sediment settles, your water should clear up.

Cold Water Discoloration

When discolored water comes from your cold water faucet, it is likely coming from iron in water mains or possibly from internal plumbing on your property. When water is discolored for only a couple of minutes after you first turn on the tap, it might be from zinc coating coming off of the inside of your galvanized iron pipes. The longer the water sits in the pipes, the worse the discoloration will be. Gillece Plumbers can help determine if the issue is stemming from your plumbing system and if any solutions are available.

Hot Water Discoloration

On the other hand, if discolored water comes from your hot water taps only, there is likely a problem with your water heater. Pennsylvania American Water suggests turning off your water heater and allowing it to cool, then draining and flushing the tank. If the problem persists, Gillece Plumbers can help figure out what may be going wrong with your water heater and provide options for repair.

Using Discolored Water

Most people assume they shouldn’t use water that is discolored, but discoloration due to iron sediment is typically not harmful to use or drink. However, it can stain clothes so you should wait to do laundry until the water clears up. Flushing your cold water taps for several minutes can help to clear the water. Otherwise, it may take a couple of hours until the sediment settles.

If you are unsure why your water is discolored or how to address the issue, don’t hesitate to call your professional, experienced Gillece Plumbing Technician. They are available for all of your home plumbing needs 24/7, 365.