Discolored Water: A Handy Guide

According to the EPA, the average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. We use water for so much: cooking, cleaning, bathing, drinking, and more. If you’ve ever had your water supply shut off—even for a few hours—you immediately realize just how dependent you are on an on-demand supply of clean water. This importance of crystal-clear water becomes even more, ahem, crystal-clear if you ever discover discolored water in your home. Water discoloration is a sign that something’s up.

If you’ve turned on the faucet one day and wondered, “why is my water brown?” our handy water discoloration guide is for you.

Read on and find out what brown water, yellow water, pink water, and more means about your home’s plumbing.

Causes of Discolored Water

Brown Water

Too much iron or manganese in the water. This isn’t necessarily harmful since iron is in soil. If you get water from an underground well, there could be soil in your water from cracked pipes.

Rust. If your water supply has been turned off then turned back on, the sudden change in water pressure can loosen the rust inside the pipe and turn the water brown. Though it’s not dangerous to brush your teeth or shower in rusty water, it can stain laundry and dishes. Plus, rusty water can be a sign of bacteria and other contaminants in the water supply. That’s why it’s important to get a plumber to come in and check out the real source of the rust and see if any pipes need to be replaced.

An annual flushing program. Many cities flush water pipes on an annual basis by increasing water pressure to expel debris from the system. This could be the cause of brown or yellow water. If you suspect that the water discoloration isn’t coming from an issue with your home’s plumbing, try contacting your city’s water distribution center to find out if it was caused by them.

Yellow, Red, or Orange Water

Remember that rust? Rusty water can appear yellow, red, or orange instead of brown, depending on the rust oxidation.

Black Water

Mold. If you turn on the sink and black water comes out, it could suggest a mold issue.

Hot water heater and/or hot water pipes. If only the hot water is black or gray and the cold water runs clear, this suggests an issue with the hot water heater or hot water pipes. There could be a mineral buildup in the hot water heater or corroded hot water pipes that need to be checked out immediately. Since hot water tanks have a lifespan of approximately ten years, it could need to be replaced.

In both instances, don’t cook with or drink the black water. Contact a plumber immediately so you can get the issue taken care of.

Green or Blue Water

Copper plumbing or brass fittings. If the water runs more greenish-blue, there could be an issue with your copper plumbing or brass fittings. In this case, the minerals in the water can cause health problems.

A toilet tank leak. Bright blue water can be a sign of disinfectant leaking from your toilet tank.

Algae. Pure green water is a sign of algae in your water supply.

Though water discoloration issues can vary in severity, it’s always important to determine the root of the issue. After all, no one wants to be drinking mysteriously brown water!

Discovered discolored water in your home? Call Flatley’s to schedule your plumbing appointment today!

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