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Why Is My Water Brown?

Though alarming to initially discover, brown water pumping from your faucets is not an immediate reason to look into plumbing services. Discolored water can be caused for a number of reasons, including sedimentary or rust build up in your pipes, air, or a new water source, but it can also be an indication of a deeper issue, such as a burst pipe or an issue with the water heater. Further investigation is required in order to determine the cause of this change before there is reason for alarm.

What Does It Mean?

While it might be a possible indication of a more sinister issue, there are several commonly seen instances of brown water that have no impact on your health. The most frequently seen of these issues, especially in areas where the homes are very old, is the build up of natural organic material over time in the main water lines. This is often seen when connecting to a new water source, after a long vacation, or even a rusty water heater or water softener. None of these occurrences present any health issues, though it is not recommended to drink or bathe in discolored water. When issues such as this occur, it is common for the water lines to clear on their own within several hours of opening the line. If the brown water is flowing specifically from the hot water tap, likely the water heater is to blame. Typically, flushing the water heater of iron and manganese buildup will resolve these issues, same with a water softener. If the problem persists, the issue might be more pressing. On the opposite end, if the brown water is coming from your cold taps as well, the odds are a pipe is deteriorating in your home water system. If this is the case, the smartest option would be to replace the damaged pipe before further issues arise.

Occasional discoloration of a water source can occur from upstream pollution, a burst water main, overuse from the fire department, or water main repairs. Typically these issues are not harmful and generally clear up without outside intervention. However, if the problem persists, a professional plumber should be called in, as prolonged damage to aged pipes will only lead to drawn-out concerns.

Knowing When To Call A Plumber

In the event that your water lines don’t clear after extended flushing, it’s time to call in a professional plumber. While there is still a possibility that no major damage has occurred, investigating any surprising changes in your water is recommended to ensure the continued efficiency of your home water system. A main line repair requires immediate attention from an emergency plumber to limit the level of destruction from water damage.