What to do if your water is brown

2 August 2022

General

Plumbing issues in your home aren’t merely inconvenient. They can also be dangerous which is why you need to solve any plumbing issue as fast as possible. One of the most common plumbing issues that people face is brown water coming out of their taps.

There are a few different factors that can cause your water to come out brown. Some of these are completely harmless and easy to fix while others are more serious and can even be dangerous. To help you learn more about your water system, we created this guide with relevant information on the nature of this plumbing problem, its causes and how to fix it.

 

Why does the water in my house come out brown?

If the water in your house is coming out brown, there might be a build-up of sediment, minerals, or rust in your water supply. While this is not the only cause of brown water in your pipes, it is by far the most common.

Although the build-up of sediment, minerals, and rust might have been accumulating over time, there has to be a trigger event for your water to suddenly turn brown such as a disruption in the water lines.

Such disruption can be caused by anything from broken water pipes to nearby construction. When pipes become loose or are replaced, the rust which has built up in the pipes begins to make its way into your water system, thereby causing rusty water to flow from your taps.

 

Is brown water dangerous or harmful?

In itself, brown water coming from your taps is not dangerous or harmful. However, the change in color is an indication that the water quality has been affected. You should therefore avoid drinking it until it is running clear again.

The iron that is present in your water mains is usually at the core of what is turning your tap water brown. Since iron naturally occurs in the soil and in your drinking water, it is not necessarily something you need to be worried about.

However, if you find that the brown water is a persistent problem, it is indicative of a more serious issue. If the water doesn’t clear up on its own, it is most likely an issue with a rusty pipe. If this is the case, your brown tap water could be dangerous.

The build-up of rust in pipes also promotes a build-up of bacteria, much of which can be harmful to humans. In addition to the build-up of harmful bacteria, a build-up of rust can cause corrosion, which can leave your water vulnerable to outside contaminants. In such cases, you should contact a plumber to fix the problem.

 

Can I shower if my water is brown?

Yes, you can. Having said that, showering with brown water is not a pleasant experience so you will likely want to get the problem solved beforehand. We suggest that you let the water run for some time to see if there is any change in the color before showering.

It might be the case that, after 5 minutes of the shower running, the water returns to normal. In this case, you can go ahead and shower. However, if it remains brown you should seek the help of a plumber.

How to fix a leaking shower

 

What should you do if you have brown water?

If you have brown water in your home, it is most likely not a serious problem. Let your water run for at least 20 minutes and see if there is any change in the water. If the discoloration appears to be reducing, it is a good sign. However, if your water continues to run brown, we recommend calling a plumber in order to quickly solve the problem and avoid any further inconvenience.

5 plumbing tips

 

What causes brown water to come out from your pipes?

Pipe disruption

Pipe disruption is a common cause for brown water coming out of your pipes. It may not necessarily have its point of origin in your home’s plumbing. It can be caused by external factors such as construction work being done on your street.

Sometimes, construction workers make a wrong move and disrupt the water mains of an entire street. This disruption can dislodge your pipes, which can cause a rusted plumbing pipe to leak, or unpleasant particles to become loose and find their way into your taps.

Organic material

There can be a build-up of minerals in your pipes, particularly if your water supply comes from a well or a municipal source as these naturally contain a higher concentration of minerals.

Usually, the minerals discreetly settle to the bottom of your pipes without you ever knowing that they are there. However, occasionally, a random occurrence, such as dislodged pipes, faster water pressure, or a water main break, might cause them to move forward into your taps, causing the water to look brown.

Pipe corrosion

It is not uncommon for pipes to corrode, especially if you have the wrong type of water running through it. If your water has low levels of acidity and high levels of alkalinity, there is a good chance that it is slowly corroding your pipes. This corrosion can cause leaks in your pipes and expose your water to outside elements that can change the color of your water.

 

How do you fix brown water?

If you have brown water coming out of your taps, you are going to want to fix it as soon as possible. To help you do that, we have listed some tips to solve the problem yourself. If none of these work, make sure to contact a plumber to get the problem sorted out as soon as possible.

Let the water run

Letting the water run for 20 minutes or so is the first thing you should try. If it is not a serious problem, it will sort itself out and, after 20 minutes, your water should be running clear again. If the water doesn’t become clear, you can try some of the tips below.

Check hot and cold water

The next step is to identify where the problem is coming from. There is a chance that your hot water is the culprit. If you notice that it is only your hot water that is coming out brown, then you likely have a problem with your water heater. Sometimes, rust accumulates on the inside of the tank and needs to be flushed out. All you need to do is drain and refill the tank and your problem should disappear.

Water heater repair and replacement services

Check with your neighbors

If you have tried and tested everything, it is time to check with the neighbors. If they are experiencing the same problem, then there is an issue with the main supply, and you will need to contact your city’s utility provider to sort it out. If they do not have the same problem, it is time to seek the help of a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the problem.

Emergency plumbing services

 

How long does it take for brown water to go away?

If it is not a big problem, it should only take 20 minutes or so for brown water to go away. If, however, it is a more serious problem, you’ll have to contact a plumber.

 

Plumbing services

The best thing that you can do if your water is coming out brown is to contact a professional plumber. At Plomberie Pro Drain, we understand just how inconvenient a plumbing issue can be, which is why we are committed to getting an expert plumber to you as soon as possible, with our 24/7 emergency service.

Whether you are experiencing water browning issues in a commercial building or residential home, our team has the expertise to restore your water to its original clarity as quickly as possible. With over 20 years of experience under our belt, we different plumbing services such as:

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