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Why do I have Rust Colored Water?

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rust colored water residue
Urban Piping Plumber Character

Know All About Why You Have Rust Colored Water


When you turn on your water faucet, you expect to see clean clear water gushing out. However, sometimes the clear water that has always flowed freely is now rust colored water. The clear water could even have the color yellow or red after fetching it. This is a visual indication that there is a problem with your water system. It might be time to seek the services of a journeyman plumber to check and repair the issue.

Why is my Water Rust Colored?

Rusted Water Pipes:

Most homeowners struggle with fixing rusted water pipes. when the faucet is turned on, the water gushes out with a lot of pressure inside the pipes. This makes the rust inside the pipe to loosen and dislodge from the pipe wall. This discolors the water and the water makes its way outside the pipe and out through your laundry room, shower, bathtub, kitchen, or even bathroom. Are your pipes galvanized? This could be one of the main issues causing your water to change color. Replace your galvanized pipes with copper or PEX pipes to fix the issue.

Rusted Water Heater:

This applies to people using either an electric or gas water heater. Nature runs due course sooner rather than later. The situation is even more common for people who have steel water heaters. Most steel water heaters are protected by a porcelain enamel coating on the steel inside the heater as a coating. This prevents corrosion for as long as the enamel can last. With time, the enamel coating wears out and the steel begins to chip, create flakes and even corrode. This ends up at the bottom of the water heater. When the flakes remain there, they degrade with time to fine rusty particles that discolor the water turning it yellow or red. Please note the lifespan of an average water heater lasts about ten years. When the ten-year mark approaches, the heater begins to leak causing the rust particles at the bottom to leak into the house water line. This makes the entire water system discolored. The solution for this is of course is a water heater replacement service.

Rusted Anode Rod:

This is one of the most common issues causing rust-colored water. The anode rod is comprised of metal like aluminum, magnesium or even zinc. The aim of this is to protect the steel lining. This protection is through a process known as electrolysis. Electrolysis is a chemical reaction causing the anode rod to corrode. With time, the rod is corroded and coated with corrosion and this makes it ineffective. It tends to work less efficiently. Thus, makes sure that you replace the hot water tank anode rod on a regular basis.

Well Water:

Manganese and iron are two main reasons why well water is affected in the first place. There are three types of iron, namely iron bacteria, ferrous iron, and ferric iron. Ferric iron appears rusty red. On the other hand, the ferrous one appears rust-yellow when water is fetched and remains stagnant. You can view the same on the bathtub or sink when the water stagnates. Iron bacteria eats through the iron present in water, pipes, and fittings. This forms some kind of slime that can be dislodged by the water pressure and proceeds to discolor the water as it gushes out.

How Dangerous Is Rust Colored Water?

The danger the water possesses depends on the minerals present. Often, it is not dangerous. Water contaminants are categorized into two, namely primary and secondary contaminants. Primary contaminants are highly toxic and dangerous to human health. They include arsenic and lead. If the water regulation body in your area test the water and discovers that the water contains high levels of such contaminants, then it will stop the supply of the water to the public.

The secondary contaminants include manganese and iron, among others. They are not entirely harmful to health. However, they appear, smell, and taste terrible. They also are capable of staining teeth, clothes, and utensils. They can also cause rashes. Public water bodies that supply it have to undergo some serious test before they are allowed to distribute water to the public. This means that rust may appear toxic but it is not harmful to use it for daily chores and household use.

How to Identify Rust Colored Water Causes

Cold water is rust colored from a faucets

This means that a certain pipe has rust. Run the faucets for a few minutes or until the water clears up. This will clear out the pipes from the corrosion and rust build up in the pipes. If the issue persists, then the build-up is too severe. Try to remedy this by replacing the piping or having it deep cleaned.

All hot water is rust colored

The water heater tank may have rust sediments at the bottom causing the discoloration. Remedy this situation by flushing and draining the tank of the water tank. This will flush out the built-up sediments. Make sure that you do this about twice a year to prevent your water from discoloration. If the issue persists then you should think about calling in a professional as you may require a hot water tank replacement.

All hot and cold water is rust colored

This may be caused by a leak in a fire hydrant or water mains system. Most of the water systems in the state are outdated and thus weak. Thus, when the mains system leaks it releases or introduces rust sediment into the main water supply very frequently. Alternatively, if this is not the case then the issue might be the water supply pipes or the water heater pipes are corroded or rusty. Remedy this situation by calling the water company customer service about the issue and ask if there is any maintenance in the area. Chances are that the maintenance has stirred up the sediments causing the discoloration. Ask them if the water will eventually clear up or how they will solve the issue. After you do this wait for a while.

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Picture of Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes is a seasoned marketing professional with two decades of experience in small business marketing, dedicating 15 years of his illustrious career to elevating Urban Piping's brand. His expertise and visionary approach have been pivotal in shaping the company's market presence and success.

Picture of Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes

Corey Hayes is a seasoned marketing professional with two decades of experience in small business marketing, dedicating 15 years of his illustrious career to elevating Urban Piping's brand. His expertise and visionary approach have been pivotal in shaping the company's market presence and success.

Graham Drew

Graham Drew is the pioneering CEO of Urban Piping, a leader in Poly B pipe replacement with over 15 years of specialized home repiping experience. Renowned for completing more Poly B remediations than any other contractor, Graham has set industry standards, ensuring homeowners receive the utmost in safety and quality. His visionary approach and unwavering commitment have solidified Urban Piping’s reputation as the go-to expert for dependable and innovative piping solutions.

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