What happens when you see a rusty brown discoloration in your water? It’s obviously nothing good—fresh water should be clear and colorless. There are a number of possibilities for this happening. One is that a faucet hasn’t been used for a few weeks, and there’s dirty some collected in the pipes. You’ve probably seen this happen when you’ve been away on vacation and your plumbing has been idle. In this case, the discoloration should disappear in less than a minute.
But if the rust color doesn’t go away, or it happens to faucets and taps regularly in use, you may be facing trouble with rusty water. This is often a serious plumbing issue, and in that case, it needs the attention of a professional as soon as possible.
Why You’re Seeing Rust in the Water
Rust in water creates a distinctive appearance, odor, and taste. It’s possible you’re seeing dirt that has entered the water through a break in the mainline, but this is rarer and you’ll probably be able to tell the difference. Rust isn’t harmful to drink, but it indicates major issues elsewhere in the plumbing.
But it might not be your plumbing. Troubles in the municipal water system may be at fault. How can you tell that it’s from your plumbing? Do a test: Fill up a glass with water with cold water from one of your faucets and check if it’s rusty. Run the water for a minute, then fill up another glass and see if the problem is going away. Now fill up a glass with hot water from the same faucet. If you only see the rusty discoloration in the hot water or the rusty coloration is in the cold water and isn’t going away, then the problem is definitely in your plumbing, and you should call on a professional plumber right away. Otherwise, call the water company to report the issue—part of the municipal pipe system is rusting.
- If only the hot water is rusty… you probably have a rusting water heater. This is bad news for a water heater and probably means that it must be replaced. Once corrosion sets in on the interior of the tank, there’s usually nothing that can be done to fix the problem that isn’t more expensive than getting a new water heater altogether. You don’t want a water heater that’s going to start springing leaks or suddenly fail. Call a plumber to get a replacement in right away.
- If the rusty coloration isn’t going away… the issue is likely corrosion in the pipes. This is something that can happen to homes with older galvanized steel or iron pipes. These pipes are prone to rusting over time, unlike corrosion-resistant copper and plastic. A plumber can identify where you need new pipes, or if you need full repiping for your house.
For the service for your plumbing in Rockville, MD to fix problems that create rusty water, get in touch with us. Our licensed and trained plumbers are available 24 hours a day to take care of emergency services.
Mallick Plumbing & Heating is the Contractor of Choice in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.