Why Does My Tap Water Look Rusty?

Dirty rusty water flows into a white sink.

There’s nothing more alarming than turning on the sink to wash your hands and seeing a brownish liquid with rusty flakes streaming from the faucet!

Discolored tap water is more common than you may think and usually indicates the presence of sediment or minerals such as iron and manganese. These contaminants may make your water smell and look bad, but they are not health-threatening.

What Causes Discolored Water?

Although the discolored water might not cause you any physical harm, most people would prefer to have crystal-clear running water.

If you notice rusty-looking water, it’s important to determine the cause so you can get it fixed immediately.

Only the Hot Water Is Discolored

If your hot water faucet is running rusty-looking water, but the cold water supply appears clear, your water heater might be the culprit. Sediment buildup in the water heater can lead to rusty brown water. 

To fix this, you will need to drain and flush the water heater tank to remove any sediment buildup. If it’s too late and you notice the water heater tank is showing early signs of corrosion, you will need to call a plumber for a professional opinion.

Only the Cold Water Is Discolored

If you get brown water from your cold tap and only certain faucets, this is a sign of rust or corrosion in your pipes close to those faucets. If your water doesn’t clear up after running it for about 10-20 minutes, your pipes may be corroded and need to be replaced.

Both Hot and Cold Water Are Discolored

If both your hot and cold water is turning rusty-colored, this is a sign that the contamination is coming from the main water supply. You should report this problem to your water company and find out if maintenance or repair work was done in your area recently, as this could be the cause.

Avoid drinking or bathing in your water until you know the cause of the issue. At Inland Empire Leak Detection, our experienced plumbers will be able to identify the cause of your rusty-looking water and provide you with the services needed to resolve the issue.

Contact us at (951)442-5339 to learn about our services!