Why Is There Rust in My Water?

You turn on the sink tap, and you start to notice that your water has a reddish-brown look. In rare cases, you may turn on the tap to brush your teeth or wash dishes, and the water looks bad right from the start. It usually takes place over a period of time. Or maybe the water doesn’t look too unusual, but when you take a sip of it, it tastes awful. The bad-tasting water could be due to rust in your water supply; and in most cases, will originate from inside your home plumbing system. Most homeowners want to know how it got there in the first place.

It starts from a naturally occurring mineral called iron. When iron makes contact with oxygen in the air or water, it forms rust. Iron in our drinking water is common but is not found in high concentrations. With that said, as little as .3 milligrams per liter could turn the water into a reddish-brown color. Let’s look at some practical steps to identify where the rust is coming from and how to remove it.

Check Your Neighbor’s Water For Rust

 If your water has taken on that reddish-brown look overnight, be sure you ask your neighbors if their water also looks rusty. The problem could develop anywhere, including our municipal water supply. If your neighbors have suddenly experienced the same discolored water, then the problem is in the municipal water supply. If their water is fine, then the search should continue in your home. Although unlikely, if you determine that the source is the public water supply, the water authority is responsible for fixing it. Call your municipal water company and report the problem.

Rust in my water

Try And Isolate Where The Rust Is Coming From

Locating the rust source is the first step in eliminating it. Fill a glass with water from a cold tap only, and observe its appearance. Does it look rusty? If you’re not sure, you can taste it. Rust will give the water a metallic taste, but a sip won’t hurt you unless you have a rare disorder called hemochromatosis.

Now perform the same test using the hot tap only. Do you see or taste a difference between the two samples? You can help determine the source of the rust. If it’s coming from the hot tap only, there’s a good chance the rust is building up inside your water heater.

Other Reasons You May Have Rust In Your Water

Unfortunately, the only solution for removing rust from your water is to remove it from the source. If the source is coming from your water heater, installing a new water heater is the only solution. Water heaters have a life expectancy of 10-15 years, chances are your rusted water heater is within that range. 

Another reason you may have rust in your water heater is that your water heater’s anode rod is bad. The anode rod is made of aluminum or magnesium and attracts corrosive particles, including iron, that attack your water heater’s wall. It would be best if you replaced the anode rod every five years. It will not only extend the life of your heater it will also prevent rust in your water heater.

Your Pipes May Be Worn Out

One common reason rust may be showing up in your water is because your pipes have rusted. Galvanized steel pipes were the go-to pipe before 1960. The steel pipes were dipped in a protective zinc coating to protect the pipe from rust and corrosion. However, over many years exposed to water, galvanized steel pipes rust. Remnants of that rust will find their way into our drinking and bathing water. If you still have steel galvanized pipes, it’s time to have them replaced. 

Remove The Iron From Your Water

Rust in our water supply not only turns our water into different shades of brown, but it also stains our plumbing fixtures such as sinks, toilet bowl, and tank. Rusty water can also make your laundry look less desirable. Removing the high levels of iron from your water supply can be accomplished by installing a whole house water filtration system. A water filtration system will extend the life of your appliances and pipes. Call your Big B’s Plumbing expert today. We’ll get to the bottom of your discolored water. We have financing available for as low as 0% interest for one year. 

1 thought on “Why Is There Rust in My Water?”

  1. Thomas Clarence

    Thanks for pointing out that you need to replace a water heater when you have water that appears reddish-brown because this problem will continue until the whole thing fails. This morning, I noticed that the water coming out of the faucet in my master bathroom was a reddish color. I am going to have to contact a plumber so that I can get the process of replacing the heater soon.

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