Why Is There Rust in My Water?

You turn on the sink tap, hoping to brush your teeth or wash dishes, but you’re met with a flow of disgusting, reddish brown water. Or maybe the water doesn’t look too unusual, but when you take a sip of it, the taste is “off” or suspicious. This might be due to rust in your water, and in most cases this rust will originate from inside your home. Here’s what you can do about it.

Check with the neighbors. Just to be sure, ask your neighbors if their water also seems rusty. Occasionally the problem comes from the local water supply. But if their water is fine, then you know the rust problem started in your home specifically.

Check both your cold and hot water. 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 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? This can help you 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.

What to do. Unfortunately, there is no solution for rust in your water except for replacing the source of the rust. This might mean installing a new water heater, but it could also mean that your pipes are old and worn out.

If the problem is your water heater, the corrosion will continue until the entire tank fails. But when you install a new water heater, replacing the anode rod regularly can prevent this problem in the future. The rod attracts corrosive particles so that they “stick” to the rod and leave your water heater alone. But this rod must be replaced every five years, or more frequently if you have a water softening system in your home.

If you did determine that the source is the public water supply, then the water authority is responsible for fixing the problem. But this is not extremely common.

Give us a call, and we will help you determine the source of rust in your water. Then together we can make a plan to replace necessary appliances or pipes.


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