When you turn on your tap, you expect to see clear, refreshing water fill your glass. It's alarming if you see brown-, yellow-, rust-, or black-tinged water instead. You want to uncover the cause for a change in your water quality to ensure the water is safe to use once it runs clear. Here are some steps you can take.
See If Your Neighbors Have The Same Problem
Ask people who live close to you if their water is discolored too. If so, the problem is most likely in a city water pipe. Call the city and ask if there's a reason why water is discolored on your street. They may need to send someone to flush out the lines to clear out the rust or mineral buildup that's causing the problem.
Test All Your Faucets At Home
Discolored water may only last a few minutes and then clear up. That's an indication the discoloration is caused by something in the pipe that gets flushed out. Try different faucets in your house to try to isolate the problem. You might narrow the discolored water down to the hot water heater or to a single faucet. If all the faucets in your home have the same problem, then your main water pipe might need to be flushed out.
Call In A Plumbing Contractor
While discolored water might be safe to drink, you may not feel safe doing so until a plumber has checked the situation. Even if the water is safe to drink, you want the problem corrected so the discolored water doesn't stain your whites when you do laundry.
A water heater that's rusted inside might need to be replaced. Your pipes might need to be flushed out to get rid of a buildup of minerals or pipe corrosion. Discolored water could be a sign of pipe corrosion and impending pipe failure, and in that case, the discoloration is a warning that you need to replace the pipes in your home.
A plumbing contractor can pinpoint the cause of the water discoloration and make repairs if necessary. It can be disturbing to see your water colored brown or black, but if an experienced plumber explains the problems are caused by harmless minerals, your mind can be put at ease. You can't be too safe when it comes to the quality of your water, so when your water has a different color, appearance, or taste, have your plumber check your plumbing just to make sure your water is safe to drink.