Imagine you’ve returned from a sweaty jog; you grab a tall, clear glass from the cupboard and turn on the tap for a refreshing drink.
But there’s only discoloured water or brown water from the tap!
Your unquenched thirst aside, a thousand assumptions run through your mind. There’s something wrong with my plumbing or my water quality. Brown water from the tap isn’t safe for drinking. It’s not brown but cloudy, murky or yellow tap water.
And now, the questions rush in. What should I do? What’s causing the brown water from tap? Can I DIY the problem with my brown water? Should I call a professional plumber to solve the brown water from tap? Is brown water from my tap an emergency? What’s my plumber’s number?
Your curious mind will want to know: Your Guide to Brown Tap Water
Set aside everything first, and know dirty tap water isn’t every day in NSW. Our drinking water quality is very high, and discolouration is rare.
So if you are experiencing brown tap water, don’t make any assumptions. It might be disturbed sediment from a burst water main or pump or due to sudden high demand. Or it could be organic matter in the mains, rust from your old iron pipes, or something like leaking pipes.
It could be anything but iced tea suddenly flowing from your tap. It could be caused by the following:
- A faulty network valve, valves opening or closing
- Damaged water heater
- Use of a water/fire hydrant by fire services or another third party
- Laying a new supply pipe
- Switching water back on following a mains repair or routine network flushing.
- Repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the mains network
- Reverse flow
Try to run your taps at full flow for several minutes. If it clears the problem, you’ll likely need to think about getting your old iron pipes replaced.
If running the taps doesn’t work, you should consider reporting to your local authorities and asking for their help.
Let’s do some more investigating about that worryingly dirty drinking water.
1. Is brown water from the hot or cold tap?
If brown water comes out of one or two taps or only from the hot taps, you likely have a problem with your hot water system. Most likely, it’s corrosion in your hot water heater tap — especially if your hot water system is getting old.
If so, consider calling your plumber and exploring a hot water system repair, hot water tap replacement or options for a new hot water system.
2. Take the two-bucket test
But if brown water comes from the tap and your cold water, this little test should give you a good idea of the cause of your dirty tap water.
Take a clean bucket or ice cream container, and fill it up from the garden tap out the front of your house with cold water. With a second bucket, head to the backyard tap and fill that up too.
If the front yard sample is brown, the cause could be rusting in the old galvanised wrought iron pipe. Run the water supply for a few minutes and take another example. If it clears up, it will confirm that the problem is your water supply rather than the mains supply — especially if the water flow from the backyard tap is even browner.
3. Is brown water safe for drinking?
Now, we don’t recommend you start slurping down brown water from cold tap outlets. Again, this isn’t a limitless supply of tea.
It is best to assume that brown or other discoloured water tap isn’t safe to drink. It may not be poisonous, but its discolouration could be a sign it can be potentially hazardous. If the issue is a rusty pipe, the rust itself is not harmful. But since there is a leaking and rusted plumbing pipe is a breeding ground for bacteria that have also gotten into the water. Rusty water can also indicate the presence of lead in your water pipes which can cause several health problems.
3 Tips to Deal with Brown Water Flowing from the Tap
1. Ask the Neighbours
Like when you have a blackout, checking if the neighbours have the same problem can help isolate the cause. Consider popping next door and asking if your neighbours are experiencing a similar situation.
2. Isolate the Taps
If your neighbours don’t have the same dilemma of brown water flowing from the tap, focus on your home, plumbing and fixtures.
Check if the problem is the same for every cold tap or if it only occurs with a particular one. If it’s the latter, you can be almost sure you have corrosion in a nearby pipe, and that’s valuable information to tell your friendly plumber.
3. Wait A Few Hours
So often, a dirty tap water problem can clear itself up after a few hours or days. But if it persists for longer than that, it probably won’t fix itself — and it’s time to call a certified local plumber who’ll know what to do.
The plumbers at Fixed Today are fully qualified experts in every type of household plumbing problem. So for fast response time and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all plumbing services, get Fixed Today to fix your brown tap water problem with one of our plumbing services. Call us today!