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How to Deal with Brown Water From Tap?


brown water from taps in NSW

Picture it: you’ve just returned from a sweaty jog, you grab a tall, clear glass from the cupboard, and turn on the tap for a refreshing drink. It’s brown! Your unquenched thirst aside, a million questions run through your mind. Is there something wrong with your plumbing? Is brown water from tap still safe for drinking? What if it’s not brown, but cloudy, murky or yellow tap water? Is your apparently dirty drinking water a reason to call a plumber immediately?

The ultimate guide to brown tap water

Firstly, dirty tap water isn’t something we need to worry about much in everyday life, as water quality in NSW is very high and discolouration is pretty rare.

Secondly, if you are experiencing brown tap water, don’t make any assumptions about the cause. It might be disturbed sediment, it could be caused by organic matter in the mains, rust from your old iron pipes, or something else entirely.

Your brown tap water could also be caused by:

  • Disturbed sediment from a burst water mains or sudden high demand
  • Repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the mains network
  • Reverse flow
  • Use of a water/fire hydrant
  • A faulty network valve
  • A faulty water meter.

Let’s do some more investigating about that worryingly dirty drinking water.

1. Is brown water from cold tap or hot tap?

If the discoloured water is only coming from the hot taps, it’s likely you have a problem with your hot water system rather than the plumbing more generally. Most likely, it’s corrosion – especially if your unit is getting old. If so, consider calling your plumber and exploring your options for a new hot water system.

2. The two bucket test

But if it’s coming from the cold tap, 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 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 tap for a few minutes and take another sample. If it clears up, it will confirm that the problem is yours rather than the mains supply – especially if the sample from the back yard tap is even browner.

3. Does brown water from tap have a taste?

Now, we don’t recommend you start slurping down brown water from cold tap outlets, but if your tea or coffee has been tasting unpleasant lately, this is a further sign that your problem is rusty pipes. You might also notice that your water pressure is low (which may be caused by a build-up of rusty bits), or that some of your washing is stained.

4. Is brown tap water still safe for drinking?

While dirty tap water caused by rusting isn’t a major health concern, it’s understandable that you’re wondering ‘Is brown tap water still safe for drinking?’

The answer is almost certainly yes – the colour isn’t poisonous or toxic, it’s mainly just iron rust. Nonetheless, it’s still important to rectify the issue as soon as possible.

The solution: Get a licensed local plumber like Fixed Today to replace, repair, flush or treat the pipes.

5. Replace the pipes or report the problem

If running your taps at full flow for several minutes usually clears the problem, it’s likely you’ll need to think about getting your old iron pipes replaced.

If running the taps don’t work, you should consider reporting to your local authorities and asking for their help.

3 more tips for when you see brown water from cold tap:

1. Ask the neighbours

Just like when you have a blackout, checking if the neighbours are having the same problem can help to isolate the cause. Consider popping next door and asking a quick question or two.

2. Isolate the taps

If your neighbours aren’t having your brown water coming from the tap dilemma, focus in on your home, plumbing and taps.

Is the problem the same from every cold tap, some of them, or a single one? If it’s the latter, you can be almost certain 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 simply 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 therefore definitely time to call a certified local plumber.

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, get Fixed Today to fix your brown tap water problem by calling us today!


What they say about us

Our Satisfied Clients

I found Steven to be very professional and helpful. The boys went out of their way to fix and suggest long term solutions to a problem that could have cost me big in the future. I would not hesitate to recommend Fixed Today!

Bruno Vales

Fixed today plumbing is true to their word. The service was great, Steve is very professional and gave some great advice.

Robyn Field

Fixed Today is an amazing company, their customer service is a 10/10. Above and beyond for every job and they cater to the needs of my sites, their response time and attention to detail is phenomenal. Highly recommend Steve and his team from Fixed Today!

Isabel Casey

We moved into our new house without realizing there was a blockage. Steve’s service was outstanding. He arrived and was on the way to solving the issue within an hour of us calling. His no-nonsense approach has allowed us to be excited to move into our new home again. Thanks so much.

Hayley Legg

Highly recommend. Marvin fixed a blocked drain at our home. He was friendly, upfront with the pricing and clean. He also provided suggestions on how to prevent the problem from happening again which was considerate and nice. I would call them again!

Sofie Dimos

Highly recommended. After calling another plumber, our blocked shower and basin was still not fixed. Marvin came to the rescue. Same day service – he was on time, honest, and knew exactly what needed to be done to get the job completed the first time!! I will be calling again!

Aret Elamasian

Highly recommend! We were recommended by a friend who used Fixed today and we could not be happier. The job was carried out exactly the way it was explained and they even cleaned up.

Andrew David

We had two separate issues, a burst pipe in the laundry and the hot water system needed replacement. The team came on the same day and fixed the leak and replaced the hot water system. Very professional, friendly, clean and efficient. I would recommend Fixed Today to all my friends.

Bianca McConell

Nothing was too much for Steve and Jamie. They sourced a new toilet cistern and fitted it the same day. All cleaned up after the job was done too. Highly recommended.

Alan Greaves

Had Steven over and he solved my tab and got water issues so quickly! Called the next day to check up and ensure all was working well. Really hard to get good service these days and this company deserves massive praise!!! Amazing service

Nathalia S
True Local

Prompt to arrange inspection and find issue. Pricing was a bit expensive, but did a good job. Steve is easy to communicate with and returns calls.

Keen Consumer
True Local

Steve & team did a great job around the house and were very quick.

True Local

Great experience . This is a customer focused business who did a great job at a reasonable price. Terrific with an elderly client under difficult circumstances. Thank you so much.#reviewtowin

J Greenaway
True Local

Very good plumber, very reliable

Damiem Esposito
True Local

Thanks for fixing my blocked drain efficiently and with little fuss. Great service from Mathew and Marvin. 5 Stars!

True Local

Thanks for replacing our Hot water System at such short notice and in the dark! Competitive pricing and courtesy calls to let me know you were running behind a huge help . All very much appreciated. Would recommend these guys and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.

True Local

Really you are fabulous for give your best service , I just called you and you were at my home.However the fault in pipe joint was small but you gave your precious time for solving such type of small things without any extra charges.Thanks for that guys.

Leo B
True Local

Great service and price Will definitely use again

True Local

Hi Fixed Today thanks for un blocking the pipe that was overflowing I was having a panic attack until u guys came and fixed thank u again

True Local

Thank you for your prompt service will definitely recommend your company!

Linda Burke Harden
True Local

Steve installed a new hot water system for me. He’s very well price and has outstanding workmanship. Well done Steve. Thanks

True Local

Thanks Steve for your quick response and honest feedback. Although I was a bit embarrassed at how simple the hot water fix was, you did advise me earlier that it could be a simple do-it-yourself fix. Happy to give you the business. Darren

True Local

Had a problem with the hot water system. Steve diagnosed the problem quickly and found that it was a faulty thermostat. Replaced the part and solved the problem. Steve communicated well and was very professional. Would recommend Steve for any of your plumbing problems

True Local

Steve is honest and reliable… friendly and professional… no job too big or small.

Steven Bou
True Local

thank you steven, job well done

True Local

I found Steve and his team on here – After speaking to approx. 6 other plumbers Steve answered all our questions and had his team here to fix our problem within the hour (in the dark!) Might I also say he was the cheapest! I would highly recommend these guys to anyone looking for a plumber that doesn’t want to rip you off. Thanks again Steve.
Craig – Seven Hills

True Local

Thanks to the team at Fixed Today. Great fast friendly service. Got the job done right first time no hassles. Highly recommended.

Patrick Gh
True Local

Thankyou to Steve and his team for all the plumbing work they done at my house. Renovating two new bathrooms seemed hard but Steve and his team made it so easy. Very professional, hardworking and efficient. Love the way my bathroom turned out so modern would recommend to anymore!!

Vanessa Shaw
True Local

These guys are awesome, I had a leaking pipe in the morning they instructed me to turn the water off at the main until they came they where there with in the hour and fixed the pipe and mind you the price was very reasonable.. Thanks guys.

Marvin Shm
True Local

Thank Steve, prompt service just wanted to say keep up the great work with us.

CtCC Group Pty Ltd
True Local

I would recommend these guys to anyone. On time very professional and there prices are very reasonable for great service and top quality products.

Lili Bossnija
True Local

This is the second time I have used Platinum hot water and plumbing. On both occasions I have been 100% satisfied with the service. It is very rare to find tradesmen that demonstrate professionalism and have genuine pride in their work. Will highly recommend them

Vanessa Va
True Local

Thanks Steve for a great job , you and your team are great due to your reliability and honesty Also very well priced ! Well recommend and use your services again

George Zab
True Local

Thanks very much Steve for coming at such short notice to help fix our toilet! Rescued us from another long weekend of hassle. A very professional job! Highly recommended!

True Local

Thanks guys u did a really good job fixing the leak under my sink.

Norma Bahb
True Local

Thanks for fixing my plumbing issue. Very courteous and professional service. Much appreciated

Roger Mendis
True Local

Prompt service, good advice and price quoted before job done. Would recommend to friends.

Fran B
True Local

Thanks for your help great friendly service, prices up front would certainly use you guys again

Louise Saunders
True Local