Nashville TN Plumbing Advice

Fix It All Plumbing Blog

Discolored Water

The tap water icon. Water symbol. Flat

Often, we take our water supply for granted. Whenever we want, we simply turn on the tap and have plenty of water for drinking, washing, and bathing. But sometimes when you turn on the tap, the water will come out discolored: brown, yellow, or even black! What gives?

Usually, when water comes out of the tap anything other than clear, it is the result of a sudden increase in water pressure. This can happen when a water main breaks and is then repaired, or the use of a nearby fire hydrant caused water to run through the pipes at a faster speed. Turning off your water supply for any reason and then turning it back on again will cause the same thing.

What is happening is that the faster water supply is stirring up sediment that has been deposited on the bottom of the pipes. This sediment is usually iron or manganese and is completely safe to drink. However, you may not want to wash clothes in discolored water, as it could stain light colored clothing.

If you notice discolored water coming out of your faucet, simply run the water through until it is clear again. Make sure you check all water outlets and clear the discoloration before using the water. If the discoloration is severe, run your dishwasher and clothes washer empty to clear the pipes.

If your cold water runs clear, but the hot water is discolored, you may have sediment in your hot water heater. Follow the same procedure for clearing the pipes; run the water a few minutes until it is clear.

While you are doing this, remove all of the aerators on your faucets and check to see if there is any sediment caught in them. This is a good thing to do once a year or so.

If you are concerned about wasting water, capture the water you are running through your pipes and use it to water plants. Remember to flush outdoor faucets when you have cleared the water indoors.

If you have any other concerns about your water supply, contact your water company.