The first signs of discolored hot water often worry homeowners and lead to quite a bit of stress. There can be several causes of hot water discoloration, each with its own solution and cause for concern.
Troubleshooting the exact cause of the water being dirty might take some time, but it can often save money in the long run by avoiding expensive replacements and water treatments.
Here are some of the most common causes of water discoloration and how to fix them.
Hot water can have different colorations, and each color points to a particular problem:
Green water usually points to lead and copper corrosion. Lead corrosion is one of the most dangerous, as it is a toxic chemical harmful to humans. Installing a water filtration system is a safe option to filter out lead from the water. However, consider replacing the old metal pipes with modern alternatives that are more durable and don't contain lead.
Whitish or tan-colored water usually means the water has more mineral deposits. Calcium can deposit in the pipes over time, and a sudden change in water pressure can break the scale deposits off and send them running through the pipes and faucets. A water filtration system is a preferable solution here, as it will remove the minerals and prevent further deposits in pipes and drains. If that doesn't work, the problem may be with the water heater itself. The heating elements might have calcified and will need to be replaced.
Brown or yellow water
Brown, yellow, or reddish water can have a few causes. The first and most obvious one is a burst main line. Usually, this causes all the water in the system to be discolored rather than only the hot water. In this case, check with the neighbors to see if the problem is municipal. In such instances, the problem is usually temporary as city plumbers will solve it quickly. If other houses in the neighborhood don't have the same problem, the cause might be a burst pipe that's sucking in dirt from the ground, which will require professional help.
First aid for hot water discoloration
If only the hot water is colored, the first solution is to flush the entire water heater. Removing all standing water in the heater will rinse the accumulated rust and iron-reducing bacteria that have caused the discoloration. If the problem persists after flushing, it's time to call in a professional to check whether the water heater or nearby pipes have rusted and need to be replaced. Water filtration systems are often only temporary solutions and won't prevent further rusting.
If the water is discolored despite flushing or water filtration systems in place, it's best to call in a plumber to check the source of the problem. Water heaters are durable but not infallible and will need to be maintained or replaced eventually.
Edwards Plumbing LLC is a licensed and bonded family-owned plumbing team out of Gilbert Arizona, specializing in plumbing emergencies, repairs and renovations. We install and repair plumbing pipes, water heaters, water softeners, sump pumps, sewers, and more. Our competitive rates, honesty, experience serve residential and commercial customers. Call us at (480) 712-2081.