Why Is Dirty Water Coming Out of My Faucets?

dirty water coming out of faucet

Is your home’s water coming out dirty, bad-tasting, or rust-colored? Many people are surprised to learn that this is a much more common occurrence than they thought. Below are some of the most typical reasons why this phenomenon happens and what to do about it.

Possible Causes of Brown Water From Your Faucets

1. There’s a leak in your main water line.

As your main water line ages, it can wear out and become more susceptible to breaking and leaking. Sometimes external factors can also cause the line to crack, like invasive tree roots or earth movements. When the line cracks open, soil will infiltrate your water supply and cause dirty water to come out of your taps. In this instance, you’ll need a professional plumber to repair or replace the pipe.

2. Pressure changes in city water lines have kicked up sediment, rust, and other particles.

Over time, city water lines accumulate a lot of buildup made of various particles like rust, dirt, and sediment. When the city waterlines experience a pressure change during maintenance or some kind of disturbance, this can “kick up” all those resting particles and cause them to enter your water supply. Typically, this problem will go away on its own after a few hours, but you should avoid using your water heater for those few hours to keep those particles out of the tank.

3. Your water supply pipes are corroding.

If your home was built before the 1960s, it might contain galvanized steel pipes. As these pipes age, their protective coating wears off, and they start corroding from the inside. Rusty-colored pieces from this corrosion can start breaking off into your water supply and discoloring it, giving it a red, brown, or orange tinge. Once it’s clear that your pipes have run their course, it’s best to replace your galvanized steel pipes altogether.

4. Your water heater’s tank is corroding.

Storage tank water heaters have a sacrificial anode rod made of aluminum or magnesium that attracts corrosion forces. The anode rod’s presence in the tank prevents the water heater’s interior from corroding. If the rod wears out and isn’t replaced in time, the tank walls will start to rust. Sometimes this rust can discolor the hot water that comes out of your faucets.

If you notice that only your hot water is a rusty color, make sure to replace your water heater’s anode rod. If your water heater’s tank has rusted so badly that small leaks have formed, it’s best to replace your water heater entirely to avoid water damage from a major leak in the near future.

At Albright's Mechanical Services, our Baltimore plumbers have the training and experience to get to the root of your home’s plumbing problem. Contact us online, or give us a call today at (410) 834-0148.

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