Rusty Water In Your Lehighton Home? Learn What Causes It

Water is a huge part of our daily routines and having clean, pure water is an essential part of any home. So what happens when your faucets start spewing out contaminated, discolored water? If you’ve experienced this “dirty” water, you probably have rusty water in your home. This common household problem has a few causes, and effects, which can all be identified and fixed in a variety of ways.

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Infographic on Rusty Water Plumbing Problems

Rusty water is simply water with a lot of iron in it. Iron (and manganese) cause water to turn brown. While your water may look unsightly, iron and manganese are not actually harmful to your health; you consume these elements in your diet every day. However, having rusty waster can be a sign of future health concerns. There are various types of illness-causing bacteria that thrive in rusty water. Additionally, having rust usually means a pipe is corroding. As the pipe corrodes and eventually cracks, your water will be in contact with air contaminants. Not to mention, as the pipe starts to leak you could end up with mold and mildew in your home. So while rusty water may not be a direct concern, it has the potential to become a major hazard.


Potential health hazards aside, rusty water can affect your home in other unpleasant ways. Most notably your water will develop a metallic taste. Not only will it taste unpleasant but it can also affect your cooking by discoloring foods prepped with water. Iron can even leave stains on your clothing making your washing cycle less than effective. These disruptions in your home are quite annoying and certainly pose a reason to inspect the pipelines and water heater in your home.

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Chemical Problem?

The first step in getting rid of your rusty water is to identify it’s the source. Iron is found naturally in soil and the element could likely be entering your home through a water supply pipeline. It is also probable that you have a rusty pipe or even a corroded water heater. A great way to understand your home’s root problem is to identify whether the discoloration occurs in both hot and cold water or in just hot water.

Supply Line Problem?

If both your cold and hot water are brown, your problem is likely located at your main supply pipe. Galvanized pipes (steel pipes covered in a protective layer of zinc) 2are probably your problem since over the years they have likely rusted. You can easily solve this problem by replacing the pipes with copper ones. Copper pipes don’t rust making them a great solution for years to come.

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Water Heater Problem?

If only your hot water is being discolored, your issue lies with your water heater. A good place to start is by checking your sacrificial anode. A sacrificial anode is a metal pipe that connects to the top of your tank. The anode prevents the tank walls from rusting because it is made out a metal that corrodes more quickly than the steel in your tank. Therefore, the pipe attracts the minerals that would otherwise rust your tank. However, since the anode is designed to deteriorate, you need to replace it periodically. If the anode is neglected for too long, it will stop attracting the rust-causing minerals and all of those minerals will target your tank.

Checking your anode is a great place to start, but if the anode hasn’t been replaced your water heater’s tank may have been affected. As the tank rusts, sediment will collect on the bottom, affecting both the heater’s performance and your water supply. You can remove this sediment by having your water heater flushed. In fact, it is a good idea to have your heater flushed about once a year.

While checking your anode and flushing your tank are great places to start, they are better preventive measures to keep in mind for the future. You may find that your water heater is beyond repair. If your water heater is 8 to 12 years old, is leaking at the base, or doesn’t work efficiently it’s probably time for a change.

The sooner you identify the source of your problem, the sooner your water will return to normal. Rusty water can be caused by a multitude of issues that are easy to identify. If the scenarios listed above don’t help you identify the source of rusty water in your home, contact us for further help.

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