Rusty Water: Find the Cause Fast

No one wants to drink or bathe in rusty water. It’s not good for your laundry or dishes either. But what causes rusty water?

Determining the origin of rusty water isn’t always easy, but checking a few common sources can bring you a step closer to understanding why it’s affecting your home.

rusty water

Failing Water Heater

The first thing you should test is whether it’s only the hot water that’s rusty. Turn on one tap at a time and check the flow. If it’s just the hot water that’s a problem, the cause could be an aging water heater. When the tank begins to rust from the inside, the hot water it puts out is rusty as well.

Pipe Sediment

Rust is oxidized iron. If your house is older than most, the plumbing system was probably built with iron pipes. Usually, if there is only a small amount of sediment, the rust settles on the bottom of pipes. It will only come out in the flow of water if it’s disturbed.

However, if there is a lot of pipe sediment, it will show up in your tap in the form of water that’s tinted orange or yellow.

Maybe It’s Not You

If you can’t narrow down the problem to an issue inside your home, it could be coming from the municipal pipes. If they’re old, they could be rusting on the inside. If there is construction nearby, it could disturb the sediment in the main water line. A change in water pressure can move the sediment into your home’s plumbing system as well.

You can test whether it’s coming from a source outside your home by turning on the faucet closest to the main water line, such as your outdoor garden hose. If the water is clear, the rust is coming from inside your home, not the public system.

What’s the Solution?

If you’ve established that the rusty water is coming from your own plumbing, try flushing out the pipes first. Turn on at least four taps in different areas of the home and let them run for approximately 20 minutes. Has the sediment disappeared? If not, wait for 30 minutes then try it again.

Still not sure why you have rusty water? Call My Buddy the Plumber and we will get your water running clear again.