While you usually expect to have a constant supply of clean water when you run your taps, there are times when less appealing water escapes your pipes. If you suddenly notice that your hot water runs brown rather than clear but the water coming out of your cold taps is fine, then you may have problems with rust or sediment in your supply pipes or hot water tank.
How can you work out where the problem lies? Usually, the culprit is one of two possible problems.
Problems With a Pipe
If your hot water is only running brown from one tap and all your other hot water taps are giving you clear water, then you likely have a problem with the pipe that supplies the tap rather than with your hot water tank.
Pipe problems are common in homes that have old pipes made from galvanised metals. Over time, these pipes can start to degrade and become corroded and rusty. If this rust is on the inside of the pipe and transfers to the water running through it, then the water coming out of your tap may look brown or have a red or orange tint.
If you know your home has old pies, brown water usually indicates that you may need to have a pipe fixed or replaced. Your water won't run clear again on its own, and if the pipe gets more corroded, then it may spring a leak or burst, potentially leaving you with a bigger problem to fix than brown water.
Problems With Your Hot Water Tank
If brown water comes out of more than one tap, then your problem may lie in your hot water tank. For example, if you have an old tank, then the tank itself or some of its pipes may be rusting. In some cases, the tank's anode, which prevents the tank from getting corroded but which usually only lasts for a few years, may have stopped working.
Plus, if you have a leak in one of the pipes or in the tank, then the leak may affect the flow of water in the tank. An altered flow can move sediment around, putting it into your water rather than leaving it to sit at the bottom of the tank as it is supposed to. A large amount of sediment in a tank can also make your water look browner than it should be.
If your hot water tank is the problem, then you should have it checked out to see where the problem lies. In some cases, simply flushing out the tank to get rid of excess sediment may solve your problem; in others, you may need replacement parts, like a new anode or pipes.
If your tank is at the end of its useful life, then you may need to have a new one fitted. Again, it's important to get help quickly here. Too much sediment can prevent your tank from working correctly, affecting your water supply in other ways and shortening the life of the tank itself. If rust and leaks are left untreated, then they can only get worse, and the tank may ultimately break down over time.
For a quick fix, contact A&C Plumbing. We can quickly assess whether your brown water is caused by pipes or hot water tank problems, and we can help you work out the best way to get your water running clear again.