Seeing brown water come out of your tap or shower into your sink or bathtub can be alarming. But don’t panic, it’s not always the worst case scenario.

Of course, you are wondering what’s happening? Why is my water brown all of a sudden? What’s causing that?

Generally, the discoloration in your water system is due to the accumulation of sediment, rust and minerals that naturally occur in your water pipes. This is very normal. But for some reason – these elements have been disturbed somehow and are now mixed in to your water supply.

The discoloration may start off as yellow and build up to a brown color.

There are a few reasons why this may have occurred:

  • Something has bothered the main water line.
  • Nearby construction may also cause these elements to dislodge into your water system.
  • Rust could be coming from your city’s water system.
  • Rust could also be coming from your water heater.
  • Damaged water pipes.
  • Recently replaced water pipes.

Any of these factors (or a combination of them) could be the cause of your darker colored water.

Main Water Line Problems

There may be a crack in your main water line and that is causing these sediments to dislodge and discolor your water.

Recently replaced water line can be the cause of your brown water.

This requires a professional plumber to come in and locate the crack and either fix it or replace the pipe.

Nearby Construction

If there is construction occurring nearby, then the brown water situation may be temporary. If you notice that you still have brown water 4 or 5 hours after you first discovered it, then we strongly recommend that you call in a plumber to assess the situation.

Rust From City Water

It may be that there’s nothing wrong with your water pipes, instead the problem is coming from your city’s water system. This is most likely true if your see brown or yellow water whether you use hot or cold water.

There are several reasons why this problem would occur but we recommend that you contact your water utility company to alert them and of course to get answers as to why your water is now a brown or yellow color.

Here is a list of the water utilities in the areas in and near Atlanta, Ga. that we service:

Atlanta Watershed Management

Cherokee County Water and Sewer Authority

Cobb County Water

Clayton County Water Authority

Coweta County Water Authority

Dekalb County Watershed Department

Douglasville Water Department

Fayette County Water System

Forsyth County Water Department

Fulton County Water Department

Gwinnett County Water Resource

Hall County Water Resource

Henry County Water Authority

Paulding County Water Department

Walton County Water and Sewer

Water Service Division

Rust From Your Water Heater

If you notice that you only see the discolored water when you turn on your hot water – then the problem may be from your hot water heater. This is a common occurrence. Sediments naturally build up in hot water heaters.

To avoid this problem you want to stick to a schedule of draining and flushing your hot water heater tank twice a year.

To drain your hot water heater simply follow these steps:

  1. Hook up a garden how to the drain valve usually found at the bottom of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose somewhere away from the house.
  2. Then, slowly open the valve (using a screwdriver) and you will begin to hear water draining from the water heater into the hose.

Damaged Water Pipes

Any damage to your water pipes whether it’s inside your house or outside – can cause the discoloration in your water that you are seeing.

Whether it’s a crack in the pipe or an older cast iron pipe that has rusted – the problem can only be fixed by repairing the damaged pipe.

Recently Replaced Water Pipes

If you have recently had your water pipes replaced / repaired and you’re seeing discolored water in your toilets or coming from your faucets, don’t be alarmed. This is normal and should be temporary.

The reason for this is normally that the sediment and rust in your pipes (which are normally there) have been disturbed by the recent project so they are now mixed in with your water supply.

Again, if you continue to see the discolored water 4 or 5 hours after you first discover it – please call in the plumber you used to assess the situation.

Is Brown Water Safe To Bathe In?

The answer is, maybe. Although the rust and sediments that are causing this brown water won’t harm many people, there are some who have sensitive skin and these elements can cause irritation issues on your skin and scalp.

Believe it or not, it’s actually also safe to drink. In other words, it won’t kill you. So if you absolutely HAD to bathe or shower in brown water and you accidentally injested some – you will be okay.

If you have any questions about discolored water be it brown water or yellow water coming from your water supply, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.