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Do You Have Rust-Colored Water? What Does that Mean? What is it Trying to Tell You?

Friday, February 6th, 2015

When a water faucet is turned on, you expect to see clear running water, but sometimes instead of crystal clear water flowing freely, rust-colored water is produced.

Other times, what was once clear water has now turned red or yellow after standing. Whenever a visual indication of a water problem appears, it’s time to call a professional plumber to investigate and repair the problem.

Pipes

Rusty pipes are a common issue for homeowners. As faucets are turned on and off, causing the pressure inside the pipes to change repeatedly, it can cause loosened rust to dislodge from the pipe. This discolored water then makes its way through the water supply line into the bathroom and kitchen sinks, bathtubs, showers, and laundry room.

Galvanized pipes are also major culprits for dispensing rust-colored water. In this case, replacing galvanized pipes with copper plumbing remedies the problem.

Water Heater

Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, over time, nature takes its course especially if your home is fitted with a steel water heater. To protect the steel water heater, a coating of porcelain enamel lines the inside to keep corrosion at bay. Over time, it’s only natural for the enamel to wear out. When this happens, the steel will start to corrode, creating flakes and chips that end up settling on the bottom of the water heater. Eventually, the flakes degrade into fine rusty particles resulting in rusty-colored water. Also, the lifespan of a water heater usually runs for about 10 years. At this time, the water heater may begin to leak, which causes the rust sediment to make its way through the water line.

Anode Rod

Another part of the water heater that can cause rusty water is the anode rod. The rod is made of metal such as zinc, magnesium, or aluminum. Its purpose is to protect the steel lining through electrolysis which is a chemical reaction that causes the rod to corrode. Over time, the anode rod will become thoroughly coated in corrosion and it won’t do the job it’s designed to do. Anode rods should be replaced on a regular basis.

Well Water

Two common culprits associated with well water are iron and manganese. The three basic types or iron are ferric iron, ferrous iron, and iron bacteria. Ferric iron has a rusty red appearance coming from faucets while ferrous iron causes standing water to change to a rust or yellow color. Examples of both can be seen on sinks, showers, and bathtubs where a standing water turns red or yellow. Iron bacteria feeds on the iron found in fittings, pipes, and water. It creates slime which can become dislodged creating discolored water.

For answers to your questions, contact the Pink Plumber today.

Image source: Flickr