What Causes Brown Water Through Taps?

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what causes brown water through taps?

Ick, Ick, ICK. No one wants to see brown water coming through their taps. But it’s not an uncommon occurrence in households. Here are a few reasons why you may have brown water coming through the taps of your home.

 What causes brown water through taps?

There are 3 common causes for brown water through taps and fixtures. Here are the common causes and how to fix them.

1. Galvanised Water Pipes

If you have an older home, where the water lines are run with the original galvanized  pipes, this will be the cause of the brown water in your home. Gal pipes will have rust inside them and this rusty sediment will add unwanted nutrients and colour to your water. The only way fix the water issue is to replace the water pipes with copper or a recommended plastic pipe.

2. Dirt Discharge

If your local council or water provider are working on the water main in your street, coloured water could be caused by dirt or pebble contaminants. Often this happens when the water line is cut to make a connection or if the water line has burst.

To fix, remove the aerators from the spouts of your taps to remove any dirt sediment. Run the water until the water is clear. Use a bucket to collect this water as it can be used to water the garden.

3. Hooked up to Tank Water

If your laundry and toilet are hooked up to rainwater tanks, the water can get contaminated with dirt and dust particles run off from the roof into your tank causing the water to go brown. If a rainwater tank is not maintained, it’s common for a sludge to develop in the tank and this can colour the water. It’s not the nicest way to be greeted by a toilet bowl full of brown water, and it’s not ideal for clothes washing. Call your local plumber to get the tank water clear again.

Here is a gal water pipe, half blocked with rust. Dad and I replaced the gal pipe as the client was getting brown water through all their taps.

What the orifice of a brown rusty gal pipe looks like, what causes brown water through taps
What the orifice of a brown rusty gal pipe looks like

When the gal was disconnected, the inner bore of the pipe was nearly blocked with this rusty sediment.

Gal pipes were used in older homes pre 1970’s. The sediment forms over time and is a reaction between the water and gal. It is recommended to replace this piping to copper or plastic over time, because the sediment can break off and cause issues with ceramic disc mixers taps and the seals in toilet cisterns. Let alone what it does to your health when you drink it.

When the pipes are replaced, clients find they have better water pressure because the water isn’t fighting to get through a smaller orifice.

The cost to replace a gal water main is greatly determined by how accessible the water pipes are in your home.

If you’re looking to renovate, I recommend replacing the gal. Your local licensed plumber will be able to give you a quote on how to best proceed with the replacement.

Have you ever had brown water flow through the taps in your home? Ever had a home with gal water pipes?