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Has Your Tap Water Turned Brown? This May Be Why.

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If you are experiencing brown water in your toilet and sink, it can be alarming. But it may be more common than you think. Here are some common causes for this unsettling occurrence.

Has your tap water ever gone from looking clean and clear to murky overnight, with discolored water running from your faucet? You may be surprised to know that changes in water clarity can happen virtually overnight. If you are experiencing a change in water color it is important that you learn the cause as soon as possible.

Pressure has changed in your city’s water lines

How this happens:

Inside a city water main

From water main breaks to routine maintenance like the flushing of city water lines, changes in the pressure of the water flowing through the lines can stir up the dirt, rust particles and sediment that coat the inside of city water lines. Unfortunately, these types of disturbances will only get more common as our water infrastructure ages across the country. City water incidents can happen quickly.

If your water suddenly changes from clear to murky in the same day and all of the faucets at your home have discolored water coming out of them, the problem is most likely due to a pressure change in your city’s water lines.

Typically these problems clear up within a couple of hours, but can take as long as several days to return to normal. In temporary situations like this we recommend not using hot water at all if possible, to keep the discolored water from being drawn into your water heater.


What you can do about it:

If discolored water is a continuing problem in your city, you might want to consider installing a filter like our ToxinShield.

The city water main shown in the picture above was taken after the routine flushing of the city’s water lines, and it took several hours for the water to return to normal. If you use city-supplied water and have had problems with discoloration, flushing of the lines is the most probable cause.

Older water lines in your home are corroding

How this happens:

Many homes built before 1960 were plumbed with galvanized steel water lines. As these water lines age, they can collect a rusty sediment that can come out at the tap when you turn on your faucet. If the discolored water is only present at one or several faucets (but not all of them), or if your water is discolored every morning but runs clear once you’ve had the tap running for a few minutes, chances are good that the problem is with the water lines in your home.


What you can do about it:

A point-of-use treatment system like RevitaLife RO will make sure that your drinking water is clean, clear and tastes fresh. As a long term solution, we recommend working with a plumber to replace your water lines.

Periods of high rains or drought have changed the water table

How this happens:

Many homeowners that get their water from a private well know they have iron problems, however extremes in weather can cause changes in the water table that would surprise even the most seasoned well owner. In many cases, the fluctuation can be so severe that existing water treatment equipment won’t be able to handle the excess iron.

What you can do about it:

If discolored water due to extreme weather is a problem for you, we recommend choosing a powerful iron removal solution like IronShield, which can handle up to 10ppm of iron (typically, water softeners only treat up to 2 or 3 ppm).

High demand for water in times of drought

How this happens:

Some cities draw their water from surface rivers and streams. In times of drought when water is in the highest demand, the fresh surface water will mix with sediment from the river bottom and deliver murky water to your tap.

What you can do about it:

If you notice that your faucets deliver discolored water at the same time every year (typically in the fall, after water volume has decreased over the summer), you might want to consider installing a sediment filter like SedimentShield.

Filtration equipment isn’t working correctly

How this happens:

While it’s rare, some small towns might experience discolored water simply because their water treatment equipment wasn’t designed to handle the correct volume, or the equipment is in need of repair.

What you can do about it:

If what you’re noticing doesn’t fit with any of the other situations presented above, you might want to put a call in to your city to find out what’s going on. If the problem is ongoing, installing a whole-home filter like Toxin Shield will keep your water clean and clear.

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