If you’ve ever turned on a sink faucet to see rust colored water come out, you know that’s not a good feeling. It’s even worse when the discolored water comes out of the shower or bath faucet. This can be an unsettling experience. Is this water safe? What’s causing this problem?
First of all, don’t be too scared. Rusty water is unpleasant, but in normal ranges, it isn’t considered dangerous. Rust is a chemical process of iron, and has nothing to do with more dangerous primary-standard metals like lead and arsenic, which used to be chronic dangers in municipal plumbing. According to the EPA, Iron, along with manganese and sulfate, is considered a secondary category (lower risk) material. There are suggested limits for drinking and bathing, but no legal limits.
So, how can you figure out what caused this rusty water? Let’s try to isolate the issue. If all your hot water, from every faucet, has a rusty color, there’s probably rust inside your water heater. Plumbers recommend you empty it out twice a year, by attaching a hose to it and letting the water drain out, along with any sediments and rust that may have built up in there.
If all your cold water fixtures are spewing rusty water, there may be a problem with your cold water source. First, you can try running the water at full blast for a while to see if it just goes away. If that doesn’t work, you might want to go to the basement or crawlspace to have a look at your cold water source. It may have visible corrosion and need to be replaced.
If the rusty water is only coming from one sink or tub faucet, then there’s a problem with pipes local to that particular faucet. Look below for any corrosion. Since it still can be hard to pinpoint where exactly the problem is, you might want to call a plumber, who can easily find the problem and quickly replace the faulty pipe or joint. If a pipe is left to corrode, it can lead to more serious problems like clogging or leaks.
If all the water in your house is rusty colored, there may be an issue with your water main, which would require professional help. But before calling a plumber, ask your neighbors if they’ve had the same problem, because there may be an issue with the neighborhood’s water.
If you need a plumber, call All Star Service and Repair. We have over 60 years of combined experience providing residential plumbing services in Salt Lake County. We do drain cleaning, sewer line repair, trenchless sewer cleaning, whole-home repiping, you name it. We’re confident we can pinpoint the problem and recommend the best course of action using high-tech plumbing inspection equipment. Then, we’ll draw on years of knowledge and training to repair your pipes correctly the first time around. Call us today at (801) 305-3876 or contact us online to schedule the services you need in Salt Lake City, Sandy, Murray, Provo, or Orem.