Discolored water is one of the more unpleasant problems faced by many homeowners. Noticing water from your faucets with an odd color can be disconcerting and frightening. Fortunately, most discolored water issues do not pose an immediate health hazard. While your water should always be clean and clear, understanding why it might not be can help you to track down the problem.
Although water can turn a surprising array of colors when plumbing problems are present, there are a few forms of discoloration that are particularly common. Below you will find explanations for some typical water coloring issues that you may experience in your home.
Water with a high concentration of oxidized metal can turn a variety of shades, but it's usually safe to describe it as "rusty." You may notice anything from a light orange tint to a deep, dark red. In general, water that looks particularly opaque likely contains a large quantity of dissolved material and may indicate severely rusted pipes.
Rust in water is not usually harmful, but it certainly will not look appetizing. It may also stain sinks, bathtubs, or other fixtures. Running the water for a little while may solve the problem, but you should contact a plumber if the discoloration persists.
While orange, red, or brown water can indicate corrosion in iron pipes, a blue-green tint is a sure sign of copper corrosion. If you notice water of this color, then it's likely that your home's copper plumbing is beginning to corrode internally. Copper is not harmful in small quantities, but it can be dangerous in larger doses.
In general, you don't need to be concerned about the safety of your water if you notice a slight tint, but you should address the problem as soon as possible. Allowing corrosion in your pipes to continue can lead to pinhole leaks or potentially more hazardous levels of water contamination.
Dirt or Sediment
Dirty water with sediment is a problem that can sometimes arise with homes serviced by well water. Recent repairs or disruptions to the well can cause sediment to enter the system, producing water that appears dirty or cloudy. Water contaminated with solid matter should not be used and may damage or clog fixtures around your home.
If you notice discoloration accompanied by visible solid particles, look for plumbing assistance in your area. The sooner you find the source of the problem, the less likely you are to cause damage to your plumbing fixtures.