Rusty water from your tap? Here’s what you should do

Your teeth need to be brushed and you just woke up. A brown, cloudy mush drips from the tap as you stick your brush under the water. Normally, rust-colored water is not harmful, but it may disturb you. This problem can be caused by corroded pipes, mineral buildup, or utility company operations.

A rusty tap water in your home can be traumatizing, especially if you don’t know why it’s happening. 

How does water become brown?

When it contains sediment or minerals, tap water appears rusty brown, yellow, or reddish.

In water, iron and manganese are the most common discoloring minerals. Several different sources can contribute to the introduction of these tiny metallic deposits into water. You may also notice an unpleasant taste or smell in your water due to these minerals.

What To Do If Your Water Is Reddish Brown

You now know what caused the rusty water discoloration, so you know where to begin:

The water in your hot and cold faucets suddenly turns brown:

Get in touch with your water supplier. A nearby water main or fire hydrant may have been damaged. Another possibility is that the city is performing maintenance on the pipe system, and they accidentally stirred up some sediment. Your water company should be able to let you know when it will clear up again and what they are doing to resolve the issue.

Running your faucets for a few minutes after the utility work has been completed will ensure that orange water no longer appears. After several flushes, brown water should disappear from toilets.

Discolored water all over your house:

Make sure your water heater’s tank is drained and flushed. A sediment buildup over time is usually the cause of rusty hot water. Twice a year, drain and flush your septic tank. The sediment buildup in your water is not just harmful to your health; it is one of the leading causes of leaks in water heaters.

If your hot water is still off-colored after flushing the tank or installing a new water heater, you may have a more serious problem. Hire an experienced plumber to diagnose the problem. A buildup of sediment in your water heater could permanently damage it, or (in rare and extreme cases) even make it explode.

When you turn on a few faucets, you may notice discolored cold water:

Pour plenty of water into those faucets by running them at full pressure for several minutes. The inner walls of a pipe can dislodge a small amount of rust, which may enter the water supply. Run the water to clear the water of rust if the problem is that minor. You can also consult professional plumber at


The problem may return shortly after you flush the rust, however, if the water looks still rusty after running it or if your pipes have corroded. You will continue to have brown water from your cold faucet if corrosion or rust buildup builds up on the pipe walls of your water supply pipes.

Corroded or rusted pipes should be deep cleaned or replaced ASAP, before they cause more severe damage. Water lines that are corroded can lead to clogs and leaks.