If you have discolored water coming from your taps, you know how shocking this can be. Brown tap water is a common occurrence often faced by homeowners using a well. However, other factors can cause this problem in homes connected to a city or county water supply. Aside from the obvious questions of how to fix the problem, you should also be asking if it is harmful to your health.
What Causes It?
Several factors can cause brown tap water with the most common being high contents of iron and/or manganese. It is not uncommon for private or underground well water to have high concentrations of iron as it is naturally found in soil. Another source of iron-infused tap water is caused by rust. Galvanized plumbing pipes are known for contaminating your water. The contamination is a result of rust forming on the inner layer of the pipe. Water flow and pressure fluctuations can loosen the rust and send it directly to you via your tap.
Your water heater can also contribute to brown tap water flowing from your faucets. Tank-style water heaters incorporate a magnesium-coated iron rod to attract corrosive electrolytes to prevent them from attacking the tank. As the water heater ages, the magnesium gives way and exposes the iron rod, which will rust and contribute to the discoloration. In addition, once the anode rod fails, the inner walls of the water heater tank can also begin to rust and contaminate your water.
Should You Drink It?
Water contaminated with iron and magnesium, although unsightly, smelly and unpleasant to drink, is not harmful to you. Since your body requires these elements to function properly, it is not a health concern. However, other circumstances resulting from brown tap water can lead to major health concerns. If the discoloration in your water is due to rusting pipes or an aging water heater, chances are it is just a matter of time before one or the other fails due to the corrosion. If this happens, you could face serious water damage, which is an invite for unhealthy mold and mildew growth in your home. One last area of concern would be cracked pipes due to the corrosive build-up. A cracked pipe carries not only the potential for water damage and mold or mildew growth but also exposes your water supply to airborne contaminants that could pose a health risk.
What You Can Do
If you are experiencing brown tap water, you must know where the problem lies before you can address it. Your best option is to contact a professional plumbing contractor who can track down the source of contamination. After identifying the problem, it may be as simple as installing an energy efficient water heater or water filtration system. Homes with old galvanized plumbing and fixtures may face a more extensive project as it often calls for re-plumbing your water supply lines.
For answers to your questions, contact The Pink Plumber today.
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