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What causes discolored hot water?

There are several potential causes for discoloured brown water tap flow:

  • Rusty hot pipes or water heater tanks - As pipes and tanks age, they can deteriorate and stir up sediment, leading to brown yellow water with red or yellow hues when it’s agitated.
  • Mineral buildup - Compounds such iron manganese, and other components can leave behind sediment that discolours hot water.
  • Bacteria growth - Causes issue brown biofilm buildup like iron-reducing bacteria can cause biofilm buildup inside pipes and tanks leading to discoloured water.

Addressing the issue of hot water brown emerging from your heaters and pipes necessitates more than just vigilant maintenance; professional help might be required. Rust, loose sediment, and Bacteria growth inside your pipes can also get stirred up when drawing hot water, causing discoloration that flows into water at your faucet. Addressing these underlying issues through flushing pipes, replacing corroded parts, and disinfecting the system can help restore water to freely flow through your plumbing.

Identifying the source of discoloration

To identify the source your discoloured hot water, follow these troubleshooting steps:

  1. Check if the issue occurs with your cold water tap by comparing taps, specifically observing the cold tap alongside the hot line. Allow each tap to run for about 20 minutes, observing the clarity and colour of the water emerging. Should only your cold hot water present as murky and discoloured, it’s wise to suspect your hot water system as the culprit.
  2. Evaluate if the discolouration issue affects your hot water throughout your house, checking for colour and clarity from hot tap in areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Inspect whether all your taps exhibit discoloration or if it’s isolated to just some. This can help pinpoint if it’s a localised issue or a whole home/system problem.
  3. Note if your water still shows discoloration that is worst initially, then clears up after running for a few minutes. This issue most likely signals a buildup inside pipes getting stirred up before dissipating.
  4. Inspect if water stains or deposits, which could indicate an issue with water flow brown in nature, emerge in your basins or bathtubs after use. Rusty red or brown residue indicating water brown in your sink points to underlying corrosion issues.
  5. Keep an eye on any variations, especially if the discolouration coming out suggests rusty pipes with ongoing issues over subsequent days.

These simple checks should reveal useful clues into the root cause. Meanwhile, when water in your home displays intermittent or isolated discolouration, what do people often consider as the most common causes? In most cases, it’s localised buildup or sediment disturbances. These simple checks should reveal useful clues into the root cause.

Most often, systemic hot water discoloration that worsens could signify a problem that can lie within failing components like a corroded water heater or pipes.

Common culprits behind rusty/brown water

Some of the most common causes of rusty or brown hot water include:

  • Corroded galvanised steel pipes - As these pipes age, corrosion can rust your plumbing, causing rust flakes to break off into the water.
  • Sediment build-up in the water heater - Hard water areas, common in your area, are prone to deposits of minerals such iron, causing discolouration of hot water.
  • Iron-reducing bacteria - These microorganisms can cause brown tap water biofilm on pipe and tank walls by thriving on iron in the water.

In essence, deteriorating steel pipes and ageing water heater tanks can accumulate and then flush out rust particles out of your system, ensuring safe water practices remains crucial. Hard water can exacerbate these issues by allowing minerals to accumulate, which can cause water to turn brown over time. Bacteria such as iron reducers can flourish, leading to rust particles that can turn brown into a noticeable discoloration.

Replacing worn galvanised steel pipes, draining and flushing water heater tanks, and disinfecting with high-heat or chlorination can help eliminate these common dirty tap water rust sources.

Flushing your water heater

Sediment and mineral deposits may start to gather at the base of the water heater tank, threatening the status of your water safe within few hours. When water hot is drawn from the tank, these deposits can disturb your tap water, causing discolouration or cloudiness.

It’s time to acknowledge that flushing your hot water heater helps remove built-up sediment to ensure a flow of clean, safe water for drinking purposes. Here’s how to drain and flush your tank to maintain water that’s not only clean but also safe for consumption:

  1. Turn off power to the water heater and shut off the valve to stop water coming out of the system.
  2. Attach a garden tap hose to the tank’s drain valve and route it to an area where the drained water can safely disperse.
  3. open the drain valve at the tank’s base to release water and the tiny air bubbles within, ensuring a smooth flow of cleaned your tap water, sediment-free into the hose.
  4. Then, need to close the drain valve and refill the water tank by turning the cold water intake back on.
  5. Then test water for lingering discoloration by running your hot tap until it flows clear.
  6. You then need to consider replacing old anode rods, which typically require replacement every 4-5 years in areas with hard or municipal water types.

Flushing a corroded tank may offer temporary relief, but then you may need to call a professional to address persistent rusty water concerns. Should the problem persists, do not hesitate to contact your professional from our seasoned team for assistance.

Maintaining plumbing to prevent issues

We recommend regular maintenance by your local plumber on new hot water systems and preventative measures to get rid of brown water issues before they escalate. Here are some tips:

  • Inspect Ensure hot water can flow freely by inspecting water heater tanks and water pipes annually. Replace corroded parts.
  • Drain and flush out your hot water heaters annually to prevent sediment from getting into your water. Check anode rods.
  • For hard water challenges, installing a water softener and filtration systems can lessen mineral buildup.
  • Disinfect pipes using heat or chlorine treatments to kill bacteria like iron reducers.
  • Upgrade old iron pipes and galvanised steel ones which corrode from cold hot water usage over time.
  • Make sure water pressure is properly regulated throughout the plumbing system.

Establishing a routine maintenance schedule for your plumbing can clarify why your water might become discoloured and, if necessary, when to call professional assistance to prevent it from escalating into major issues. Simple steps like annual tank flushing, anode rod checks, and pipe inspections can protect components from excessive wear, corrosion, and contaminant buildup.

For persistent problems, water treatment solutions can make hard water less damaging to plumbing.

Water softeners prevent mineral scale accumulation while filtration removes sediments. Water softeners prevent mineral scale accumulation while filtration removes sediments. Together, these maintenance best practises reduce discoloration events.

When to call a professional

While many discoloured hot water issues can be addressed through DIY methods, there are certain situations that require professional help:

  • If If flushing the water heater, draining pipes, and chlorine shock treatment doesn’t address the source of your persistent discoloration throughout your home, your water supply issue likely requires repairs beyond a basic homeowner’s capabilities.
  • Significant visible corrosion on brown water your heater, pipes, or fittings indicates advance damage. Replacement of affected components, likely compromised by brown water coming out, may be necessary.
  • Complete loss of hot water suggests you might need repair work on your hot water heater or a replacement. No hot water means a loss of system functionality.
  • Low hot water pressure at all taps often signals discolored water obstructing the water flow through pipes, indicating an underlying issue requiring professional attention.
  • Discoloration accompanied by a metallic taste or odour indicates poor water quality and may not be safe to drink without proper test water. Water may not be safe to drink until the issue is resolved.

For significant concerns or complex repairs, we recommend calling or providing your name, email at jobs@ashfieldplumbingservices.com.au, or contacting Ashfield Plumbing to consult a licensed plumber directly. Our licenced, fully insured plumbers have the expertise to diagnose issues, repair damage, and water your home with clear hot water.

News & Information

Hot Water Discoloured?
Why Is My Hot Water Discoloured?

Discoloured hot water is usually caused by rust, sediment or bacteria buildup inside your hot water system. It’s harmless but can reduce efficiency. Fix it by draining and flushing out the tank following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Typical Lifespan Hot Water System?
What is the Typical Lifespan of a Hot Water System?

You can expect a typical hot water system to last between 8 and 15 years depending on several factors. Replacing an aging system ensures constant access to hot water when needed. Contact Ashfield Plumbing on 1300-829-252 to discuss your hot water system lifespan or replacement.

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Is a broken tap an emergency?

While a leaking or broken tap doesn’t qualify as a plumbing emergency, it should be repaired quickly to prevent water damage, mold, higher bills, and flooding risks. Getting professional repairs from a licensed plumber ensures the issue is properly diagnosed and fixed.

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