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Why Is My Water Brown All Of A Sudden: 7 Solutions (2024)

Has your home’s tap water turned murky overnight? Are you wondering, “why is my water brown all of a sudden“?

The brown color of water or sudden water discoloration may be due to the accumulation of minerals, sediment, and rust in your water mains or other potential reasons. These reasons include:

  • Your city water lines’ pressure changes.
  • Change of water table due to high rains/drought.
  • Improper working of filtration equipment
  • Corrosion of your home’s older water lines, and
  • High water demand during drought times.

Surprised to learn that, right? Well! Read this article, and I promise you will know everything in detail with practical solutions to the problem.

7 Reasons Behind Brown Water Coming Out Of Faucet And Toilet [With Practical Solutions]:

ReasonsHow CommonHow Easy To Fix Troubleshooting Way Time Needed To Fix
Sediment Deposition in your water heater tankMost commonEasyDrain and decontaminate your water heater’s tank20 minutes – 1 hour (depending on the water heater tank’s size)
Accumulation of dirt within the pipesCommonEasyWait for the water to get clean on its own/ drain out the cloudy water from your faucets. Almost 15 minutes 
Rust in pipesLess commonMediumCall your plumber and replace your house’s old pipes with new, latest, and improved ones2 days to 1 week period for a whole-house repiping
You haven’t used the faucet for a long timeCommonVery easyKeep your tap open for some time and allow the brown water to run Several minutes (15 minutes or more). Repeat the same once or twice every hour for some hours. 
Chemicals in your main water source (groundwater)CommonHardPump and treat method(after extraction, the water is treated above-ground)50 to 100 years (a very long time)
Change in your main water sourceLess commonMediumInstall a water treatment machine in your houseA few hours
Your filtration system is inefficient Less commonMediumCall the county commissioner or the water supplier to ensure they know about the problem. You can also install a water treatment machine at your home.Changing or fixing the area’s filtration system may take some weeks. 
Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Your Filtered Water Tastes Weird

I faced the problem of brown water at home and struggled hard to find the cause without success. Thank God! At last, one of my friends and some trusted websites on the internet provided me with enough knowledge about brown water, its causes, and the solutions.

My friend, too, has faced the same problem at his house and thus learnt everything about it from his professional plumber. I am sharing what I learned from my research and my friend about brown water. Also, I will explain how I coped with the brown water problem at home.

Suppose you fill your bucket with the bath water and suddenly notice brown discolored water coming out of your bathroom’s tap…what will you do? Well! First, analyze the reason behind it and troubleshoot the problem accordingly. Here are the reasons for brown or murky water from your tap:

The Reasons Behind Brown Water That I Learnt At Last

Brown water causes

Sediment Deposition in Water Heater Tank

The first thing I skipped checking was the water heater’s tank. It’s usually the most common cause of the discharge of brown water.

Why Does It Happen?

Water comprises a few helpful minerals (for example- calcium, magnesium, etc.) in it—heating of water inside the water heater deposits these minerals at the tank’s base in tiny amounts.

Over time, the accumulation of the same minerals turns the transparent hot water into brown. Therefore, if your water heater tank possesses these minerals in large amounts, the heating efficiency of the device declines gradually.

How Common Is It? Is It Easy-to-handle?

It’s one of the most common problems and is easy to troubleshoot.

What You Should Do – Precaution Or Solution and Approximate Time:

Check your water heater’s tank’s bottom periodically. Drain your water heater’s tank and sanitize it. The process will take 20 minutes to an hour. It all depends on the water heater tank’s size.

Also Read: How To Clean RO System Step-By-Step 

Dirt Deposition On Pipes

Dirt deposits

Why Does It Happen?

Most of the time, dirt or other unwanted substances pollute water by entering our pipeline. They reach the pipe’s bottom and settle until its internal water pressure increases.

This increase in water pressure of city-supplied water results in rapid water movement through the pipes, which in turn mixes up the dirt with the normal water in the pipeline. So, you will see brown or yellow water discharge from your tap.

How Common Is It? Is It Easy to Handle?

Dirt deposition on pipes is a common problem and can be handled easily.

What You Should Do – Precaution Or Solution and Approximate Time:

I have confronted this problem at my house. What I did was, I waited for the water to clear on its own by passing out the dirt. When, even after a few hours, the dirty water didn’t clear away on its own, and the discoloration of water remained intact, I drained the water out of my faucets for at least 15 minutes, and it worked. The water quality improved, and I got clear non-cloudy water. 

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Your Well Water Is Turning Yellow

Rust in Pipes

Rusting pipes

Why Does It Happen?

Some old buildings, though few, use galvanized iron or lead service pipes, which corrode and create rust over time.

These rust particles from the rusty pipes enter the water flow system within the water pipes as flakes. When they become large in quantity, the rust particles elicit brown rusty water.

If all the taps give the same brown water discharge, you should blame the central water supply.

Also Read: Top 5 Iron Filter For Well Water

How Common Is It? Is It Easy-to-handle?

Rust in pipes is a less common problem and is somewhat tough to handle.

What You Should Do – Precaution Or Solution and Approximate Time:

The only solution to this problem is to call your plumber. My friend told me that the plumber solves this problem by replacing one’s home’s old pipes with the new, latest, or modified ones. Changing the entire house’s old pipes will take nearly 2 days to 1 week.

Not Using Your Faucet For A Long Time

Undisturbed faucets

Ever gone for a long trip somewhere or moved to a different house? Then, you have surely faced the problem of brown water after returning to your home from vacation or in the new house.

I faced this problem recently when I shifted to a new apartment. My friend’s advice helped me to solve this problem.

Why Does It Happen?

It happens because of the drying out of sediments resulting from the evaporation of water.

How Common Is It? Is It Easy-to-handle?

Brown water discharge resulting from not using your faucet for a long time is a common problem and is very easy to handle.

How I Troubleshooted the Problem – Precaution/Solution and Approximate Time:

I kept my tap open for some time and made the brown water run. The process took several minutes (15 minutes or more) to complete. I repeated the same once or twice every hour for some hours, and it worked!

Also Read: What I Found By Testing Phoenix Tap Water  

Chemicals In Your Main Water Source (Groundwater)

Why Does It Happen?

Sometimes chemicals enter inside your main water system (groundwater) through rainwater. These chemicals are harmful. They are motor oil and pesticides. They discolor the fresh water.

How Common Is It? Is It Easy to Handle?

It is a common problem and hard to handle.

How to Troubleshoot the Problem – Precaution/Solution and Approximate Time:

The pump and treat method is used for troubleshooting this problem. Extract the water and treat it above the ground. The process is very long and can take several decades to complete.

Change In Your Main Water Source

Changing main water source

Why Does It Happen?

It happens when your municipality changes your residence’s main water supply reservoir and switches it to a distinct river for water. The water source chosen may be contaminated, resulting in a brownish discharge from your tap.

How Common Is It? Is It Easy to Handle?

The problem is a less common one that is hard to solve.

How to Troubleshoot the Problem – Precaution Or Solution and Approximate Time:

Install a water treatment system or machine at your house. It will provide you with clean and fresh water. The installation will take only a few hours to complete. You can also take a professional opinion about it from an experienced plumber. 

Your Filtration System Is Inefficient

Why Does It Happen?

Sometimes, some areas’ water treatment devices fail to function properly. As a result, they fail to properly address the water’s huge volumes, resulting in an untreated water supply.

How Common Is It? Is It Easy-to-handle?

The problem is a less common one that is somewhat difficult to solve.

How to Troubleshoot the Problem – Precaution Or Solution and Approximate Time:

Calling the county commissioner or the water supplier and ensuring they know about the problem is a good idea. If they have not heard about the problem, inform them about it.

You can also install a water treatment machine or water filtration system to get water clarity. By doing that, you will get safe drinking water. Remember, changing or fixing the area’s filtration system may take weeks.

Also Read: Can You Safely Drink Shower Water? 

What Is Brown Water And Is It REALLY Dangerous?

Is brown water dangerous?

Brown water is water that has turned brown from its deep blue color due to the mixture of various contaminants like sediments, chemicals, dirt, minerals, rusts, sulfur dioxide, or other impurities with it. As a result, it’s dark, cloudy, and murky.

Though, in general, brown tap water is not poisonous, its unpleasant taste, smell, and appearance make it unsuitable for drinking.

Also, the high lead or iron content in brown or cloudy water leads to major health hazards or problems if consumed excessively. So, it’s better to solve the problem of the brown water situation to avoid any health risks.  

Moreover, the flow of brown water from the tap is an inconvenience. Brown drinking water tastes metallic and damages your clothes and fixtures. Moreover, rusted water gives breeding facilities to different forms of bacteria.

Also, rust build-up can corrode and crack your plumbing pipes. Finally, it makes your sinks, washrooms, showers, etc., dirty. So, though brown water is not dangerous, it creates a complete nuisance.

Calling a plumber is the ultimate solution to fix brown water issues. But, before calling a plumber, you can try some quick troubleshooting methods for brownish water discharge. Your problem could be minor, and these troubleshooting methods might help! 

Also Read: Why Is My Well Water Black?

How to Get Rid of Brown Water

  • Wait for some time and see if the water clears away on its own.
  • If it doesn’t happen, open the cold water taps and drain a few liters of brown water.
  • If still, you notice brownish water, run both the hot and cold water to confirm whether the murky water is coming from the warm water tap. If it’s coming from your water heater, call your plumber and ask him to flush it out or replace it.
  • If you find brown water occurrences even after 24 hours and your neighbors are also experiencing the same, contact the area’s local council.
Also Read: Should You Drink Moldy Water?

Why Is My Water Brown All Of A Sudden FAQs

Why Is My Water Brown All Of A SuddenFAQs

Is it safe to shower in brown water?

Yes, you can shower in brown water if you want to, as it will not cause serious problems. However, it is better to avoid it as it will be a bad experience for you. It will only give you inconvenience due to the bad smell and appearance of the water.

Why is my water brown in only one bathroom?

The water may be murky in just one bathroom of your house because of the rust leaching from its old galvanized iron pipe. It may also happen for not using the taps of that bathroom for a long time while you were on vacation.

How long does it take for brown water to go away?

If the issue is minor, your brown water will get cleared up within a few hours on its own or after your drainage of it. However, major issues demand calling the plumber, which will take some more time.

Can heavy rain cause dirty water?

Yes, heavy rain can result in brown or murky water, indicating your house’s rusty plumbing/water heater.

What happens if you drink brown water from the tap?

Brown water or other discolored water, though not poisonous, is severely harmful. Also, its taste, smell, and appearance are unappealing. So, it’s better to avoid drinking water with a brown appearance.

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