If you find rusty water, act fast
Everyone wants the water coming from their taps to be clear and clean. But what to do if the taste and colour of your tap water are suddenly a bit off?
The problem may be rust, and depending on the condition of your water heater and pipes, the source of it might be inside your own house.
There is also a possibility, however, that the rust stems from your city water supply, particularly if you live in an old city which hasn’t updated its water system for many decades.
But before you have to call a plumber, there are several things you can look for first that can point out the root source of the rust.
Is it even rust?
It shouldn’t take a laboratory test to figure out if your water impurity is rust or not.
Rusty water will have an easily noticeable metallic smell as well as a reddish brown colour. These rust particles are oxidized iron, and though they can leave unwanted stains on your porcelain sink or white bath towels, they don’t pose any real hazard to your health according to a study from the University of California, with the one exception of people suffering from a rare condition know as hemochromatosis which causes the body to store up excessive levels of iron.
Where is the rust coming from?
The first question to ask is if the rust is originating from inside your home or from the public water system. In order to investigate, test the tap where you noticed the rusty water by filling up a glass with cold water.
Check this glass for a rusty smell or colour, and then allow the cold water to run for a few seconds before taking another sample. Finally, run the hot water for a few seconds first and then test a glass of that.
If the rust colour and smell is only found in your hot water, or if it disappears after running your tap for several seconds, then it is more than likely that the source of the problem is your own home plumbing.
On the other hand, if you have consistent rustiness from both hot and cold taps, it is likely coming from the public source and you should notify your local water authority right away.
This simple test can also help you to narrow down the precise source of the rust within your home.
If the rusty water is only coming from your hot water tap, than more than likely the problem is with your hot water heater. However if it’s coming from your cold tap as well, then it’s likely that a pipe or pipes are corroding in your home plumbing system.
What can be done when you have rusty water?
No matter what the cause of the problem is, the only solution is replacement. If it’ s an older section of the public system that is corroding, the public authority will need to replace the pipes in question.
And if on the other hand it is the pipes in your home that are causing the problem, then you will need to have them replaced by a plumber (following a thorough investigation of which pipe or pipes are causing the problem).
Likewise if the source of the problem is your hot water heater, the best solution once again is replacement. The problem will only become worse, since the corrosion tends to progress until the integrity of the tank comes apart entirely.
There is one additional safeguard you can take to prevent corrosion in the first place however, namely by replacing the anode rod every couple of years.
The anode rod is a long, metal rod extending into the tank of your water heater tank. It serves to attract corrosive particles onto itself and away from the water heater itself.
Eventually, however, the rod will get eaten away so much that the particles will eventually begin to attack the water heater tank again, and accordingly the rod requires periodic replacing. An anode rod will typically last about five years, or in some cases less if your home has a water softening system.
Do you require assistance to investigate the source of your rusty water? Or to inspect your hot water heater to ensure it’s protected?
Please call us today to request our service or to ask for more information.