Have you ever gone to get a cup of water from the kitchen sink only to be hit with the sight and smell of murky, brown water? It's not the most appetizing thing in the world, and it's definitely not something you want to drink. But what causes this strange phenomenon? In this blog post, Oak Plumbing will discuss the most common sources of tainted, foul-smelling water and fix them.
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There are actually a few different things that could be causing your water to turn brown. One possibility is that there could be sediments in your water lines. This is especially common if you have an older home with plumbing that isn't up to code. When water sits in these old pipes, it can pick up bits of rust, dirt, and other debris. This is harmless to drink, but it doesn't look or smell great.
Sediment can accumulate in your water lines over time, and if it's not removed, it can cause a number of problems. First, sediment can lead to clogs in your plumbing. When water can't flow freely through your pipes, it puts stress on the entire system and can eventually cause leaks. Not to mention, clogged pipes are a pain (literally) to deal with. Just ask anyone who's ever had to unclog a toilet!
In addition to causing clogs, sediment can also be dangerous for your health. When water is unable to flow freely through your pipes, it can become stagnant. Stagnant water is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which means that taking a sip from your kitchen sink could put you at risk for illness. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stagnant water is one of the main sources of Legionnaires' disease—a type of pneumonia that can be fatal.
Sulfur is a naturally occurring element that can be found in rocks, soil, and even water. When water contains high levels of sulfur, it can cause that characteristic rotten egg smell. Sulfur is also responsible for the black staining that sometimes appears on fixtures and laundry.
There are two common types of sulfur-related odors: hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans. Hydrogen sulfide is the result of decomposing organic matter in your well water and is usually the cause of that "rotten egg" smell. Mercaptans, on the other hand, are added to gas so that leaks can be detected; they're also responsible for giving skunks their distinct odor. While hydrogen sulfide is typically harmless, mercaptans can be toxic if ingested in large quantities.
Over time, copper pipes can become corroded, which can cause the water flowing through them to become brown. There are a few different ways that this can happen:
- The most common cause of corrosion is when water with high levels of acidity flows through the pipes. This can happen if your municipality's water supply is high in dissolved minerals or if you have well water that contains high levels of iron.
- Another way that copper pipes can become corroded is from the inside out. This happens when aggressive water (water with a low pH) comes into contact with the metal.
- If you live in an area with hard water (water with high levels of calcium and magnesium), that can also lead to corrosion over time.
- In some cases, corrosion can also be caused by galvanic action, which occurs when two different metals come into contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte (such as water). This is one form of electrolysis.
In some cases, brown water may not be caused by corrosion at all. If you have well water, for example, it may contain high levels of iron or manganese, which can cause it to appear brown or rusty. Brown water can also be the result of sediment buildup in your pipes due to hard water or construction activity in your area.
If you're not sure what's causing your brown water, contact a professional plumber for an inspection and diagnosis. At Oak Plumbing, we’ve seen it all and are the leading plumbing experts in Benicia, CA! From drain clean services to leak detection, and even more, you can trust the experts at Oak Plumbing to address any plumbing issue, minor or severe. We are always offering special deals and coupons to our clients, so give us a call today or fill out our contact form.
Another possibility is that there could be a problem with your municipality's water supply. There are two main ways that municipal water supplies can become contaminated: through natural disasters and through human activity. Natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, can wash contaminants into the water supply. If there has been a lot of rain or flooding in your area, it's possible that debris and sediment have made their way into the water treatment plant and are now coming out of your taps. This usually isn't cause for alarm, but it's always best to check with your local water authority to be sure. Human activity, such as improperly disposing of hazardous waste, can also cause contamination.
When water is contaminated, it can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can make people sick. Symptoms of waterborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches. In severe cases, contaminated water can lead to death.
The best way to protect yourself from contaminated municipal water is to install a home filtration system. There are a variety of different types of filtration systems available on the market, so you'll need to do some research to find one that's right for your home. Once you have a filtration system in place, be sure to change the filters on a regular basis to ensure that your system is working correctly.
Contaminated Well Water
Finally, if you have well water, it's possible that your well itself could be contaminated. This is more serious than the other two possibilities as it can pose a health risk. If you suspect that your well might be contaminated, you should contact a professional immediately to have it tested and/or treated.
Contaminated well water is water that contains harmful bacteria, chemicals, or other substances. Wells can become contaminated by surface water that seeps into the well or through improper well construction or maintenance.
The only way to know for sure if your well water is contaminated is to have it tested by a certified lab. However, there are some signs that may indicate contamination, including:
- A sudden change in the taste, smell, or appearance of the water
- Stains on laundry or fixtures
- Health problems such as stomach pain, diarrhea, or skin rashes after coming into contact with the water
If your well water is contaminated, you should not drink it or use it for cooking. You should also take steps to fix the problem so that your water is safe to use. In some cases, this may mean drilling a new well. In others, it may be possible to treat the existing well water so that it meets safety standards.
Brown, cloudy water can be pretty alarming when you first see and smell it coming out of your faucet. Thankfully, there are a few different explanations for why this could be happening, and most of them aren't cause for concern. However, if you have any doubts about the safety of your water, always err on the side of caution and contact a professional for help. By taking these simple precautions, you can ensure that your family has access to clean, safe drinking water.
Oak Plumbing was established to bring masterful plumbing to our community. Our highest values are providing sterling customer service and keeping your family safe. That is why we only employ licensed and background-checked experts. Between our professional employees and our commitment to our customers, there's a very good reason why most of our customers give us five-star reviews. Contact us to find your trusted professional plumber and special offers today.