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Why Is Your Tap Water Dirty?

Filling a Glass of Water From a Tap
Your home's tap water is typically crystal clear, but you may have noticed the water has a slight reddish tinge to it. Or, the water appears clear but you're noticing dirty rings left around your tub basin after bathing or small pebbles in the bottom of the sink after doing dishes.
While your tap water should always be safe to drink, the water may sometimes not be as clear as it normally should be. Here are reasons why your tap water is dirty and what you should do about it.
Older Pipes
Metal pipes, including steel, iron, and copper pipes, used in plumbing corrode with age and wear over time. The sediment you see in your water, especially if you notice what appear to be small flecks of metal or rusty bits of debris, may be caused by older plumbing in the home.
Your plumber will assess the condition of your home's pipes by testing your tap water. Water in some areas of the home may appear dirtier than others, depending on where older pipes are corroding, so the plumber will check your whole system and send a lighted snake through your home's sewer system to identify your water contamination problem. Replacing metal pipes with PVC or other modern plumbing piping can help improve your water's quality.
Temperature Changes
Does your tap water come out cloudy at first, then turn clear? If so, air bubbles trapped in your home's plumbing may be to blame. The most common cause of air bubbles in tap water is temperature change, which makes water pressure increase. You'll notice cloudy drinking water more often during colder seasons. If you still have concerns or notice debris in your water in addition to air bubbles, call your plumber to evaluate your home's plumbing system.
Water Heater Issues
Try this test: alternate turning your hot and cold water on and see if water clarity changes with the temperature of the liquid. If only your hot water appears to be rusty or yellow in appearance, your water heater may be to blame.
When your water heater has sediment in its tank or is beginning to rust or corrode, the hot water supply will be affected. Because the average water heater only lasts around 10 to 15 years, your water heater may need to be replaced.
Have your plumber drain and fill your water heater to remove any existing sediment that may be contaminating your tap water supply. This should be done regularly as part of your appliance's upkeep
Main Water Break
A main line break in your home's plumbing system can cause discoloration of your tap water supply. You'll also notice a decrease in water pressure if this is the case.
Because a main break is a serious plumbing concern and can flood your entire home, turn your water's main off to stop the flow of water and call for emergency plumbing services. Once the main break has been repaired, your water supply should return to its normal clear color.
Sometimes discolored water has an odd or metallic taste to it. While this may make your water less enticing to drink, small amounts of rust and sediment in otherwise clean drinking water is not a health concern. If your water supply smells like it has gas in it or smells like rotten eggs, a gas line or other break may have occurred. Discontinue use of all your home's taps and call for emergency services.
Identifying what is causing your home's water supply to be dirty is the first step to repairing this common plumbing issue. Call us at Ernie's Plumbing & Sewer Service for your residential plumbing needs