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Discolored Hot Water: Here’s What it Means

What Does Discolored Hot Water Mean?Have you ever experienced a flow of discolored hot water streaming from your faucet? Don’t be alarmed just yet. There are a couple of possible reasons why discolored hot water occurs, and understanding how to identify the cause can help you clear up the issue.
Your first step is to check your hot water heater’s age. Even a water heater that’s only a few years old can still spew out discolored water without it meaning that the unit is ready for replacement just yet.

Reasons for Discolored Hot Water

  • Public water supply disturbances — You may experience occasional water discoloration if fine sediment in the mains gets stirred up by hydrant use, maintenance, water main breaks or construction. Disturbed sediment will usually settle and clear up within a few hours on its own. To rid any remaining sediments, allow your faucets to run for a few minutes.
  • Mineral sediment in the water heater — When water is heated over time, calcium and magnesium (which are naturally-occurring minerals) form into scale particles that accumulate in your water heater tank. A severe buildup like this not only discolors the hot water coming out of your faucet, it can also reduce heating efficiency and eventually break down. Schedule annual maintenance of your water heater to prevent problems in the future.
  • Corrosion in pipes — If you notice an orange or rust-colored water when you use both the hot and cold faucets, corrosion in your steel water pipes could be to blame. Galvanized pipes are protected on the outside by a zinc coating, which means that they end up deteriorating from the inner walls of the pipes. Don’t wait until it’s too late; before leaks occur, get your home’s water lines inspected by a professional plumber from Brown’s.
  • Old hot water heater— If your cold water supply is crystal clear, but the flow of hot water has a brownish or rusty color to it, the problem may be because of your water heater. If it is more than 10 years old and notice a discharge of colored water, it has probably reached the end of its life. Take a look at the exterior of your tank. If you notice rust, there’s also likely significant corrosion inside as well. DIY efforts won’t resolve this problem. All signs now point to replacing your tank before it fails for good.

Discolored Hot Water Solutions

One of the solutions for the discolored hot water (not including a rusty tank that needs replacement), is to drain and flush the tank thoroughly through the drain valve. If a replacement is required, contact us at Brown’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing for an inspection today.
To make life easier for you, purchase a service contract with Brown’s Heating & Cooling so that you can schedule regular maintenance to ensure that everything is running smoothly all year long.