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By: Tyler Gatewood on September 17th, 2020

Why Is My Tap Water Brown?

It can be alarming to discover that the water you have been drinking and bathing in has turned brown. You may question as to whether it has always been this color or if it is a recent development. You may also question why this has happened and what you can do to fix or prevent it.

These are all great questions, and we at Exell want to make sure that we answer them for you, as well as provide you with a solution to guarantee that your water will maintain its integrity from now on.

There are several situations that can cause a brownish hue to your tap water, some of which include:


  1.     Your home’s water lines are corroding
  2.     Pressure changes in municipal water lines
  3.     You are going through a drought

Water lines are corroding

If your home was built before the 1970s, there is a good chance that they were plumbed with galvanized steel water lines. The older these water lines get, the more likely they are to rust, causing a brownish tint to your water as it comes out of your faucet. A great way to determine if this is the problem is if it only occurs in one faucet or if the water runs clear after a minute or two of being turned on.

Another way to determine whether your home has galvanized plumbing is by finding its entry point into your home and scratching the pipe. If it is galvanized, the area that is scratched will look threaded and have a silver-gray color.

What can you do about it?

Unfortunately, there is not a partial solution for eliminating rust in your water due to galvanized plumbing, and your galvanized plumbing and lead service lines will need to be fully replaced. In the meantime, you can install a point-of-use reverse-osmosis or microfiltration system to ensure that your drinking water is clean and safe.

Pressure changes in municipal water lines

There are several factors that can affect your municipal water line pressure, some of which include water mains breaking or routine maintenance. A disruption in pressure can cause a stir in the rust particles and sediment that coat your municipal water lines, causing that brownish tint when you turn on your faucet. If you notice a sudden change in all of your faucets, chances are it is caused by a change in water pressure.

The good news is that this problem generally clears up within the same day; however, it can take several days for your water to return to normal. If you find yourself in this situation, it is recommended to avoid using hot water if possible, which keeps the discolored water clear of your water heater.

What can you do about it?

If your city is notorious for water issues, it might be worth it to install a filtration and purification system into your home. It is important to do your research, or to contact an expert, in this situation so that you can make the best decision when it comes to which filtration system you choose.

 If you are concerned about the permanency of installing a filtration system, another service that Exell offers is bottled water cooler systems. This is a standalone cooler that requires no installation, and comes at a very reasonable price

Your city is going through a drought

If you are going through a drought, water becomes a commodity. Since many cities draw their water from sources such as rivers and streams, the shortage of water mixed with the sediment from the river bottom may cause a murky, brownish tint to your tap water.

What can you do about it?

If this is a common problem in your area, it might be worth it to look into installing a filtration or purification system, which can be added to existing lines or can function as a standalone system.

Other things to consider

If you are concerned about the color of your water, your first step should be to check with your local municipal water department to see if there are any water advisories active. This will help you to determine whether or not your water is safe for consumption, or even daily use.

If you are still concerned, it is strongly advised to have a site survey done. This is a complimentary service that we proudly offer at Exell, where your water is tested with a TDS meter, giving you the total dissolved solids in your water supply.

Once it has been determined that your water is safe for consumption, our goal is to provide you with the freshest and safest option for your family. If you would like a consultation, please contact Exell, and a member of our team will happily discuss with you all of the options we have to offer.