Causes And Significance Of Discolored Water


Discolored water might or might not represent a plumbing problem in your house. Multiple things can discolor your water problem, some more serious than others. Below are some of the potential reasons and significance of discolored domestic water.


Metal is a common material in water pipes and plumbing appliances. Examples include steel, copper, and cast iron. Old plumbing systems may contain metals that are uncommon today. Some metals corrode over time. Factors that determine corrosion level or rate include:

  • Age of plumbing
  • Water acidity
  • Water temperature
  • Water pressure

Corroded metal is relatively weaker than non-corroded metal. Thus, discoloration due to corrosion means you have a problem with your plumbing system. For example, corroded water pipes are more likely to burst or leak than other pipes. Get a plumber to evaluate your plumbing system and fix the situation if you suspect corrosion.

Sediment and Mineral Buildup

The municipal water supply contains some levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium minerals. The level of minerals varies by region. Some minerals crystalize and remain within the plumbing pipes and appliances whenever you use the water. Over time, some accumulated minerals may break off and discolor your water supply.

Discoloration due to mineral and sediment buildup is not just a cosmetic problem. For example, the accumulated debris narrows plumbing pipes, increasing pressure and the risk of burst pipes. In addition, accumulated minerals reduce water heater efficiency by insulating the water tank's bottom.


Some bacteria can also invade and discolor your water supply. For example, some bacteria feed on dissolved minerals or plumbing materials, producing slime that discolors the water. The bacteria deposits can also clog your plumbing pipes.

Fortunately, these bacteria rarely cause serious health problems. In addition, bacteria-related discoloration is rarely a problem with municipal water; the issue is more common with private water supplies, such as well water.

Supply Problems

Lastly, your water supply company can cause water discoloration in your house. You should suspect such a case if all the water fixtures (both hot and cold) in your house produce colored water. Most such cases resolve themselves within a day; contact your water company if the problem persists.

The above are common causes of water discoloration, but the list is not exhaustive. Note that plumbing maintenance can prevent many plumbing problems, including discoloration. Don't cook with or drink discolored water until you confirm the cause of discoloration. Contact a plumber for diagnosis and help if the problem is not supply-related. 


10 June 2022

Plumbing Has Transformed Our Lives

Think about how different your life would be without plumbing. To get water, you would have to walk outside and pull it up from a well. To use the bathroom, you would have to venture out to an outhouse, which would certainly not be pleasant in the winter. We really have to thank plumbers for the work that they do, since it allows us all to stay comfortable and do our business inside of our homes. Life has been transformed, in so many ways, by the plumbing profession. Join us in honoring plumbers by reading the articles on this website.