My Water is Discolored – What’s Wrong?

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My Water is Discolored – What’s Wrong?

It’s unsettling to turn on your faucet and see anything but crystal clear water coming out. More often than not the problem is simple: your pipes have gotten a little rusty or some sediment has built up, and now everything is flushing out… But there are times when the problem is far more serious. If you find yourself asking, “What’s wrong with my water?” allow us to break it down for you.

Why isn’t my water clear?

Different discolorations mean different things. For example:

  • Yellow/Brown: Yellowish brown water indicates the presence of organic material. The organic material could be harmless bacteria, or it could be sewage.
  • Blue/Green: You likely have copper pipes that need replacing. You’ll want to be sure to take care of this immediately because drinking blue/green water means you’re ingesting copper, and ingesting too much copper can be very bad for your health.
  • Pink: Pink water is caused by the presence of potassium permanganate, a chemical added to treat your water. Potassium permanganate is not dangerous to ingest.
  • Black: If your water comes out both black and odorless, it’s likely because due to the presence of manganese. If your water comes out black and has an odor to it, sewage may be leaking into your water.
  • Red/Brown: If your water is looking a little rusty it’s because your water is, in fact, a little rusty. Slightly rusty water is not detrimental to your health, but can be bad for your sinks, tubs, or clothing as it leaves behind stains that need to be treated with rust remover.
  • White: If your water comes out looking a little more like milk, your problem isn’t really a problem at all! The white is just a buildup of tiny air bubbles which should rise to the top of your glass, pop, and leave your water looking normal in just a minute or two. These bubbles occur when the water temperature varies significantly from your room temperature (when the seasons change, for example).

How can I get my water back to normal?

More often than not, theres a simple solution for discolored water. To clear things up, just run as many of your faucets as you can with cold water on the highest pressure; this should flush out your pipes in minutes! If the water doesn’t start to clear turn it off, wait an hour, then try again. And as a pro tip, you should know that if only one of your faucets is producing discolored water (just the sink in your bathroom, for example), the problem is with that pipe specifically and your water will return to normal once the pipe is replaced.

If your water does not clear up or if you suspect that sewage is contaminating your water, call a plumber immediately. We here at Corley are available to help you 24/7 for any emergency plumbing situations that arise. By signing up for our Service Partner Plan, we can even help you catch any small plumbing (or electrical or heating & air) problems before they turn into emergencies. Give us a call at (864) 661-2811 or contact us online and we we’ll help you diagnose and fix your problem whether it’s as simple as flushing away sediment, or as complex as replacing a pipe!