Why Did My Water Suddenly Turn Brown

Iron in NH Water - NH Tap

It’s not the best day when you turn on the faucet or jump in the shower and are met with some brown-tinted droplets! You may feel completely turned off from using your water. While we want to reassure you that it’s most likely safe to use for cleaning and bathing (it may be best not to drink or cook with it), there are some things to look for and ways to ensure the brown water goes back to normal as quickly as possible.

Why did my water suddenly turn brown?

First, let’s explore the reasons why your water turned brown.

  • The most common reason is that iron or rust was moved down the pipe due to construction, a surge in water flow from a hydrant, or a main break. Typically when the repair is made, or the extra water stops flowing, your water returns to normal. In this case, if your water returns to normal in a few hours, you should let it run for a few hours and then can return to drinking and bathing in it.
  • If you use well water or the water doesn’t clear in a few hours, you may have leaking plumbing which can be a hazard from bacteria to exposing your water to other contaminants. This issue should be checked by a licensed professional.

Ultimately, brown water is an inconvenience you will have to monitor and potentially deal with for a long-term fix. If you’re concerned about bacteria, only use bottled water for everything until the problem is addressed.

Is brown water dangerous?

Brown water isn’t always dangerous — sometimes, it’s purely cosmetic. But even then, the water tastes gross like metallics, can stain your ceramics and clothing, and will boost your iron supply, whether you need it or not. If you do have some staining from iron, you can clean it with dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar. But be sure you plan to fix the source.

If you live with well water, you may want to look into a whole-home filtration system for the contaminants in your water. After water testing, if it’s simply high levels of iron, you could use a water softener to solve the issue. If bacteria is a concern, there are UV water purification systems that directly target this potentially-deadly contaminant. If it’s PFAS, iron, and other hard metals, our NH Tap Absolute™ Well Water Filtration System will take care of it all.

Can I shower if my water is brown?

If your water is brown, you may be able to quickly shower with it, but be sure to not drink it or allow it to get into your mouth. You most likely would not want to bathe young children in the water since they have a more challenging time not consuming any of the water.

Is brown water safe to drink?

While you have brown water, we recommend bottled water for drinking and cooking. Once the water returns to normal and has flushed through the system for a few hours, you may return to drinking and cooking with your water like usual.

How do you fix brown water?

You can take a few steps to see if you can get your water back to normal without calling a plumber.

  1. Run the water on cold for 20 minutes. If the water color resolves, you can continue using your water as normal.
  2. If you’re on city water, check with your neighbors to see if they have the same problem. It may simply be an issue with other water lines mentioned above. You can call your city to check on the status of water quality.
  3. If the brown color is only coming from your hot water supply, it may be an issue with your water heater. If that’s the case, you’ll need your water heater checked and potentially replaced.
  4. If you’re on well water and have had a lot of rain, your water table may have changed, and you’ll need a filtration system to remove the iron.

If you’re on well water or the issue continues after a few hours, the problem can potentially be dangerous — seek professional plumbing help to determine the cause and what needs to be fixed to get your water back to normal. You will need a plumber to come out and check your water lines for corrosion or leaks — and then once they repair it, you can run a water test yourself or ask your NH Tap water specialist to check the water quality for you.

Well Water Filtration System

Our water purification systems are superior products because they were customized or chosen specifically to address NH water issues. Contact us today to see what’s in your water and how you can eliminate any future worry of “Why did my water suddenly turn brown?” or other water quality issues.

Schedule your iron in water test today.

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