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Why Is Dirty Water Coming Out of My Faucets?


Murky or rust-colored water pouring out of your faucets can be an alarming sight. After all, the last thing anyone wants on their hands is a major plumbing issue. The good news is that while dirty water sometimes points to a problem with your pipes or water heater, it doesn’t always mean there’s an issue you need to solve.


Below are the four most common reasons why tap water becomes dirty in homes.

1. Municipal Plumbing Maintenance

Your town’s local plumbing system needs periodic maintenance. During the maintenance, the city water lines experience a lot of big changes in water pressure. Those changes can dislodge and shake up particles (like rust and sediment) that have settled into the water pipe walls over time. Consequently, when you turn on your faucet, you might notice it “spitting” out dirty water before eventually regaining a normal water flow and clear, clean appearance.

This problem is unsettling and inconvenient, but on the bright side, it should go away on its own within a few hours. While no plumbing repairs are necessary, you may want to consider upgrading your home with a water filtration system, just to be sure that you aren’t drinking any unwanted particles.

2. Broken Water Line

Your main water line lets water travel from the city’s water lines to your home. While sturdy, water lines can eventually leak or break due to circumstances such as:

  • Old age
  • Underground movements
  • Invasive or uprooted tree roots
  • Human error during digging and excavation

The earth around your pipes also can shift and move due to moisture and temperature changes during extreme weather, allowing the pipes to sag and eventually leak.

When a water line breaks, dirt enters the pipe and results in a murky, unsafe water supply to your home. If fertilizer and animal droppings are in your soil, those things will enter your water supply as well. If you suspect your home has a broken water line, it’s important to involve a plumber as quickly as possible.

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3. Old Galvanized Steel Pipes

Many homes built prior to the 1960s were equipped with galvanized steel pipes. By now, most of those pipes have lost the zinc coating that protected them from corroding, so, unfortunately, many galvanized steel pipes have a lot of rust inside them

When the rust problem gets bad enough, little flakes will enter your home’s water supply and give it an orange or red hue. The best solution is to replace your pipes with a new material that’s less prone to corrosion.

4. Corrosion In the Water Heater

The biggest clue that this is your problem is that only your hot water is dirty. Your tank water heater is equipped with a sacrificial anode rod to prevent rust inside the tank. However, if the rod is not replaced before it wears out (every 3-5 years), your water heater can begin to rust, and that rust can enter your water supply.

At Stuart Services, our New Orleans plumbers are dedicated to helping you find a quality solution to your home’s plumbing problems. Give us a call at 504-321-2079 or contact us onlineto ask about special offers and financing!