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It’s the last thing you need or expected – desperately thirsty after a workout, you take a glass from the cupboard and pour out a refreshing glass of … WHAT!? Why is there brown water coming from the tap?!

Day after day, we rely on the fact that the wet stuff that comes from the tap will be crisp, clear, clean and healthy – so what’s going on? Brown, cloudy, yellow, murky or otherwise discoloured water certainly seems like a great reason to call a plumber right now!

Brown water from the tap – What’s the deal?

For a start, don’t panic – because there is a range of things that could have gone wrong, and very few of them are reasons to stay awake at night. Because rest assured: the water quality in Melbourne is actually very good, and discolouration – while it does happen occasionally – is pretty rare and usually not dangerous.

Is brown tap water still safe for drinking?

If you do have dirty tap water, don’t leap to any conclusions about it either being a terrible health-hazard or representing a serious plumbing issue. If the brown water from tap outlets at your place is caused by rust, then it’s not poisonous or toxic – but you should still refrain from drinking it just to be on the safe side and then get the problem solved urgently.

What’s causing your dirty drinking water?

As we suggested, there is a range of things apart from rusty pipes that could result in brown water from tap outlets around your home:

  • Disturbed sediment from high demand or, burst pipes or water mains
  • Repairs or upgrades to the mains
  • Reverse flow
  • Nearby use of a fire hydrant
  • A faulty network valve or water meter.

So before you start either gulping that yellow tap water or calling on tap repair services, let’s do some detective work to try and diagnose your particular problem.

1. Is the brown water from the cold tap or hot tap?

If the only brown or otherwise discoloured water is coming out of the hot taps around your home, you’ve probably isolated the problem to your hot water system. If your unit is out of warranty, it’s probably corroded and you need a hot water system replacement.

2. Your pipes, or the mains pipes?

If the brown tap water is coming from your cold taps, you’ll need to determine whether the problem is with your pipes, or with the mains pipes outside your property. A clear sign of a problem with your pipes – probably rusting – is that the dirty tap water will clear up after running the tap for a while.

3. Does the brown water coming from the tap taste strange?

First: we don’t recommend you start glugging away at obviously dirty drinking water simply to test it. But if you have noticed your water tasting ‘off’, what you’re tasting is probably rust from your pipes. This rusting can also cause low water pressure.

4. Have you asked the neighbours?

Pop next door and ask the neighbours if they’re having a similar problem. If they are not, it’s a clear sign that the issue is isolated to your home. In this case, dash around your home – including the garden – and see if the brown tap water comes out of all of the taps or just one or some. It’s invaluable information for your plumber.

5. Have you waited?

When you first spot that brown water from tap outlets, don’t jump to any conclusions. Often, the problem will clear up without any further action after a few hours or even a few days.

6. Is it time to report the problem?

If you suspect the problem is with the mains water supply that your entire street and community shares, consider reporting the brown water to your local authorities.

The plumbing experts at Ezy-Plumb can also help with advice and top-notch plumbing services to help solve your dirty drinking water problem – all with no call-out fee and $55 off if you call us today.