Are you suddenly confronted with brown water from your tap? Not sure why it is happening and the threat it presents? Do not be too alarmed! Brown water is actually something that lots of people face and is likely not a threat however here is a take a look at what triggers it and what to do about it!

Reasons for brown water

It is possible over time for certain things to build up in your water, rust, sediment and minerals for instance and these can trigger the water to become discoloured and even brown. You might see brown water from cold tap use, and it could be caused by building near to the water main, or other disruptions. The most typical cause is pipes that have been just recently replaced or harmed either by leakage or burst pipes. As movement happens rust is removed and enters the house’s supply of water. In those cases, the water should clear up in a couple of hours. If it does not, you may desire to call in an expert to evaluate what is going on. It could be a case of you having actually a rusted pipeline that needs seeing to or an old hot water heater too.

Should we worry about brown water from the tap hurting us?

The brown is from too much iron in the water from the rust. That does not mean it is alright to guzzle the brown tap water.

Rusty water is a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and when corrosion and cracking take place that can also lead to other impurities like mildew and mould. A possible rusted pipeline is not something to ignore and could lead to bigger plumbing issues later on if not dealt with.

What to do about brown water from the tap

If you have brown water from a cold tap then you should leave your tap running for at least twenty minutes. Initially to see if it ultimately runs clear again. If you do this and you still have brown water then it is not a water supply problem from your council but your own perhaps.

Another quick tip, sometimes it takes a while for the water to reach certain taps within your home. If you go outside and find a tap that is closest to the water supply of your property. This should be the front of the house for most buildings. Run this tap, that is closest to the mains, for a few minutes. This should clear up faster than any water that is in your house as it is closest to the supply. You might have some spluttering or air pockets if a local council was doing work on the water supply, which could have caused the brown water. If this outside tap is running clear, when you go inside and run your inside taps, these should clear up very quickly.

It might not be just you

If you have brown water from a warm water tap then that could be an issue with your water heater. Scaling can occur in the hot water heater that then is up to the bottom and muddies up the water. Or there could be rusting taking place in the water heater that enters the water. Often this might be a sign that the hot water heater is getting close to the end of its life and may require replacing soon. If the brown water comes from the hot tap, call in a hot water system expert to check your water heating unit.

You could speak to your neighbours and see if they are having the same brown water. Then you can find the potential origin. Your neighbours could call in someone to check it out and fix the pipes in your neighbourhood. Still worried about the quality of the water? You should think about whether to add a water conditioner or install a water purification system to your taps if you are .

It is best to get in touch with your regional authority if you are still having brown water. They can inspect and come down to any water quality concerns you have. Look at some good advice on discoloured water found on your local government websites, like Queensland Urban Utilities.


Seeing brown water gushing out of a tap can be alarming but it isn’t always an indication of something terrible. Rust happens and with some flushing, your water can be back to being fine once again quite rapidly. You should still think about contacting a regional plumbing technician. Or contact someone with water supply proficiency so that you can be sure they know what they are talking about!