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Question DetailsAsked on 6/22/2015

I have brown water in my bathroom sink, toilet and shower - Should I call a plumber immediately?

The brown water is only in my bathroom. The kitchen sink has clear water coming from it. When I open the toilet tank, it is completely brown also.

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Check if coming from hot or cold water only - that could narrow down the cause. (Remember toilet may receive both hot and cold water if it has a tempering mixing valve to prevent condensation on the tank - incoming water will be warm, not cold, if you do). If dirty hot water only, then if bathroom is served by a different water heater than the kitchen or any other place not having brown water, could be that water heater needs flushing, or some scale inside fell to the bottom and muddied the water, or inside could be rusting through and a bunch of rusty scale fell off the tank top or wall to the bottom and muddied it up - which would be a sign heater has reached its life.

If all on same water heater and both hot and cold are brown, or only one or the other is brown in the bathroom, might be a pipe with heavy rusting or iron bacteria buildup or sediment got knocked and loosened up a bunch of buildup, in which case flushing it out would clean it up (till the next time).

If you have a faucet or drain valve near where the water comes into the house, run water there FIRST - if dirty after a minute or so flow, then incoming water is dirty - from utility source, or possibly a corroding feed pipe to your house - or if on well, well is producing sediment or iron bacteria or pressure tank is corroding out - you might be able to track that by (if you know how) checking water at pump drain valve and at pressure tank drain valve. 

Try flushing all pipes for about 5 minutes - if goes clear, then was probably buildup in the pipes that came loose. Run kitchen sink too - may only be clear there because dirty water has not reached there in the pipes yet from where it originated. If kitchen water never runs dirty (assuming dirty water might not have been flushed out without noticing it by washer or dishwasher), then source is separate water heater serving only the bathroom, or corrosion/buildup in a pipe leading to the bathroom only.

One other possibility is water softener (if you have one) failed in its backflush cycle valve and dumped the backflush water into the system rather than into the sewer.

You could also call a neighbor to ask if they have dirty water, if you are on public water. Could be some maintenance was done on pipes in street that dirtied the water - in which case run water for 5-10 minutes in all locations (including dish and clothes washers) to flush the dirt out of the lines.

If not up to the above DIY diagnosis or can't figure out where it is coming from, then call a plumber, and I would not drink the water until source is found.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Yes I had a water heater out in and they turn the water off from outside

Answered 3 years ago by Mrsnhmoore

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