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Question DetailsAsked on 4/8/2015

Why would I have brown cold water but clear hot water coming from all faucets in the house?

90 year old house with combination of piping.

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1 Answer


Below are links to some prior similar questions with answers - though normally the hot is the first one to build sludge like that - unless the hot is on the protected side of a filter or water treatment system but the cold is not. However, in some areas with very high manganese or magnesium-based mineral content water from certain chemistry limestone, chalk or dolomite bedrock sometimes the heat in the hot pipes prevents precipitation but the water "hardness" (mineralization) will precipitate in the cold lines.

Generally, chemical flushing of the lines and installing a water treatment system is the only permanent solution - or sometimes drilling to a different aquifer if on a well system.

If on public water and this is brand new, check if neighbors are having same problem - could be there was a leak or maintenance on main water lines that broke free some builtup sedimentation that is coming through.

Other possibility - if you can, check incoming water to see if dirty, and run some into a bucket to see if it settles out pretty quick. If a sediment it may be dropping out in the water tank, resulting in fairly clean hot water (at least during initial hot water use until a lot of incoming dirty cold water gets mixed up with it). If that is the case, you probably need to find the incoming source, and also thoroughly flush out your hot water tank to remove the sediment.

Another possibility related to the mixture of piping - if you have copper or brass adjacent to iron or steel pipes but only on the cold side (maybe hot all got replaced), could be dielectric corrosion eating up the pipes. Or if there are sections of metal pipe isolated from ground by plastic, could be localized corrosion in the metal sections because they are not grounded properly.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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