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Question DetailsAsked on 4/15/2017

can gas water heater rust and cause the water to be brown

can gas water heater rust and cause water to be brown looking?

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1 Answer


Yes regardless of gas or electric or oil fired or whatever, if you have not been draining it every year to remove the sediment - or if getting older and starting to rust internally because the anodes are gone.

Here are a couple previous similar questions with answers which might help -

If not an older unit and not sure if rust is coming from pipes or water heater, if only brown when running hot water (not cold), you can drain out the water heater to remove all the discoloration/rust in it (water running clear), then flush out the hot pipes after water heater is refilled, let sit for several hours without using any hot water (including flushing toilets if you have tempered water to the tanks), then drain another gallon or two from the tank - if brown/rusty but cold water is clear, likely from the water heater and it is likely near its end of life. If pretty clean (may be bits of rust or brown but not generally brown-looking water), but brownish when you run hot faucets, then likely iron or manganese algae or rust in the pipes - would have to open a couple up to look inside to see if you have a corrosion or algae farm in your pipes (sometimes in hot and cold, with algae or mineral deposits sometimes only in hot because does not form as fast in cold water in many cases).

Plumbing is of course your Search the List category for a pro to look at this - but if your water heater is at or beyond its stated life likely that is the issue - commonly $1000-1400 to replace a standard tank-type water heater these days, more like $1500-2000 for over 55 gallon size or combined domestic water/hydronic system holding tank.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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