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Brown Tap Water Fixes

If you find, to your dismay, that your taps are offering up brown tap water, it is easy to panic and fear the worst. A whole host of questions will flood your mind, yet there might be a simple explanation and solution, and Dr Leak is here to help you find it. Whether you have brown water and need a plumber in Melbourne or have leaking taps in Sydney, we're standing by to assist.

Generally speaking, the water provided by WaterNSW is of exceptional quality and seldom tainted or discoloured. If you are shocked to discover brown water from a tap, there are some questions to answer and steps to take. Some simple explanations include:

  • A faulty/damaged water heater
  • Disturbed debris and other matter in the mains, especially after heavy rainfall
  • Rust from old iron pipes
  • A leak somewhere in the system
  • Sediment dislodged by sudden high demand or from a burst main or pump
  • Organic materials like mould in the system
  • Faulty or opening/closing network valves
  • Maintenance work, repairs or new mains pipes
  • System flushing after repairs
  • Flow reversal
  • A substance being released into the system

Steps to take when experiencing dirty water from the tap

Run the taps on full—Let cold water flow freely through your system for a few minutes, then reassess. Has the colour changed? Is the flow the same strength as usual? If the tap water is brown even after as much as twenty minutes of full flow, the issue is most likely with your provider, and it's time to call them. If the brown water seems to clear, it is possible that your pipes are old iron and might need replacing.

What if the hot water is brown, but the cold is clear?

If the tap water is brown from the hot tap only, the chances are that your hot water system is the issue. Older systems are particularly prone to corrosion, eventually revealing themselves as rust that creates brown hot water. At this point, you need the services of capable, experienced professionals like those at Dr Leak to investigate further and recommend the next step. If the hot water is brown, it usually necessitates a hot water system repair, a replacement hot water tap, or a new system.

Speak to your neighbours.

Before angrily confronting your water company, it pays to be sure that they are the cause of the brown tap water and not something in your own system. Get the most extensive sample you can from your neighbourhood and only contact the authorities if everybody is experiencing the same issue.

Isolate and test each tap individually for brown water.

If you alone in your area are experiencing brown water from the tap, some further investigation is required. Go from room to room and check each tap to see if the problem is universal. If one tap seems particularly bad or is the only one affected by brown water, you can be almost sure that the adjoining pipe is corroded and needs attention. It’s time to call the professionals and have them handle the situation from that point onwards.

If in doubt, wait a while

If your investigations are inconclusive, you always have the option to wait a while and monitor the situation. The problem may be resolved without any further action required, but if you are still experiencing brown water coming out of the tap hours later or even the next day, it's time to seek help.

Is it safe to drink brown water

Although it is unlikely to be toxic, dirty water from the tap should be treated as such and not consumed. If the situation is dire and you cannot access drinking water in any other way, you can consider boiling brown water and consuming it, but this should be done as a last resort. If you must do this, pass the water through any filter jugs you have to remove oversized particles first. Next, be sure to bring the water to a rolling boil and maintain it for several minutes before letting it cool and passing it through the filter again. This process will kill most bacteria and viruses but will not de-contaminate the water if an outside substance has tainted it.


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