Three Reasons Your Water is Discolored
You go to pour yourself an innocent drink of water, when all of a sudden your water turns strange colors. Don’t hit that panic button just yet – although discolored water can sometimes mean problems with your plumbing or the water heater in your San Mateo home, and the water may or may not be safe to drink, not all discolored water is cause for alarm.
Cloudy Water on Hot Side Only Could Mean A Bad Water Heater
If your hot water comes out cloudy, but your cold water comes out clear, that could be an indication that your hot water heater is going bad. Though this usually occurs only with water heaters that have been in service for a while (your typical water heater, if well maintained, will last anywhere between ten and fifteen years), even newer heaters can leave a cloudy residue in your water. If your water heater is old, have it checked for signs of impending failure.
Brown Water Could Mean Bacteria, Magnesium or Rust Deposits In Your Plumbing
Brown water, while unsightly, usually isn’t very harmful (but it sure will leave a nasty taste in your mouth.) If you have metal pipes in your home, the metal tends to corrode over time, leaving rust deposits.
As the water travels through the pipes, it tends to come out looking dark brown. There are also three different types of bacteria (Crenothrix, Leptothrix cholodnii, and Gallionella Ferruginea) that consume iron deposits found in your water.
These types of bacteria are commonly found in the Earth’s soil, but they can thrive wherever there is an iron content of 0.2ppm or better, as this provides an ample supply of food for the bacteria to grow. The brown color of the water is caused by a chemical change in the water that is caused by the bacterium’s natural feeding process.
These types of bacteria are perfectly harmless to humans, although it’s always best to err on the side of caution, and avoid drinking the water. You may need to change the anode rods in your water heater or storage tank, as the bacteria’s feeding process eventually causes anode failure.
Water Discoloration Can Also Be Caused by Malevolent Bacteria
If your water appears almost grayish with a hint of rotten egg smell as it comes out of your faucet, have it checked immediately, and do not drink the water. Your sewage line may be backing into another part of your house. This type of problem is more common in older homes, but can occur in newer homes as well (although this is rare.)
It should be noted that a rotten egg smell can also be caused by the feeding processes of certain types of bacteria that are attracted to organic matter in your pipes. A good way to make certain is to put a sample of the water in a glass, take it to another room and smell it. If it still smells, it’s probably a safe bet that sewage has somehow entered that line, and you need to get a San Mateo plumber to your house as soon as possible.
If your water is discolored in your San Mateo, CA home, call James Caccia Plumbing at (650) 376-6800 today, and we’ll solve the problem for you!