Discolored Hot Water: What Does it Mean?
Discolored hot water is more than an aesthetic issue. Rusty or muddy appearance of the water usually indicates a developing problem somewhere in the system, though the actual issue may not be immediately obvious. You’ll probably need a qualified professional plumber to pinpoint the actual cause of discolored hot water and action to resolve it. However, you can perform some of the process of elimination yourself with these tips.
Is It Only Hot Water?
First, make sure it’s hot water alone that’s discolored. If cold water appears rusty or muddy, too, rust or corrosion may be affecting the main water supply line in your home. This is most likely to occur when the water line is galvanized steel and usually indicates that re-piping is called for. Have a plumber check it out.
Has the Tank Been Flushed Recently?
If the problem is specific to hot water only, flushing the water heater tank may remove accumulated mineral deposit sediment that is discoloring water. Accumulation of mineral deposits is most common in areas with hard water and tends to worsen as time goes by. If the water heater tank isn’t flushed out as part of regular maintenance, the sediment will harden and become impossible to remove, requiring replacement of the unit. For a trained plumber, flushing the water heater is a quick, straightforward procedure.
Don’t Ignore the Problem
If rusty hot water persists after other causes are eliminated, the likely reason is a corroded water heater tank. This requires inspection by a qualified plumber, but the problem must be resolved. If the tank is rusted, water heater replacement should be done promptly, before a total tank rupture occurs causing severe water damage.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.