How to Get Rid of Rusty Water

Nathaniel Miller

Rusty water is an issue that most of us hope to never deal with in regards to our home. Water that has rust in it is a sure indication of one thing: somewhere in the plumbing system there is a piece of equipment that is wearing out and disintegrating.

The problem is that knowing the cause of the rust in your water does not always lead to a single solution. You may have a variety of possible fixes for your rusty water solution and learning how to discern the correct one is crucial to getting rid of the problem quickly, but not always cheaply.

  1. Replace the hot water tank if it is over 10 years old. Sometimes the bladders of a hot water tank will leak and begin making the interior of the tank rust. If this is the case then some of the rust particles could be turning up in your water when you turn the hot water on.

  2. Replace the plumbing throughout the house with new copper plumbing if any of it is galvanized piping. Galvanized pipes are known for being rust-prone and the insides of them could be disintegrating and turning the water brown. Have a professional plumbing service replace all of the piping throughout the house if this is suspected to be the problem.

  3. Install check valves at the intake of each boiler if your building is on a boiler system. Sometimes valves will either fail or will rust away, and the stagnant water from inside the boiler can leak into your water supply. This rust-tinged water could be causing your rusty water; however, the problem will clear up within a few days if new check valves are installed at each boiler.

  4. Install a water softener/iron filter. If you are on well water, there are numerous reasons--including high iron content, shift in the well's aquifer and "rust algae"--that your water could be rusty-looking coming from the well. Installing a system to filter the water as it comes into the house should prevent these problems.

  5. Tip

    Having a certified professional plumber assist in consulting you on your rusty water problem is recommended as diagnosis is difficult even with a trained eye. Each round of troubleshooting should get you closer to finding the culprit, however.