The water used in flushing the toilet in a typical home comes from the same line that supplies water for the rest of the household’s needs.
Therefore, if there is an issue with the toilet’s water supply, it is reasonable to assume that other plumbing components will also fail. It’s not always the case, though. That’s why the water in the toilet bowl could be a murky brown or even greenish, while the water in the sink or shower is clear. Why, though, does your toilet have brown water?
Rusted galvanized pipes, an accumulation of sediments in the tank, or work done by the city’s water department to upgrade or replace the water distribution system can all lead to toilets that flush brown water. In addition, a broken well or a dripping pipe could be to blame.
Dissolved rust is what gives your toilet bowl that brownish color. Rust flakes from rusted pipes fall to the toilet tank floor due to water pressure. When you flush the toilet, the water will be dark brown since the rust has dissolved.
A few flushes and a good tank cleaning should eliminate any brown water in the toilet. Hiring a plumber allows you to have your water lines hydro-jacked, inspect your well, and replace any outdated galvanized pipes with copper or PVC. A water softener can be installed to ensure this issue doesn’t arise again.
Damage to a well can release organic materials or debris into the water supply. There is evidence of galvanized steel pipe corrosion if brown water is in the sink and the toilet tank. It’s also possible that hydrants are being tested or the local water department is flushing pipes.
After a trip, the minerals in your water may have collected at the bottom of your toilet tank, giving it a brownish color. In addition, the brownish color of the water in the pipes results from the rust that the water has dissolved.
Iron and other hard water minerals cause toilet water to become brown after being left in the tank for a while. Water discoloration can also be caused by rust and corrosion flaking off old galvanized pipes.
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Fixing brown toilet water
In some instances, the cause of the brown water in the toilet can be easily remedied. This is especially true if the issue is limited to the toilet tank.
The following methods can eliminate brown toilet water:
Empty and clean the toilet tank.
Water from the pipe is not used directly in a toilet; instead, it is temporarily kept in the tank. When water sits in a tank for an extended time, the dissolved minerals can fall to the tank’s base and form a layer of sediment.
Flushing the toilet stirs up the sediment, which dissolves into the water and gives the bowl its characteristic brown color. Cleaning the tank is the easy answer to this issue. In this manner, the sediment can be flushed out of the tank, guaranteeing that the water inside is clean.
For a thorough tank cleaning, follow these steps:
- Several times, flush the toilet. As much sediment as possible will be washed away with this method.
- If you’re finished flushing the toilet, turn off the water supply.
- If there is any water remaining in the tank, soak it up with a sponge.
- Put some vinegar in the toilet tank. Give the vinegar at least 6 hours. Vinegar will absorb all minerals, including those damaging the tank’s wall.
- Get rid of the vinegar with a thorough flush.
- You can use regular dish soap to clean the tank and a long-handled brush to get into all the corners.
- While the tank lid is still off, reconnect the toilet’s water supply. Check to see if the water coming in is brown or clear. If it’s not murky, then the issue is over. If the water remains brown, the issue is likely located in the pipes or the water supply.
Contact The Water Department
Water utility companies periodically clean away the sediment, which, as you expected, ends up in homes due to collection in water tanks and pipes. During hydrant testing and flushing, sediment can be blown through the city water lines and into people’s homes.
If the supply lines spring a leak or require any maintenance, the unclean water in the pipes will flow back toward residences, giving the water its unattractive brown color.
You can call your local water agency and ask if any of the above is happening. They may suggest turning on your faucets and letting the water run for at least 10 minutes or until it becomes clear.
Find out if there are any leaks.
You have a connection to the city’s water main, conveniently located outside your home. The term “service line” describes the water pipe running from the sidewalk to your home. In many places, the service line is built of galvanized steel, which eventually rusts and develops leaks.
You may be unaware that sediment builds up over time at the water pipe’s base. Deposits of corrosion, soil, and minerals are typical sediment components. Whenever a pipe begins to leak, it disturbs the sediment layer below it, allowing particles to dissolve in the water and eventually make their way indoors. Possibly that’s what’s causing the toilet tank water to be a dark brown color.
After a storm, a leaky pipe is a major source of contaminated water entering the water distribution system. Locate your water meter to check for leaking pipes. The water meter, covered by concrete or steel, will be installed close to the street or sidewalk. Make sure your home doesn’t have any running fixtures. No water should be used inside the house at any point throughout the test.
Find the meter’s leak detection once the cover has been removed. A motionless leak detector means there is no leak. It resembles a gear or little triangle. Leaks cause this device to rotate. If a pipe in your home is leaking, you should call a plumber to locate the source of the problem and repair it.
Install New Pipes
Corroded pipes are the primary cause of brown water in plumbing fixtures-zinc-protected old galvanized steel pipes.
Eventually, the zinc coating peels away, leaving the iron to form iron oxide, often known as rust. Water pressure drops as rust builds up inside pipes, which limits water flow. Brown water can be seen pouring out of faucets and showerheads after some time, caused by rust flaking off due to the water pressure.
Shower heads, dishwashers, washing machines, toilet fill valves, and faucet aerators can all become clogged with rust, leading to either the early failure of the equipment or a decrease in water pressure.
If brown water is a problem in your home’s toilets and other fixtures and you have galvanized steel pipes, it’s probably better to replace them.
Perhaps the toilet’s water supply pipe is leaking if the issue is limited to the toilet. Whether you want to replace all the pipes or just one is up to you. Remember that a rusty pipe’s integrity means it will leak eventually. Copper and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes are common substitutes for galvanized pipes.
Hydrojet your water pipes.
Brown water in plumbing fixtures can also be cleaned with hydro jetting. Pipes are not something that must be constantly replaced. Even if your pipes are copper or plastic, you might still see brown water, especially if your home has hard water. Water will turn a murky brown as iron deposits accumulate in the pipes. The rust in the city’s water pipes will settle and create a layer of sediment.
Hydro jetting uses highly pressurized water to clear pipes of obstructions and other debris. However, before starting hydro jetting, the plumber will inspect your pipes to see whether or not they can withstand the high pressure.
They only proceed with hydro jetting if they have verified the pipes are strong enough to handle the pressure. If the pipes can’t handle the pressure, it’s time to get new ones.
Check your well.
The well itself may have been compromised if you rely on water drawn from a well. It’s common due to renovations, landscaping, lousy weather, or even earthquakes. The brownish color of the water from your toilet and other taps results from dissolved organic waste and filth in the water supply being brought to your home.
Wells cannot be repaired by homeowners, handymen, or regular plumbers. Hire an expert in the field to look at the situation and advise you on how to fix it.
Water softener installation
If you reside in a region where the water is hard, you should get a water softener if you don’t already have one. Water softeners use an ion exchange process to filter out harmful minerals like calcium, iron, and manganese from the water supply.
Putting in a water softener will also protect your plumbing from rust and scale buildup and keep your sinks, bathtubs, and showers looking brand new. Iron and manganese are the main culprits in staining plumbing fittings from hard water. Whether your water comes from a well or the municipal supply, you can benefit from installing a water softener. While these systems can be costly to set up, they are simple and inexpensive to maintain.