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What it Means When You Have Discolored Hot Water


Around the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz, we have enough water issues without having to put up with discolored hot water in our homes. If your water has taken on a strange color, there are ways to solve the problem.

Clean Up the Water Heater

If your water looks rusty, brown or yellow, the cause could be sediment in your water heater. Water entering the storage tank contains sand and minerals that gradually build up in the tank. Eventually, the buildup reaches the point where it breaks loose and flows out to your taps.

To prevent this, flush the water heater at least once a year. You may need to flush it more often if your groundwater is high in iron. Flushing a water heater involves opening the drain valve, letting all the water in the tank drain out, then refilling the tank. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it's probably time for a new water heater.

Less commonly, the bacteria Leptothrix is to blame for the discolored hot water. This bacteria lives on iron in the water and changes the water's color. While it isn't a health threat, it can quickly wear out your tank's sacrificial anode rod. Adding chlorine to the tank kills the bacteria.

Maintain the Pipes

When pipes deteriorate, they release minerals into the water. Corroded galvanized steel or iron pipes can turn the water a rusty or brown color, while deteriorating copper pipes can cause blueish-green water. Deteriorating pipes don't threaten your health, but they're a sign a pipe could break soon and should be replaced.

If you suspect your pipes are in poor condition, contact a plumber to inspect them. You can prevent problems with deteriorating pipes by scheduling a professional plumbing inspection every year.

Work being done on the municipal water system can also cause your water to change color, but this problem will pass quickly.

If you're dealing with discolored hot water, talk with us at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical anywhere in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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