A Guide to Removing Rust on Drinking Water

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If you notice that your drinking water has turned brown and has a somewhat of a metallic taste, then it’s likely that the water pipes in your home are rusted or corroding. Fixing the issue can be particularly difficult, especially for homeowners with little to no experience in regards to plumbing. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. This guide will cover the important details of how to remove rust on drinking water so read on and find out.

Identifying the problem

The first thing you need to know is whether the rusted pipes are connected to the water mains or just part of your residential plumbing. To do this, simply open an outside tap. If water is rusty, the problem is likely with the mains, and you’ll need to contact your water supplier to fix the problem from the source.

However, if the water from the outside tap is clear, but water coming from inside your house’s tap is rusty, then the issue might be with your home plumbing. The pipes in your home will need to be flushed, treated, or repaired by a qualified plumber. In some cases, rusty water may only appear from a specific hot water tap that runs clear after a short period. If you’re experiencing this problem, it’s best to contact your local plumber for further investigation.

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Reasons for having rust in water

Rust is a flaky coating that appears reddish or brown in colour which can form on iron or steel. This happens when the iron reacts with moisture and oxygen. Considering that most water pipes are made of up of cast iron, rust can potentially form anywhere in your water supply. Rust build-up can cause problems such as pipe blockages or disintegrating into your supply which causes your drinking water to have that metallic taste. Depending on how much rust has formed, your tap water may appear yellow, orange, or brown in colour.

Yellow tap water is a combination of iron and oxygen which is an indicates of small amounts of rust. Orange, red and brown tap water mean larger combinations of iron, thus forming more rust and contributing to that darker colour. Brown tap water can also be caused by sulphur dioxide and hot water mixing together in water pipes.

The cause of rust in the water pipes can make its way into your tap in several ways, some of which are:

  • Raging galvanised pipes.
  • Deteriorating residential pipes, which can rust from both the interior and exterior.
  • A build-up of sediments in your water heater, which is used to heat water above its initial temperature.

How to remove rust from drinking water

There are several ways you can address rusty water coming from your tap. Depending on the extent of the rust, you’ll have to tackle the issue a bit differently to remove it from your water and eventually, your pipes. A certified plumber should be able to diagnose the root cause. Alternatively, you can follow these steps to eliminate rust in your water supply if you feel confident doing it by yourself.

Corroding pipes not only affect the quality of the water on your tap, but it can also cause leaks and high maintenance costs down the line. Like we’ve previously mentioned, it is important to first distinguish whether the rust is originating from the water mains or from your residential plumbing.

To do this, run an outside tap to fill a clean cup or bucket and look for any signs of rust. If there are rust particles in the water or the water is discoloured, it is likely that the problem has originated from the water mains, which is beyond your residential plumbing. However, if the water is clear, your residential plumbing may need to be flushed, treated, repaired or replaced. Inside your home, if the rust appears when you run hot water taps or clears after a short period, it is advisable to contact a certified plumber or water expert to find out about water filter devices and request further investigation.

It is important to note that water pipes with an excessive amount of rust can choke, resulting in poorer water pressure. Replace your old pipes with new copper or plastic pipes.

A sudden influx of rusty water can suggest a pipe in the water mains requires attention, a disturbance has changed water flow or a fire hydrant is in use. It is likely that you will be required to not use the water until the problem has been cleared. Should the problem persist after 24-hours, contact your water supplier or speak with the leading plumbers in Perth who will be able to assist you.

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