General Question

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

What could cause brown shower water?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11979points) December 17th, 2018

It only happens when it first turns on and not every single time. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s hot or cold water. It’s lightly colored like a light rust color. We have well water.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

notnotnotnot's avatar

Sediment in your water heater? Have you flushed it recently?

Jeruba's avatar

Rust in the pipes? in the faucet?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@notnotnotnot Just bought the house last month so I’m not sure when it was last flushed.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@notnotnotnot But it only does it in the shower, no other faucets. If it was the water heater, wouldn’t it be happening from all of them?

seawulf575's avatar

Build up of corrosion in the pipes, most likely. The well water probably has a high iron content and when water sits in the pipes it settles out. When you turn on a tap, all that corrosion gets washed out to the faucet. After the built up corrosion is washed out, the water probably starts running clearer, though it probably still has iron in it. A couple things: Have you seen iron stains on tubs, toilets, or sinks? If so, that confirms you have iron in your well water. You could also take a sample of water (that seems clear) and put it into a clear glass jar. Seal it and let it sit for an hour or so. See if there is sediment on the bottom. If there is, see if it reacts to a magnet. The last thing is to take two samples of water to your county extension or health dept for analysis. Take one sample when you first turn on the water (the first water that comes out) and then take another sample when the water seems to be clear again. Tell them you are looking to find out about the iron content.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@seawulf575 Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. Yes, actually the shower head has turned completely rust colored as well as parts of the washing machine (I’m assuming from the iron). I wasn’t sure if it was just hard water or extra iron though. We had the water tested before we bought the house and it passed as far as bacteria goes. I’m not sure if they check for iron unless you ask? So we’ll definitely be having it checked again. I’ve also noticed it has a slight smell to it. Not sulfer but metallic almost. We haven’t been drinking from it but I’d like to make sure we don’t have any major issues.

LadyMarissa's avatar

You should flush you water heater or it won’t be long before you’ll be needing to replace the water heater. To answer your Q about it only happening in the shower…that’s what mine did. It was ONLY in the shower & my bathroom & kitchen faucet were just fine. Just as soon as the water heater were replaced, the shower water cleared up!!!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@LadyMarissa How hard is it to flush the water heater? Never done it before.

kritiper's avatar

Flushing the water heater is easy. Attach a garden hose to the valve at the bottom, take the other end outside to drain in the yard, open the valve fully, and let it run until the discharge water is clear.

seawulf575's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 There is another thing you could do. Check to see if there is a Culligan water store near you (or anyone that sells water treatment systems). They will test your water for free and will look for things like iron. But you will have to put up with them annoying you to buy their product for a while.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I’ve never flushed mine but my plumber did show me how to do it. He suggested it be done at least once a year. @kritiper gave pretty accurate instructions. Being a female who’s NOT familiar with this kind of stuff, I tend to do go toYoutube so I can watch what to do & have a better 8dea of what I’m looking at. Most of the YT vids said to cut off the incoming water. My plumber suggested I should leave the incoming water valve open. My water heater is in its own little closet leading to the outside & the plumber suggested that I run my hose outside AWAY from any of my plants because the hot water would kill the plants. IF you can’t conveniently run the hose outside, you should have a floor drain near you water heater & you can use that. It looks simple & easy to do & I’m glad you’ve reminded me that it’s just about time to do mine!!!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@seawulf575 We actually had the same idea. We found Culligan’s last night and sent them a request so they should be calling us soon to set up an appointment for a water test.

@LadyMarissa Sounds simple enough! YouTube is my best friend for DIY projects.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Update. Culligan will be coming by tomorrow. It’s going to cost us $50 because we decided to get additional testing instead of just checking for the basic things. Apparently to check for coliform and other things it will be $50. When we bought the house the water test done by the county tested positive for coliform. When they retested, it was negative but we’re not sure how the home owners got it to pass. They probably shocked the water. They didn’t install a filter or anything so that’s something we’ll have to do in the future. Because the well is at the bottom of a mountain I’m guessing the run off will constantly re-contaminate the well. For now we drink bottled water and save up for a system.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther