What’s That Color? Three Signs The Water In Your Home Is Contaminated

Water keeps households running, and without it, the entire home can be thrown off track. When you turn on a faucet or run the shower, you should get clean water with no color, taste, or odor. If your water looks or smells different, it may be contaminated. You should not consume or use contaminated water for household tasks because it can expose you to health hazards. Therefore, watch out for these signs indicating your home's water is potentially unsafe for use.

Rust-Colored Hot Water

Does your hot water have a reddish-brown rust color? This is a sign of a failing hot water system. The leading cause of this problem is a buildup of mineral deposits at the bottom of the hot water tank. Mineral deposits occur in hard water, and over time, they mix with hot water, giving it a rusty appearance and a metallic taste.

A worn anode rod can also affect the color of your hot water. An anode rod is a magnesium or aluminum rod that extends to the tank exterior. Its role is to react with iron and mineral particles and protect the metal tank from corrosion. Once the anode rod gets too corroded, it can no longer protect the water heater. Instead, the tank corrodes, and rust is deposited in the water. Failure to replace the anode rod can cause water heater leaks, forcing you to invest in a new unit.

Brown or Discolored Cold Water

Is the water from your cold-water faucets looking brown or discolored? If so, you probably have a plumbing leak or a corroded water pipe. Plumbing leaks occurring in the main water pipe can allow debris into the piping. Consequently, your water will have a brown color or deposits of soil and debris. 

If your home has old cast iron or metal pipes, you should inspect them for corrosion. After years of use, the metal may erode, leading to rust and mineral deposits in the water. Although rust isn't necessarily harmful, the pipes may also contain lead, a metal that can be dangerous if it dissolves in your household's water.

Blue or Green Water

Blue or green stains in domestic water may occur due to pipe corrosion. However, if you use stored tank water in your home, blue-green stains could be a sign of algae growth. Algae occur in water tanks when sunlight penetrates the tank and creates suitable conditions for photosynthesis. Consuming algae-contaminated water can cause various health issues. Luckily, you can filter or chlorinate the water to kill the algae and prevent it from growing in your water tank. 

Water contamination can occur due to iron and lead deposits, bacteria, and even chemical exposure. Therefore, do not use the water if you are unsure of the culprit. Contact an emergency plumber for immediate help.