For a couple of months, we've been noticing that our water is brown or discolored. It comes from both faucets. This morning I had run nothing but cold water and noticed it had a brown tint to it.

First we thought it was only hot water, so we replaced the hot water tank and expansion tank which were filthy. But the brown water has come back.

I've called neighbors and they don't seem to have an issue. One neighbor says his water is slightly off color every once in a while. But I don't think it is as bad as mine. He's knowledgeable and hasn't seemed concerned about it.

Since its hot and cold water, it has to be a shared line right? Which would be between the street and the house, right? But it comes and goes which seems strange. It seems like if there was a crack in a pipe, dirt couldn't get in due to the water pressure, but I don't really know. We did have heavy equipment on the lawn last year and we do have a sprinkler system. But we haven't run the sprinkler in weeks and we're getting brown water today. I also called the town water department a while back and they said no one else has reported an issue.

I really don't want to have a plumber come and just start replacing everything and tearing up my lawn just to rule stuff out. So any advice, input, or personal experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Have you tried letting a glass of the problem water settle for a few hours or more? Solids settle out; dissolved chemicals don't...
    – DJohnM
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 15:30
  • I haven't. But it just so happens I left some in a white pot this morning so I'll check when I get home. If it settles, or not, what does that tell me?
    – KyleK
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 15:59
  • Solids can be filtered, dissolved stuff not.
    – DJohnM
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 17:27
  • I'd have someone check it out just in case a line ruptured underground, and it is bringing in dirt near the rupture (or potentially further down the line). This could lead to bigger problems in the future
    – cutrightjm
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 17:55
  • "Solids can be filtered", that makes sense. So the solids did settle. Rather a reddish/brown sediment. So I'm guessing some sort of rust. The town is going to take a look. But I'm assuming if it is rust it means the pipe from the road to my house is rusting and will need to be replaced as opposed to just filtering out the incoming rust since it will eventually fail. Sound right?
    – KyleK
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


I would install a house water filter before it branches off to any faucets or the water heater. This should capture any dirt/sand/rust in the water.

  • There is often some precipitate in incoming water, even if it seems clear to the eye. Installing a house filter is a relatively cheap solution that gives a single point to clean out the filters.
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 14:50
  • The house water filter seems like it would provide clean water. But I'm concerned there's a bigger problem I'm not addressing. Could it be a broken or problematic pipe coming from the street? Or are you thinking its just the town water and no one else has noticed it or maybe they all have house water filters?
    – KyleK
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 14:57
  • I am thinking it is just town water. If your main was broken, it would spray out, not pulling in. A filter is cheap - as little as $20, I go for the more expensive one with the clear cover and water bypass. With shark fittings, installation is a breeze.
    – rpmerf
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 15:59

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