One of my bathrooms has a shower that doesn't get used that often. When I do use it I notice rust colored water come out first.

Why does that happen? Is it indicative of something that needs to be fixed?

  • How old is the house? What part of the world are you in?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 19:16
  • It was built in the 1950s. I am in the US.
    – Jay Prall
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 19:23
  • Cool, then +1 to Ojait's answer. The galvanized pipe rusts, and it's indicative of the pipes eventually needing to be replaced (all of the pipes in the house). No need to replace until it starts to leak, but once it does, it can be a major job. If the house is pier and beam, you might want to inspect the pipes under the house every once in a while.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


When water doesn't flow from a faucet and remains "standing", rust will collect if the pipe is galvanized (steel). Most new plumbing is copper, but may have galvanized pipe or fittings, too. Rust is composed of iron oxide flakes. Ingesting it in small amounts can give you the daily recommended (for males) dosage of iron. There are also filters that can be installed just before the showerhead.

  • 1
    I have experience with a shower where iron (non-galvanized IIRC) pipe was used to connect the shower valve to the bath tub spout. After each shower, water would sit there, causing rust to form.
    – Pigrew
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 19:32

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