Water is a vital part of our livelihood as we need it for drinking, washing and showering. Therefore, we need to maintain a good and consistent water supply to ensure our daily needs are met.
Water faucets are the main outlets of water from the main water supply, therefore we need to understand how to diagnose any problem that may arise from the faucet.
4 reasons why faucet water is orange
Your faucet water turning orange can be a very concerning matter as it may put a compromise on both your health and hygiene. Although there are several reasons, four common causes of the color change are: High Iron content, Corrosion in the water heater, Broken line or old water systems.
Having orange water come out of your faucet could pose several health risks and is overall unhygienic to use. Having orange water is not an uncommon issue and can happen in many faucets due to many reasons, few of those reasons have been discussed below:
High concentration of iron in water:
Groundwater contains many naturally occurring minerals and elements such as iron due to the rocks in the ground that allows iron from the surface layers to seep into the deeper water channels.
These iron deposits mix with the ground water and alter the overall iron level in the water that gets pumped up into the main water lines that get supplied to your homes.
When the iron level in the water exceeds a certain limit, it starts to affect the color, taste and texture of the water. The color becomes orange depending on the concentration and the water starts tasting more metallic.
Old water systems:
Oftentimes, the change in color of the water may not be due to the water but the water supply line itself. Most main water supply lines tend to be several decades old and since they use metallic pipes, they get subject to corrosion and rust.
If your water supply is connected to a really old water system, chances are that the water system has rusted and collected sediments as well as rust particles in their pipe lines.
Those rust particles and sediments get mixed with the water and when the concentration of those particles grows large – they begin to affect the overall color of the water.
Corrosion in water heaters:
If your neighbors have reported that their water is clean and the water line doesn’t have excessive levels of iron, then the problem may be on your local water storages.
If you have a water heater, then it is highly likely that it is the cause of your water being orange in color because hot water accelerates the rate of corrosion in metal pipes.
Inspect your water heater pipes and check for rusty areas and contact a plumber to replace them for you.
Alternatively, you can diagnose rust in water heater lines if your water heater is not connected to all faucets.
Check the water in faucets with and without water heater line – if the one without the water heater line flows clear water, the problem is with the water heater pipes.
Crack in the water line:
If the groundwater doesn’t have high levels of iron, you may still get high levels of iron in your water supply.
Cracks in the water line that supplies water to your home from the main line could allow iron and other minerals to seep into your water line and thus contaminate the water coming to your home.
Disturbances such as earthquakes, tree roots can cause cracks in your water line and although water will still be supplied to your home – but will have additional contaminants in it.
Is orange water safe to drink?
If the water from the faucets is orange in color, it might be due to high concentration of iron/manganese or due to contamination from rust particles.
In case of presence of high iron or manganese in the water – they pose little to no threat to your health since they are not toxic, but it may affect the taste of water. According to SDWA, orange water violates no health code and is safe to drink.
However, if the orange color is due to rust or other pollutants in the pipe, it should be treated with caution and that water must go through rigorous filtration and processing before drinking since those rust particles and contaminants may pose health risks in the long run.
Ideally, you shouldn’t drink water straight from the faucet and instead process it through a water filtration system to ensure no harmful pollutants, whether visible or invisible, doesn’t enter your body.
Can I shower if my water is orange?
The reason your water changed color to orange is because of the level of elements such as iron and manganese in the water.
If they are present in high amounts, the color of water changes to orange, another reason is the presence of rust particles in the water which could change the color as well.
Although these can pose health issues if you drink them for long term, they will not cause any problems for purposes such as showering or washing. They do not show any adverse reaction with your skin and do not pose any form of irritation for most people.
However, you may find it difficult to form lather with soap or shampoo while using orange water.
What do I do if my water is orange?
In case your water turns orange, you need to take some steps to fix it. Just because it isn’t harmful, you shouldn’t ignore it. Below are some of the actions you may take if your water is orange:
Run your water for a few minutes:
When the water lines are cleaned for rust and other contaminants, they get flushed out of the system – causing all the rust and other debris to come out of the consumer’s faucets.
In such cases, you should let your water run for a few minutes to let the rust particles and debris that is present in your pipe get flushed out until clear water starts coming out.
Use water filters on your faucet:
If the orange water issue is continuous and you notice little pieces of rust coming along with the water as well, then you can buy a water filter that can be attached to the faucet’s outlet.
When you turn on the faucet, the rust particles and debris will be trapped and collected by the filters and accumulate there. You need to remove and clean the filters once in a while depending on how much rust gets trapped.
Replace pipes if the rust is at your heater:
If you are experiencing an orange water issue, check your water heater line for rust or corrosion and then replace it with new pipes. Using pipes that are resistant to rust will help you avoid the same problem in the near future.
How to fix orange water?
Follow the steps below to fix your orange water issue:
Drain and flush your heater tank:
In order to get rid of any remnants of orange water, you need to remove all the existing water and make sure no sediment was left along with the water in the tank. If some water and sediment remain in the tank, you will still continue to see orange water for some time.
Check the anode’s condition:
The anode is used to heat up water in the tank but its electrical properties make it attractive to corrosive minerals in the water which accelerates its rate of corrosion.
As a result, the anodes rusts and corrodes quickly and leaves the rust particles and sediments to mix and dissolve in the water.
Upon closer inspection, you will notice that the anode has rusted and been eaten away significantly. Visible rust layers can also be visible near the anode which was in contact with the water.
In case of damaged or eaten away anode, replace it with a new one bought from the hardware store.
Check the pipes for rust:
Once the new anode has been installed, check whether the pipes have any rust patches as well. Replace the rusted segments with new pipes.
Install a water filtration system:
After taking care of the water heater, install a water filtration system between the heater line and the line that comes into your faucets to provide an additional layer of filtration.
Flush fresh water into the system:
Finally, flush clean water into the tank and run it through the filter to get rid of the residual sediments in the tank.
It might be highly alarming when your faucet water turns orange because it could compromise both your health and cleanliness. Despite the fact that there are numerous causes, the following four are usually reported: High iron level, water heater corrosion, a broken line, or outdated water systems.