Why is my Sink Water Brown?


When turning on your sink, you do not typically expect to see brown water come out.  However, if you see this unwelcome surprise in your home, you do not need to panic.  In most cases, your brown sink water should only last a few hours before it goes away on its own.  However, if the problem persists, you may want to call a plumber to come and address the issue.  No matter if you need someone to talk you through the issue or to come to your home and fix it, White’s Plumbing LLC in Youngsville, North Carolina is here to help.  Until then, we are here to teach you exactly what may cause your brown sink water, and how to possibly fix it.

What Causes Brown Sink Water?

In most cases, sink water turns brown due to the presence of minerals, rust, or sediment that has accumulated.  The brown appearance of the water means that those sediments have somehow gotten stirred up in your pipes.  Some things that can cause the sediments to get stirred up include main breaks, nearby construction, or even the fire department pulling water from a nearby hydrant.  The increase in water flow from any of these events can easily cause your waterThis is why, when everything calms down in your pipes, that brown coloring will disappear.

There are other reasons that may have turned your water brown, though.

Corroding Water Lines

If your home is a bit older, chances are that your pipes are made of galvanized steel water lines.  This is common in houses that were built prior to 1960.  What happens with these pipes is that they develop a rusty sediment inside of them over time.  This sediment may end up coming out in your water when your faucet is turned on.  This issue could happen in one faucet, or multiple.

Running your water for just a few minutes will most likely fix the issue and turn your water back to its normal state.  Additionally, if your water does return to normal, it is a likely sign that the issue is within your home’s water lines.  Regardless, it is important to address corroding in your water lines.  This can eventually lead to pipe leaks and bigger issues.

Change in Water Table Levels

Do you have well water in your home?  If so, in more rare events, this may cause your water to turn brown.  This happens thanks to larger changes in the water table.  For example, if your area has periods of a lot of rain or periods of drought.  The increase in rain may cause rainwater from the surface to get into your water supply, bringing the sediment from the surface with it.

Alternatively, if there is a lack of rain, water becomes a higher demand.  Similar to an oversaturation of rain water, the drought will pull sediment from the surface and river bottoms into your water supply.

Broken Filtration Equipment

Filtration equipment is designed to prevent any sediment from getting into your drinking water.  When this equipment is broken or malfunctioning, sediments can come through and turn your water a brown color.  Luckily, here at White’s Plumbing, we can help you fix your filtration system and ensure that everything goes back to running smoothly.

Is Brown Sink Water Dangerous?

Don’t worry, brown sink water is not dangerous!  However, it is still something that you want to take care of sooner rather than later if it is not going away.  For example, iron is one of the minerals that may overload your water and cause that brown color.  While iron is not toxic, and is already in your water regardless, it is not recommended that you drink water with excess iron in it.

Additionally, rusty water may not be toxic but it will create a great environment for bacteria to grow and thrive.  The bacteria, in addition to the rust, causes an unhealthy water source that you will want to get addressed.  Your rusty pipes will continue to corrode and eventually create a leak, which is an entirely different issue in and of itself.

Getting Rid of Brown Sink Water

The first thing you should do when trying to get rid of brown sink water is to run your cold water from the faucet for about twenty minutes, until the water starts to run clear.  If it does run clear during this time, great!  You do not need to worry.  You can also check and see if the brown water is isolated to just one faucet or if it happens on all of them.  

Sometimes, waiting a few hours or even a couple days will do just the trick to see if the water starts running clear.  If it does not clear up after a couple days, then you will know that the issue will not resolve on its own.

It is also important to see if the brown coloring comes when running from only the hot water or the cold water.  If the issue is only with the hot water, your water heater may need to be flushed out.

You can ask your neighbors if they are also having issues with brown sink water.  If it is only occurring in your home, then you know it is an issue with your pipes.  However, if multiple residences have this same problem, it may be coming from the pipes off of your property, in the city water system.  If this is the case, it is a great idea to contact the city to address the water color.

If your water turns brown due to the changes in the water table – those heavy rains or droughts – then it may be best to install a filtration system.  This way, even when the water table continues to fluctuate, your filter keeps the sediment and excess minerals out of your home’s water.

If none of these things clear your sink water or if you are looking to install a new filtration system, we are happy to help.  Just reach out to us at White’s Plumbing near Youngsville, North Carolina, and someone will be able to get your water running clear for you again.

Contact White’s Plumbing Today

If you are having an issue with your sink water turning brown near the Youngsville, North Carolina area, White’s Plumbing LLC is ready to help.  One of our certified technicians will be able to help diagnose exactly what the problem is and come up with a solution to get your water back to its normal state.  We are prepared to help with any of your plumbing needs, whether that may be brown sink water or a larger issue, including a plumbing emergency.  At White’s Plumbing, we ensure professional service that is not only on time, but in your budget as well.  Contact us by filling out the form on the right side of this page or give us a call at your convenience.  We look forward to helping you!

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