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If you’re tap water is tinted yellow, you’re probably very concerned. Yellow water in the plumbing system is a surprisingly common problem in New Jersey, especially in older homes.
If you’ve just moved into a formerly vacant house, or you’ve been away for awhile on an extended vacation, you might notice that water in your sink or bathtub is yellow.
It might go away after a few minutes, or it might be a deep yellow-brown.
At A1 Sewer & Drain, we provide residential and commercial sewer, drain, and plumbing services in northern New Jersey.
What Causes Yellow Water?
Yellow water in the plumbing system has several possible causes, which a local plumber can identify and fix for you.
Some of the most common causes of yellowish, discolored tap water include:
- Sediment buildup in your water heater tank. Most gas and electric water heaters have a storage tank for hot water, unless you use a tankless water heater. Over years of storing hot water, minerals and sediments that are naturally present in local tap water will gradually accumulate at the bottom of the tank. Eventually, this will result in yellow water. The solution is to flush out the water heater tank with high pressure cold water. This can dislodge and remove the sediment.
- Rust in the water heater tank. Metal water heater tanks can rust, especially if your water heater is more than a decade old. If the tank is rusted, you’ll need water heater replacement service from a local NJ plumber.
- Iron bacteria in a water heater. Some types of bacteria thrive in low-oxygen, iron-rich environments. Their digestive processes can result in water discoloration. These bacteria can be killed: a plumber can flush out the tank with chlorine.
- Problems with your galvanized pipes. Galvanized iron or steel pipes are often found in older homes in New Jersey. Galvanization involves applying a thin layer of zinc, which prevents rust and corrosion. Over time, the zinc wears away, exposing the underlying steel or iron to rust and corrosion. Plaques then form, and as they dissolve into the water, you can begin to notice discoloration.
- Problems at the water distribution center. Yellow water in the plumbing system doesn’t always come from your pipes or water heater: it can also originate in the water mains. Yellow discoloration can happen during water main repairs, the use of a nearby fire hydrant, or because of debris in the city water pipes.
- Problems with copper pipes (blue-green discloration). Along with yellow water in the plumbing system, bluish-green discoloration is also possible. This can cause blue or green stains to form in sinks and bathtubs. Blue-green water is a sign of issues with your copper pipes or brass fittings. Copper can be quite harmful if ingested, so you should contact a local plumber to replace your copper pipes.
- Black or dark discoloration. Look out for black tinges in your tap water: it’s a sign of mold and mildew, which are serious health concerns.
Is Yellow Water in the Plumbing System Safe?
In most cases, yellow or reddish water discoloration isn’t a serious health concern. If you or your children accidentally ingest a little bit of it, there’s no need to call poison control.
Most water discoloration results from unusually high concentrations of iron or manganese, and you may notice that the water tastes slightly metallic.
While you should avoid drinking the tap water if you’ve noticed yellow water in the plumbing system, it’s not particularly hazardous.
Calling a NJ Plumber About Yellow Water
If you’ve noticed discolored water coming from the pipes in your New Jersey home, an experienced NJ plumber can figure out the source of the problem.
At A1 Sewer & Drain, we provide local NJ plumbing, sewer, and drain services in northern NJ. Call us any time to find out more, at 201-645-0888.
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