Help! My Tap Water is Yellow. What Should I Do?

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Help! My Tap Water is Yellow. What Should I Do?

So, you turned on your taps and the water was yellow! What's going on? Is it the plumbing system, the water supply or something else entirely? There’s no reason for serious concern. Thankfully, this isn't a dangerous issue. Yellow water is generally caused by rust and your water is still safe to drink and use, though this would certainly be the perfect time to investigate the source of the problem.

 
Let's take a look at the first possible cause of yellow water: municipal utility flushing. A few times a year the water companies will flush all of their mains, clearing out all the junk and rust that has been accumulating and stuck within the pipes. That's when the water will absorb some of the rust particles and turns yellow. A call to your local water company to ask if they have recently flushed their mains is a quick and easy check to see if that's the problem.

 
Perhaps you’re on a private well, so the above doesn’t apply to you. Yellow well water is usually caused by iron bacteria, organic material, decaying vegetation, a build-up of iron and manganese or a combination of these factors. Again, this is not dangerous but a call to your local certified water specialist for treatment options will have you back and your taps running clear in no time.

 
If, however, only your hot water is yellow you could be accumulating rust in your hot water tank. Rust buildup in water tanks is a very common problem that can easily be solved by simply flushing out your hot water tank. If you’ve never done this before, you can find lots of helpful videos online to show you how to DIY.

 
If you turn on the taps to see yellow water running for a brief amount of time only to run clear again, this is when you know that the problem is very likely with your pipes. You should definitely have your pipes inspected for rust by a professional, as they'll most likely need to be replaced.

 

If you are worried about doing laundry with yellow water, there's no need to fear.  Anything discoloured by yellow water should simply wash out like normal with a second wash using standard detergent. Avoid using bleach to treat any discolouration, as that will actually have the reverse effect and make any stains that might have occurred become permanent.

 
So, yellow water is not typically dangerous to your health (and can only be slightly dangerous to your clothing). It's certainly nothing to fret about as it's a very common and a low-risk problem. Identifying the source and following up with water professionals for a proper inspection and diagnoses is the right way to go.

 

Home of Gary the Water Guy! Gary has been with the Water Stores Group since January 2003 and is  experienced in all aspects of water treatment. Gary has earned the Certified Water Specialist (CWS-I) and Certified Installer (CI) designations from the Water Quality Association. For more information visit our Water EStore Website. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

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