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Plumbing Projects & Tips

How to Find the Source of Rusty Water


April 20th 2022

How disappointing it is to turn on your tap anticipating a fresh, cool drink of water only to see a gush of rusty water flow from your taps. While the water itself is probably still safe to drink, it may have an unpleasant metallic smell and taste. It may also stain the porcelain in your sink or tub, so we’re sure you’ll want to fix the problem quickly. Before calling a plumber, though, you may prefer to find the source yourself. At NCT Plumbing in Fort Worth, Texas, we have over 50 years of plumbing experience and can help with all of your plumbing-related issues.


If you want to diagnose it yourself, there are several steps to take. The most likely sources of rusty-colored water are your water heater, a broken municipal pipe, a broken or corroded pipe within your home, or an excess of iron or manganese in your well water.

How to Identify the Source

Do a small test.

• Run your cold water for a full minute.
• Now turn it off and run the hot water for a minute.


If the rust only appears with the hot water turned on, it’s probably caused by your water heater. Minerals in our water can damage appliances over time. If the water heater is the cause of the rust, it may be time for a replacement. If your water heater is less than 10 years old, it may be possible to correct the problem without a full replacement. Give us a call and we can advise you on next steps.


If it’s evident with the cold water turned on as well as the hot water, it is most likely coming from your pipes due to a broken pipe or sediment build up. Test all the other faucets in your home to identify if you are dealing with one possibly corroded pipe, or if the whole system has an issue.


If the rusty color only appears once, it is possible sediment built up in your pipes and now that it has cleared the problem should go away. It’s always a good idea to run your taps when you’ve been away for an extended time to flush out any sediment or bacteria that has built up. If you don’t want to waste water, collect it in containers and use it to water your thirsty plants.


If you have well water and it is running rusty, you may have an issue with corroded pipes, or high levels of manganese and/or iron present. While the rusty looking water isn’t normally harmful, it will result in staining and doesn’t taste the best. You may want to consider installing a water filter. At NCT Plumbing, we can furnish, install and maintain water filtration systems.


If it’s continually rusty, call your local water company or city services department to ask if they know of any water line breaks in the area. If they don’t know of any problems, chances are high that there is a problem with your home’s plumbing. Now is the time to call a plumber and get some assistance correcting the problem. See all our Repair Services and then call us for a quote. Depending on the specific issue you’re dealing with, your budget and any repiping needed, the cost can range from low to high. We offer video evaluations and sewer inspections to help determine what course of action is required and to offer you all the answers you need in order to move forward and ensure your water runs fresh and clear again.

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