Why Is My Well Water Brown All of a Sudden?

There are a lot of people who enjoy having a supply of well water in the backyard. While it provides a lot of conveniences, it can also get contaminated from time to time. It can be frustrating if you notice brown water coming out of the faucets in your home, and what are some of the reasons why your well water might be turning brown? It could be rust in your hot water heater, surface water finding its way into the water supply, a worn out well pump, or several other things.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons why your well water might be brown, and remember that you may need to reach out to an expert for a more thorough evaluation.

Common Causes of Brown Water

Some of the most common reasons why the water in your well might be turning brown include:

1. Your Hot Water Heater Is Rusty

One of the first reasons why your well water might be coming out brown in your home is that your hot water heater is rusty. Many new hot water heaters are designed to resist rust, but one of the ways they do so is by having an air anode rod that rusts first.

Then, as the rod turns rusty, you may notice that your water begins to turn brown. If you notice that only your hot water is coming out brown, it could be a sign that the culprit is your hot water heater. You may need to get a new hot water heater to fix the issue.

Or, if only the anode rod is rusty, you may simply have to replace the rod.

2. You Have Iron Bacteria

You may also have iron deposits turning your water brown. When oxygen and iron combine, they form iron bacteria.

This specific type of iron deposits bacterial cells inside your piping and plumbing fixtures, causing the water from your well to turn brown when it enters the home.

One of the first signs you might notice is that the inside of your toilet bowl is turning red, orange, brown, or maybe grey. You may need to use disinfectants, surfactants, and acid to dissolve any deposits that might be present, kill the bacteria, and knock the bacterial slime off the inside of your toilet bowl.

If you believe the problem could be widespread throughout your plumbing system, you may need to reach out to a professional who can help you. 

3. Rusty Pipes

There is a chance that you might have dusty pipes inside your home that are turning your water brown. Dissolved solids from the inside of your pipes could change the color of your water. While it is not inherently dangerous, you may need to use water filters or water softeners to get rid of brown water, depending on the exact cause.

If you see discolored water, such as brown tap water, there could be something wrong with your water pipes, and it might be impacting your water quality. You may need to get your water tested to figure out the exact source of the water discoloration before you move forward. 

4. There Could Be Surface Water Leaking Into Your Well

Your well should be dug far below the surface. If the well in your backyard is too shallow, there could be surface water leaking into your well water supply, turning it brown.

Surface water is not nearly as pure as groundwater because the surface water doesn’t filter through numerous layers of rocks before reaching your well. If your well is shallow, and your water has an earthy or musty odor to it, the culprit is probably surface water.

You may need to reach out to an expert who can help you address the issue, and you may also want to install a water filter that can help you protect your water supply. 

5. Tannins Could Turn Your Well Water Brown

You may also have tannins that have infiltrated your well water, turning it brown. There are a variety of sources of tannins, but they usually come from decayed organic material. A few examples include leaves and peaty soil. When it rains outside, water passes through this organic material, and it carries it into your water well.

Then, the tannins can turn your well water brown while also contributing to an unusual smell and aftertaste. These tannins are not typically hazardous to your health, but they can give the water a very unpleasant smell and taste. You may want to reach out to a professional who can help you get rid of the tannins in your well water. 

6. Your Water Softener Resin Beads Are Worn Out

If you use a water softener to remove hard minerals from your water supply, the resin beads could eventually wear out. In general, you should expect your resin beads to last between 6 and 10 years, but if the beads are reaching the end of this timeline, they might need to be replaced.

If your cold water tap has a brown tinge, the culprit could be broken resin beads. These beads are then released into your water supply, turning it brown. One of the easiest ways to address this issue is to replace the resin bed in your water softener.

Do not forget to take a look at some of the best water softeners on the market. 

7. There Is Silt and Sediment In Your Water Supply

There could also be some silt or sediment buildup in your water supply. Silt and sediment are found in just about every well water aquifer, but the silt should not be able to get into your water supply directly.

If the screen in your well has become damaged or worn out, it could cause your well water to turn brown and cloudy. You need to replace the screen relatively quickly, as it could allow other contaminants to get in your water supply. Silt and sediment in your water supply are not inherently dangerous, but if the screen is worn out and has to be replaced, it could mean that bacteria (such as E. Coli bacteria) are infiltrating your water supply as well. 

8. Your Well Is Worn Out

Finally, the structure of the well could be totally worn out. Your well has a lot of moving parts that work together to provide your home with a steady supply of water, such as a well pump. If the well pump has gotten damaged, it could be sucking up sediment, contributing to a brown or cloudy appearance of your water.

If you believe something is wrong with the structure of your well, you will need to reach out to an expert who can evaluate it for you. Then, you can work with an expert who can repair it for you, but you may want to drink bottled water until the repair process has finished. 

How To Get Rid of Brown Well Water

So, if you need to get rid of brown well water, what are the options? Of course, the solution is going to depend on the cause of your brown well water, but some of the top options include:

Replace Your Rusty Pipes

If you have pipes that are rusty, you will need to replace them to get rid of the brown water. In this case, the cause isn’t brown water in your well, but the well water turns brown when it enters your home because your pipes are rusty.

You might be able to fix the problem temporarily by flushing the rust out of your pipes, but to permanently fix the problem, you will need to replace your pipes.

Repair or Replace Your Hot Water Heater

If the culprit is your hot water heater, you will have to repair or replace it. If the problem is the anode rod, you may be able to call a plumber who can replace the anode rod for you.

On the other hand, if you open your hot water tank and notice that the entire tank has turned brown, it might be time for you to get a hot water heater. If your hot water heater is more than 10 years old, this is likely the solution. Work with professionals who can help you find a new water heater.

Fix the Water Pump

There is also a chance that your water might be brown because the water pump associated with your well has been dislodged. You will need to call a professional who can fix the water pump for you, ensuring that it is not too close to sediment in your yard. Then, you might want to talk to them about how you can prevent this issue from happening in the future.

Aeration Filter
DROP Single Tank Aeration Filter

Get the Right Water Filtration System

Finally, if your water is brown because of contaminants that might be present, you should get a comprehensive water filtration system that can help you. In particular, you need to get a water filter that can handle dissolved minerals, such as iron, that are known to turn the water brown. The DROP Single Tank Aeration Filter is one such option.

If you are looking for the best water filtration system, take a look at the options from DROP. That way, you have a strong defense system that can protect your home’s water supply from harm.

Do Not Drink Brown Water: Filter Your Water With DROP

Well water can provide you with some fantastic conveniences, but it can be frustrating if your water supply suddenly turns brown. If your water supply is brown, you will need to address the issue as quickly as possible. You will have to figure out if the problem is located somewhere inside your home, or if the problem has to do with the well outside.

Remember that you can also protect the water supply in your home with the latest products from DROP. DROP can provide you with comprehensive information related to your water supply, and you might want to invest in a pump controller that can control the flow of your water as well.

Take a look at some of the best products from DROP today, and make sure your home’s water supply is protected, regardless of where it might come from. 

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