Brown Water—It’s a Little Weird

By October 16, 2020 Water Problems

While “Vandyke Brown” and “Dark Sienna” were great shades for the famous PBS painter, Bob Ross, if those brown colors are coming from your faucet, it’s probably more than a “happy little accident.” Brown-colored water not only looks gross, but it also tastes gross too. Nobody wants to drink it, bathe in it, or use it to clean their dishes and laundry. But what should homeowners do about brown water? Let’s answer that question by first taking a look at why you have brown water. 

Why Is My Water Brown?

Sediment in Water

For most Central Indiana residents brown water is the result of sediment being pumped in by their well system. Over time, sediment builds up around the well screen and makes its way inside through your plumbing and to your fixtures. 

Well Head Casing

Another common cause of brown water is a breach in the wellhead casing, which allows surface water containing sediment to get into your well system. At c and j water, we have seen well casings that were damaged by lawnmowers, tractors, contractors, and even a car flipping onto the wellhead after a police chase!

Iron in Water

Also, occasionally homeowners describe their water as brown because it leaves brown stains on tubs, sinks, and fixtures. These stains are usually caused by iron in their water. Whether you get your water from a well or a municipal source, you probably have iron in your water. This iron, among other hardness materials, leaves a trail of nasty stains in their wake. 

Municipal Water Supply

Another cause of brown water for city water residents is the municipal supply is being stirred up, or your city has old infrastructure piping. In days of yore, municipalities lined the inside of their pipes with a chemical called polyphosphate to keep the pipe material from leaching into the water. Eventually, this chemical wears down and can cause discoloration, as well as sterilize the media in your water softener, rendering it useless.

Other, less common, causes of brown water could be shale flaking off into your water supply, or your well pump is set too low and is pumping sediment into your home. 

What Should I Do About My Brown Water?

If you’ve been dealing with discolored water, don’t fear—c and j can help. It may be time to have your water tested.

Six-Point Water Well Inspection

Our first step would be a six-point well inspection. During the inspection, our technicians will evaluate your water flow, check the water well pump amps, examine the well system piping, analyze your pressure switch and tank, and even send off a water sample to an independent laboratory for bacteria testing. This inspection will also determine if you have a cracked well casing that needs dug up and repaired. 

Water Well Cleaning

Furthermore, brown water can often be cured with a well cleaning. During our 6-point inspection, if our technicians determine your well needs to be cleaned and refreshed, half of the cost of the inspection then applies to the well cleaning. During a water well cleaning, we use high-pressured air to lift years of sediment and buildup out of the well. This process also redevelops your well screen, as well as makes sure your well pump is set at the proper depth.

Sediment Filter

Another option for persistent brown water is a sediment filter. A sediment filter is a great way to mitigate moderate amounts of sand and sediment that might be coming into your home. It is also an option for homeowners with city water who have unwanted minerals coming in through their municipal source. 

Water Softener & RO

Additionally, if you’re dealing with iron buildup on fixtures and faucets, a water softener is a great choice for both well and city water residents. The resin media inside a softener ionizes the unwanted minerals and flushes them out. A Free Water Analysis from our water quality experts is a great way to determine which water softener is the best choice for your family’s needs. 

Perhaps the most important issue with brown water is its consumption. Nobody wants to drink water that is brown or discolored in any way. That’s why we also recommend a reverse osmosis drinking water system for family consumption. Paired with a water softener, Reverse Osmosis removes all the molecules that aren’t water, leaving you with clean and healthy water for your entire family. 

Contact Us Today

With c and j water you can trust that our licensed professionals can handle any water issue you might come across—including brown water. As the late Bob Ross put it, “See how it fades right into nothing. That’s just what you’re looking for.” c and j water can help the nasty stuff in your water fade into nothing. We are just what you’ve been looking for—give us a call today!


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