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

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Summary

Yellow tap water isn’t usually a dangerous issue, but if you don’t enjoy drinking or bathing in yellow water, here are some steps to make sure your water is fresh, crystal clear, and refreshingly clean again.

So, you’ve turned on your taps and the water is yellow! What's going on? Is it the plumbing system, the water supply, or something else entirely?

Generally, when it comes to yellow water, there is no reason for serious concern. Thankfully, yellow water isn’t usually a dangerous issue. This slight discolouration of your home’s water supply is most often caused by rust particles in your water. Although unpleasant to look at, slightly rusty water is still safe to drink and use.

But if you don’t like the look of yellow water, the first step to clearing up your water is to investigate the source of the problem.

The first thing you want to check is if you are experiencing yellow water with both your hot and your cold water. If only your hot water is yellow, that is likely a sign that you are accumulating rust in your hot water tank. Rust buildup in hot water tanks is a very common problem that can easily be solved by simply flushing your hot water tank.

If this is the case, and you rent your hot water tank, contact your tank rental company and ask them if they offer flushing services. If not, they may be willing to replace your entire tank to help clean up your water. If you own your tank, you can either hire a professional to flush the tank or tackle this as a DIY project. If you’ve flushed your hot water tank, you can find lots of helpful videos online to show you how to do it yourself.

Yellow City Water

Yellow City Water

If you’ve eliminated the hot water tank issues and determined that the issue is coming from the source, it’s time to explore the next possible causes of yellow water.

Luckily, one of the most common causes of yellow city water – particularly when it comes on suddenly – is municipal utility flushing. Every few months, your local water company will flush all their mains, clearing out all the junk and rust that has been accumulating and stuck within the pipes.

It is not uncommon for the water to absorb some of the rust particles and turn 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.

If this is the case, that yellow water should clear itself up fairly quickly.

If it does not clear up, ask your closest neighbours if they are experiencing a similar issue with their water colour. If they are, it could be related to the water source from the city. If they are not, it may be something with your home’s pipes that are causing your water issue. After all, yellow might be a perfectly fine color when it comes to home decor, but nobody wants it for their water! 

Yellow Well Water

Yellow Well Water

If you’re on a private well, the above obviously won’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 necessarily dangerous in moderate amounts, 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 you turn on the taps to see yellow water running for a few seconds every time before it starts to run clear again, there is probably a problem with the pipes inside your home. You should have your pipes inspected for rust by a professional, as they will 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 have the reverse effect and make any stains that might have occurred become permanent.


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.

 

Water Treatment Systems for Yellow Water

Water Treatment Systems

High efficiency water softeners have a built in, self cleaning sediment filter to remove any sediment or any other particles that may be turning your water yellow. Having a whole-home water softener can also help keep your internal pipes clean to avoid the build-up of rust that can lead to your own home turning your water yellow.

To ensure that your drinking water and ice-cubes remain crystal clear, you may want to consider a Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Systems that will keep your family's water super pure. Whether you are on city or well water, if you want to make sure that every drop of drinking water for your family comes out crystal clear, you will need a Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System.

Fix Your Yellow Water Problems

Home of Gary the Water Guy! Gary Beutler 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!

How to Make Your Water Softener Last Longer

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