Dealing with Rusty Water

Rusty water

All across the country and in almost every town especially those with wells, people complain about brown or rusty water. Rusty water can have quite a few causes and just as many solutions.

Rusty Water Situations

Here are some of the causes of rusty water listed below.

  • Drinking Water that is coming from a town well and the water is picking up iron from the ground and it’s being stored. The water along with the suspended iron makes it’s way into every house connected to the supply. Most town wells are treated before the water makes it’s way to the end user by chlorination and filtering.
  • Drinking Water that is coming from a private well that serves a single home or several homes. This is a more likely scenario than the previously stated because most private wells are sunk deep into the ground and the water is not treated before being utilized by the consumer.
  • Well casings can also be a culprit of rust. Old steel well casing have been know to corrode and flake off in the water. Newer well casings are made of PVC and do not corrode or cause rusty water.
  • Rusty water causes and solutionsThe water piping material in the home or building is starting to rust and decay inside the piping and although rare may make it’s way to the tap. However in instances where rust occurs, it’s more likely the the rust and scale make their way to the valves and aerators. You should notice a considerable drop in water pressure as the rust and scale expands to retard flow.  If the home or building is more than 30 years old the water piping is more than likely galvanized or black threaded piping.

Rusty Water Solutions

Here are some solutions for the above rusty water issues:

  • If the water is from a town well and is not treated or from a private well the only thing you can do is to remove the iron out of the water somehow. There are a few ways to remove the iron from the water; the first is simply to install a water softener. All water softeners will remove some of the iron out of the water.
  • Rusty waterIf the situation is not remedied by simply installing a softener then you can pick up a readily available product called Iron Out and use it in conjunction with the salt. Please read the manufacturers directions for proper use. There are also several salts available formulated to help remove iron from the water.
  • Installing a filter to specifically designed to remove rust and sediment can also help to improve the quality of the water.
  • If these don’t cut it you may have to install an iron tank that is used specifically to remove iron from the potable water.

*Please note, all these steps can be avoided by calling in a professional water treatment specialist to test the hardness and dissolved solids. The specialist should be able to tell you if a an iron tank is needed.

  • Finally if the water piping is beginning to rust inside and water flow is not  usable some if not all the water piping may need to be removed and replaced with copper or PEX tubing. If this is the route that needs to be taken please make sure the shower valves are blown out, cleaning out potential rust particles that could foul the valve ports. Also remove the aerators on the kitchen and lavatory faucets and flush out or just remove and replace. Again when rusty piping is being replaced it’s very likely some rust and scale will make it’s way to the valves and aerators.


  1. Thank you for the comment about possibly needing to install a special tank that removes iron from potable water. My sister is having problems with the well on her property only putting out rusty water all the time. I bet she could find a good repair company to come to see if they should install one of these tanks for her.

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