Why Is My Tap Water Orange?

When you are going in for a shower, the water should run crystal clear. However, it can be pretty annoying to be hit with orange-colored water, especially if it’s first thing in the morning before you’ve had your morning tea or coffee. And, I guess your first reaction would be a straight and loud “Ewwwww!!!”

First of all: When colored water comes off your tap, it’s a clear indication that you are experiencing some kind of plumbing issue. Today, we are not talking about colors like purple or black but orange –be it reddish-orange or brownish-orange. It’s important to note that this dirty, tainted and orange-colored water can come out from any of your water faucets and not just in the bathroom; in fact, when you are going through this “phase”, you might also notice a stream of orange water very much present in your toilet. The unnerving question is: Why is the water orange?

Let’s get into more detail!

Why Is the Water Orange?

The fuzzy and orange matter that’s discoloring your water is known as iron deposits. It is a natural process that takes place when iron bacteria feed on the iron in water, react with oxygen in the air and consequently result in rust-colored iron deposits that settle in the water, giving birth to an orange-colored water. And, it is believed that this process occurs mostly during hot, dry days.

So, we’ve established the fact that the main cause of the orange and rusty color in your water, but how does it get into your home?


WellsIf your water source is a well, the orange-colored water will often come through your tap. Why?

In the earth’s ground are found lots of minerals and rocks which naturally contain iron –iron that then seeps into groundwater and into wells. However, iron levels in the well can change and fluctuate depending on different seasons.

Old Public Water Systems

Orange deposits can often be found in lakes and streams, but the water that comes through your tap does not come directly from these natural sources; they are usually treated by public drinking water systems. However, what happens if these municipal systems are around 100 years old?

In some countries or in some American states like San Antonio Texas, public water systems are often renovated. On the other hand, others are still very old. For example, over 20 % of pipes in Los Angeles were installed before 1930, meaning that they are getting close to celebrating their 100 year old anniversary. Some places in California are also “known” for having fairly old and damaged municipal water systems.

Old plumbing systems equal old materials which in turn equal rusting. Furthermore, water main breaks, which are pretty common in old plumbing systems, can also release more rust particles.

Rusted Pipes

Rusted PipesThe main water supply line is one of the most important parts of a house’s plumbing system. This main line includes plumbing pipes that are used to deliver water to different parts of your house – from carrying water to your bathroom and kitchen faucet to delivering waste to your sewage line.

Now, if one of these pipes that feed water to your home starts rusting, you’ll end up with an orange-colored water. And, if you are wondering why the pipe is rusting, the answer lies in the pipe materials. For instance, outdated materials such as galvanized steel are said to be much more vulnerable to rusting compared to new materials like PEX or PVC.

Is the Orange-Colored Water Safe to Use?

What do you do if you are in a hurry to shower or brush your teeth and only orange water is coming out of your tap?

Well, according to some experts, the minerals found in the orange and rusty water can taste bitter but they are completely harmless. So, you can bathe, brush your teeth or even consume this water. However, before doing so, you must confirm that it is indeed a sign of iron deposits and not something else.


Why Is My Tap Water Orange?
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