Rust and Water
People up and down the country rely on their tap water to be as clean and clear as possible, so what happens when someone calls you up saying their tap water is reddish brown or smells or tastes quite metallic and bitter? As we’re sure you already know… those are all the classic symptoms of rusty water, mainly from pipes that have gone rusty from years of wear and tear. So, what can you do if a client rings you up concerned about what’s coming from their taps? Well here are just a few things you can do as a plumber…
Identify the Problem:
Now of course there’s more than likely a little bit more than just rust in there, but we don’t need a laboratory test to determine if it is mainly rust if it has a very metallic smell, or taste to it and the water is discoloured to a reddish brown. Now apparently rust isn’t a direct health threat, which is a miracle considering what it actually is (oxidised iron particles). But it can really stain your clients prized porcelain basins and sides, which leaves for an unsightly bathroom and an unhappy customer, that’s not what you want for your client.
Determine the Source:
Using your plumbing diagnostics, it shouldn’t be hard to determine where the fault has started. A good test is to let the tap run on the cold tap only and then collect a small glass and note down it’s consistency and odour. Next, run the hot water for several seconds and sample that exactly the same. Now if the results for this small experiment suggest the rust is only present in the hot water, or if the rust goes away after several seconds of running water, those are both strong indications that the source of the rust is in your home. But if you have continuous rusty water in both taps, you should call the local water provider immediately to report the issue. If you find that it’s coming from within home and rusty water came from the cold-water tap, that indicates a corroding pipe or pipes in your home plumbing system. And if it’s coming only from the hot water tap, that means your water heater is probably rusting out. Trial and error is key here, eliminate all the possibilities and you’ll find your source.
Now unfortunately for yourself you may not be able to fix the problem at all, because if the rust source is outside the home it means it is the local council then must solve the problem as you will not be covered as soon as you begin work on their pipes… this may lead to a LONG wait for your client. However, if the rust source is within your client’s home you can take out the corroding pipe of fitting and replace it, or replace their water heater if the rust is only present with the hot water tap running. The part that is most at fault for rust in water heaters is the anode rod, which attracts other rust and metallic impurities from the water so that it attacks the rod instead of the tank or the water, of course the anode rod could be completely eroded and eaten away so replacing that part first would be step one and then advising your customer to get it changed every 4-6 years.
Need help with selecting the right parts for this kind of job? Why don’t you pop into your nearest branch to have a chat with one of our very knowledgeable and approachable team, where we can advise you on certain products in terms of suitability for your job, as well as having all the top-quality brands.