Cleaning and maintaining our toilets is a must. However, we can all agree that nobody wants to spend more time cleaning the toilet than necessary. Especially when we’re trying to minimize cleaning, watching brown water flow into the bowl after flushing can leave us extra frustrated. Fortunately, the brown color isn’t always an indicator that there’s harmful, contaminated water on your property. Instead, the brown water flowing into your toilet could be a piping issue, meaning you may need help from an expert. Below, we’ll discuss the common causes of brown water in your toilet tank and how to each issue.
What is the Cause of Brownish Water?
When you don’t see fully clear water in your bowl after flushing a toilet, try flushing once more. Sometimes, a single flush won’t be enough to eliminate all the waste, especially if you have an older toilet. However, if the water remains the same and doesn’t clear after flushing for the second time, toilet waste probably isn’t causing the brown-colored water. Therefore, to figure out the cause of the brown water, you’ll need to check all the other sources in your house. Start by checking all the tubs, sinks and taps you have, including both hot and cold water. The ultimate cause of the issue will be different depending on whether every faucet produces brown-colored water, or just your toilet.
Brown-Colored Water from Every Water Source
If you’ve checked all the water sources in your house and brown-colored water comes from every single one of them, there is probably too much iron in the water. If you think iron is the issue, you can look for other indicators as well. For example, the most common indicator is a swamp-like smell coming from sinks and tubs along with dark stains all on your clothes and surfaces. Plus, if the water in your house contains too much iron, it will taste like metal. Plumbing systems installed before the 60s were made out of galvanized steel that would corrode after some time. That rust gives your tap water the brown color. Nowadays, there are still a lot of galvanized steel plumbing systems, but most of them have been replaced by PVC.
Brown-Colored Water in the Toilet Only
If all the other sources of water except for your toilet look normal, the brown-colored water could still be an issue with corroded pipes. It isn’t uncommon for bathrooms to have separated pipes. Although the source of water is the same, different pipes might be made out of different materials. Plus, it is also possible that only one pipe has corroded, while all the others are in great condition.
However, if your water source is a well, dissolved materials in the well could be another cause of the issue. In this case, sediments in the water likely caused the brown color. A dirty, contaminated well can be quite dangerous for your health. Therefore, in this scenario your best bet is calling a licensed plumber. A professional should be able to check your well for safety and generally confirm if the issue is with the plumbing, the well, or some other unexpected source.
How To Get Rid Of Brown Water In The Tank
Watching brown-colored water flow into the bowl after every single flush can be pretty annoying, but luckily, this problem is fixable. First, before calling a plumber, consider getting a high-quality water softening system. Water softening systems are capable of removing hard materials, including iron. Furthermore, there are some chemical treatments that can reduce the concentration of bacteria and iron in your water. If the issue is too much iron, a water softener will not only remove the color but also improve your water’s smell and taste. You can also work with a plumber to consider longterm solutions like fixing or replacing your plumbing completely.
Can Corrosion Be Prevented?
If your plumbing system consists of PVC pipes, you won’t need to worry about corrosion at all. Still, with galvanized steel, corrosion is inevitable. Using whole house water filtration systems can reduce the amount of iron in the water for a time. You should also regularly maintain your pipes to prolong their lifespan and minimize corrosion. However, even perfect maintenance won’t keep galvanized steel pipes in great condition forever. Eventually you may need to consider replacing the pipes.
Our Bottom Line
Brown water in your toilet shouldn’t disgust you because the source likely isn’t waste. Instead, brown water usually occurs as a result of rusty residue in your pipes. You can fix this issue by installing a whole house water filtration system, using some chemical treatments, or switching the plumbing system to PVC. Either way, it’s normal to experience brown-colored water, so don’t hesitate to use one of these solutions!