When you get sick, your body gives you clues as to what’s wrong in the form of symptoms like headaches, a stuffy nose, raspy voices, or a seemingly countless number of other things. Your plumbing is the same way: when something goes wrong, it will show you signs in the form of symptoms. The majority of the time, you’ll find these symptoms in your water. Correctly identifying these symptoms can help you pick out the problem and get it fixed so everything goes back to normal. However, identifying the problem based on symptoms can be tricky. Here are a few symptoms you might find in your water and what they might be saying about your plumbing.
Brown, Rusty Color
Ideally, the water coming out of your faucets should be clean and clear, free from strange colors. However, if you’re noticing a brown tint or even a rusty color coming from your tap, you probably shouldn’t drink or use that water right away. That’s because your water may be contaminated with corroded metal, or actual rust. This may not indicate a leak per se, but it may be a solid indicator that some of your old cast-iron plumbing could be reaching the end of its useful lifespan rapidly. Call a Bartlett plumber as soon as possible to schedule an inspection and determine if you may need to repipe all or part of your plumbing.
Rotten Egg Smell
When eggs rot, they produce sulfur, a gaseous element. However, it’s alarming when that distinctive smell comes from your water. This is a sign that you have a high level of sulfur bacteria (or hydrogen sulfide) in your water. Most of the time, this occurs when you turn on your hot water because it’s an issue pertaining to your water heater. The aluminum and magnesium in your water heater react, they create hydrogen sulfide gas, which leads to the strong sulfur scent. When you detect this smell, it might be a sign that it’s time to replace your water heater since the heating element and some of the aluminum in the tank may have corroded over time.
Have you ever poured a cup of water and found it to be kind of clouded or milky in color? If so, there are a few different things this could indicate. If the glass clears up after a few seconds, there is not much to worry about—the milky color is actually an abundance of really fine bubbles that entered the water because it’s under higher pressure than normal, forcing air and water to blend more rapidly. The water clears up because the bubbles eventually all pop and dissipate.
However, if the color doesn’t go away there are two possible explanations. First, you may have water that’s filled with tiny particles, such as sand or dirt that get suspended in the water supply. Generally, these are harmless deposits of calcium or magnesium, which don’t really harm you but may make the water taste funny and doesn’t look all that great. Additionally, this water, known as “hard water,” can lead to dry skin when used to bathe or faded clothing if you use it to do laundry.
Finally, and perhaps the rarest of the three causes, this could be an indication that your water supply is high in methane gas. This is usually only found in water supplies in areas near oil wells or drilling operations since the oil could potentially enter the groundwater supply. Methane itself is generally odorless, but it’s not good to have in your water because it’s extremely flammable.
To fix a methane problem, you need to aerate your water. An aerator must be hooked to a vent that leads to the open atmosphere in order to allow any extracted gas to dissipate. However, once the water is free from this gas it should be perfectly safe to consume.
Is your plumbing showing you potential signs of a major issue? Let a professional Bartlett plumber from Smith’s Plumbing Service diagnose this issue for you! Call us today at (901) 290-1110 to request a service estimate or book your appointment.