Brown Water Coming From Hot Water Heater


Why Is My Hot Water Brown?

A few days ago, we received a comment on our Facebook post ( link ) that a Singaporean homeowner was shocked to discover that the water coming from his water heater was brown. ( Comment Link )


Although brown coloured water coming out of our faucets is rare, it does happen in Singapore. We decided to take this opportunity to share some our experiences about this issue; what are the causes of water discolouration and what can you do to fix it.

Why is the water discoloured?

Rusty looking water is caused by a bacteria that attacks iron in tanks. Common causes in Singapore are substandard water heater tank lining which has left metallic parts of the internal tank exposed to bacteria in the water. Another common cause is iron bacteria in your home water pipes. A less common, but possible cause, is iron bacteria from your water source.



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Is Iron Bacteria Harmful?

While the rusty water itself is not toxic, it is a breeding ground for other types of toxic bacteria. Besides, it just doesn’t feel good showering in discoloured water. If you’re using this water for laundry, it might stain your clothes.

More about Iron Bacteria on Wikipedia 

So how can you fix this?

Below are some solutions you can take to fix this issue (with approximate costs) so you may have pure, clean water again.

Solution 1: Flush your heater tank, change your anode rods

This will get rid of the bacteria in your tank. Changing your anode rods are necessary because the iron-reducing bacteria will have damaged your anode rods too.

Cost: $180


Solution 2: Change your heater tank

If this issue comes back, it may mean that your water heater tank lining is already damaged and susceptible to iron bacteria. If this is the case, change your heater to one with a better quality glass lining.

If you have a digital water heater with an adjustable thermostat, turn up your thermostat to 75 degrees celsius. This high temperature will kill the bacteria there without you having to change your heater.

Cost: Normal Storage Heater, $450+
Cost: Digital Storage Heater, $600+


Solution 3: Shock-cholrination

Some owners complain that rusty water persists – even after changing their water heater! This means that the iron bacteria is thriving in your pipes, not in your tank. The best solution for this is a shock-chlorination of the water pipes in your home.

Cost: $1000+


Solution 4: Check your water source

But before you embark on solution 3 (which is expensive), you may want to ask your neighbours if they are experiencing the same problem. Sometimes, iron bacteria does not reside in your heater or your pipes, the problem can be the water source.

If your neighbours all seem to have this problem, call your Town Council to arrange for a water tank flushing. This is what happened with some residents of Yishun, Singapore.

Other Instances Of Brown Water In Singapore

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Curious to know more about rusty water coming out of your water heaters?
Read more about it in the links below.


Why is my water brown?

Discoloured water

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