Why Is Your Hot Water Yellow?

When you turn on the hot water and find that the water coming out of the tap has a yellow tint, it's only natural to be a bit alarmed. There are a number of possible causes for yellowed hot water. Here's a look at the most common ones and what you can do about them.

Corroded Plumbing

If your pipes are made from galvanized iron, yellowed water could be a sign that they are beginning to corrode. Usually, the corrosion will turn the water more of a brown or orange color, but the yellow you're seeing could be some very early discoloration that a less observant homeowner may not detect. If this is the case, running the water for a minute or two should cause the water to run clear again. There's no need to rush and fix this, as the iron in the water won't really hurt you. Just don't make a habit of drinking your hot water (stick to cold water). If the issue worsens, your plumber can replace the corroded pipes.

An Aging Hot Water Heater

Gas hot water heaters typically last about 8 to 12 years, whereas electric ones last between 10 and 15 years. If your water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan according to these estimates, the discoloration you're seeing may be due to corrosion of the inside of the tank. Take a close look at the tank itself. If you see any spots of rust on the bottom or sides, contact your plumber immediately as there's a chance your tank will soon spring a leak. If you don't see any corrosion on the outside, then you can take your time a little more, but know that you should replace your tank within the next few months before the corrosion penetrates the metal and causes leaks.

Bacterial Contamination

If the yellow water has an odd smell or odor, then something more serious is at play here. The water has likely become contaminated by bacteria, either in your pipes or in the hot water tank. Turn the hot water off, wash your hands well, and call your plumber. Don't use your hot water until they have had a chance to inspect your system and clean or replace the components that are contaminated.

If you have additional concerns about yellow water coming from your hot water tap, don't hesitate to contact a local plumber, such as Marv's Plumbing. You're better off safe than sorry if you feel there's any chance the yellowing is due to bacterial contamination.

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