Brown water fills tub

Filled a jet tub yesterday. Water came out pretty brown. Sinks in the house a little brown as well. Filled the second tub, water still brown.

House has 1997 water heater, and water softener system. House has been vacant, heat on, water off for quite a few months.

Disclaimed the softener, but research online makes me think that it may be the source of the problem. I would have thought with all the water I used in the house any rust from the HWH would have been cleaned out.

The client contacted the Softener supplier. Unit upgraded in 2012.

Told the client to have a plumber in to see if they could ID the issue.

If it were mine, I’d close the bypass to separate out the softener and see if that makes a difference.

Just for sh*ts and giggles, and for the educational aspect, anyone have any ideas or knowledge to share. My expertise is not water softeners!


Did the toilets also have brown water .If yes you might want to look up Iron Bacteria .
I did a post on this a few years ago .Will try and find it … Roy


You might also only need a new anode rod .
If on town water

probably stagnant water in tank from disuse
remedy: flush tank
if that doesn’t fix may need to shock wh

Can you verify if it was hot and cold the same? My first guess is hot only and anode in water heater needs replaced. Google it

no smell and on city water.

Cannot confirm if it was only hot, but I would next time, but of course it would make sense to do that.

Could be the anode is gone,given the softened water.

That makes more sense the more I think about it. The tanks was pretty old anyway, and they knew that softened water can be hard on tanks.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the right answer! Still seemed like an awful lot of rust to me…

Hopefully they will call me back when they figure it out.

Thanks very much for your ideas.

Sounds like city of Edmonton water to me. Let the water run for a while to flush everything out. There is some kind or light brown stuff in our water that Epcor says is OK but looks horrible. When I check a whirlpool bath that has not been used for a while there is always brown flakes everywhere when the jets are turned on. Older shower heads and faucets that have not been cleaned are coated with brown deposits, there may be brown rings at the water line in toilets that have not been used.

Vermilion is using Edmonton water now. They finished the pipe line about a year ago. The water seems fine but does have that brown shade you guys are talking about. I looked at a home last week and the water had been of for two weeks.
It took about 15 minutes for the water to start running clear (kind of). Every tap in the house ran brown on the hot or cold water.
I looked into it and found out that the city gets the water from the river. The river has shale which corrodes and gives the water a brown tinge. At least that is what the city said.

Could be Galvanised piping.
Here in High Springs city water it is chlorinated but not filtered… if a home has been vacant for month the water will smell like crap and with a brown tint.
However, If ran for a few hours it will clear up.
I call it swamp water.

The water wasn’t a just a little brown!

I’ve only ever had slightly brown water at my home during spring runnoff.

Wow Greg, 200 km’s to Vermillion. That’s a long way to pump water!

I’d just never seen water that brown coming out of a tap. That and it didn’t really clear that much after filling two tubs.

Sounds like I was really off base suspecting the softener.

Thanks all.

Whoa, that’s pretty awful! I have never seen that before. Maybe defer to Epcor for evaluation. I think the health units test water for free or nearly free.