Getting fresh, clean water from our faucet is something we’ve come to expect. That makes it all the more disgusting when you turn on the faucet, only to see black water spurting out from it. But what is in the water making it turn black?
Here we’ll see what it means to have a burst of black water from the faucet and what you can do about it. By the end, you’ll have all the information you need to ensure you have clean water running back through your pipes again. Let’s take a look!
What to Do First
Before panicking, there are a few initial steps that you should take. These will help to diagnose the problem and give you a better idea of how to solve it.
1. Check Other Faucets
If you see black water from a faucet, then it’s best to check on the other faucets in your home. This will allow you to see if it’s an issue with just one faucet, or if the issue is with your water supply. There is no good answer here, but knowing this information can be crucial in determining your next steps.
2. Ask Neighbors
So, you’ve checked your other faucets, and you’ve seen that it’s a problem in the entire home. If this is the case, then it’s best to ask your neighbors if they have the same problem. If they do, then it shows there is an issue with the water supply to the whole area and not just your home’s supply. It can also be good to ask your community (through something like a Facebook group) to see how widespread the problem is.
3. Run the Water
It’s also a good idea to run the water for a while. Does the black water turn clear after a few seconds, or does it stay discolored? Often the black water is only a temporary issue, but if it keeps coming through, then it may be a sign of a more serious issue.
Once you’ve checked these three things, you’ll have a lot more information to work with in determining the problem. Next, we’ll check on the possible causes of a burst of black water from the faucet.
Burst of Black Water from Faucet – Causes
There are many possible reasons for black water coming from your faucet. Some are more likely than others, and some are more serious than others. Let’s look at our eight potential causes.
1. Pipe Replacement
Is there any construction work in your local area? If so, then they may be replacing or fixing water pipes. Hopefully, this has been communicated to you, but sadly this often doesn’t happen.
Due to this construction work, dirt and sediment may get into the water pipes, causing them to be discolored. If everyone else in your area is having this issue, then it makes it more likely to be the cause.
Perhaps the most common cause of discolored water is mineral deposits. All of our water from faucets contains minerals. Not only can these be good for us, but many prefer the taste of mineral water compared to completely pure water.
These mineral deposits in water are usually in trace amounts, but that’s not always the case. If there is a lot of magnesium coming through the water supply, then this can oxidize and become black. It’s not dangerous but not very pleasant either.
Rust is rarely a problem with modern-day pipes, but it can still be an issue. Over time, the protective layers on galvanized pipes can wear away, leading to rust. This usually turns the water an orange color, but it can also be black. If the black water is isolated to just one faucet, then it may be rust.
This is rarely the issue when it comes to black water from your faucet, but it is possible. The reason it’s rare is that mildew takes a long time to build up, and if you’re using the faucet often, then it won’t have time to accumulate.
Also, water systems generally add a small amount of chlorine to the water to disinfect it and remove bacteria. However, if you’ve not used a faucet for a very long time, then mildew may have built up in the faucet and pipe.
5. Sand or Clay Deposits
This is usually an issue that derives from water heaters. Over a long time, small particles of sand and clay can accumulate in the water supply. It usually doesn’t affect cold water as this doesn’t pass through any water storage area.
When you turn on the hot water, it can stir up those deposits in the bottom of the tank and make your water black. If your cold water runs clear, then this is probably the problem.
6. Filter Material
Do you have a filter connected to your water supply? Many modern filters include activated carbon/charcoal, as it’s brilliant at removing pollutants from water. This material is never intended to come through water, but it’s possible if the filter has been left unchanged for a long time or if it’s damaged.
7. Softener Material
This is effectively the same problem as the filter. If you have a water softener connected to your water supply, then that may be the problem. Softener often contains many tiny resin balls that take minerals out of the water. Most of these beads are a translucent yellow color, but some of them are black. It’s usually obvious if this is the problem.
As with the softener, it will be obvious if this is the problem, as you’ll have small bits of rubber coming through the faucet. This is an indicator that one of the rubber seals in the pipework is starting to disintegrate.
Burst of Black Water from Faucet – Solutions
Now that we know what can cause black water in your faucet, let’s see what the possible solutions are.
1. Pipe Replacement
If you think that the issue has been caused by local construction work, then there is little that you can do. The first thing you want to do is report the problem to the local authorities in case they are unaware of the issue.
Often this is only a temporary issue due to the pipe being exposed for a short period of time. Often all you need to do is run the water through until the water clears.
As we mentioned before, excessive minerals aren’t dangerous, but they can look disgusting and make the water taste foul. If the problem doesn’t quickly go away, then it may be best to install a water softener that will trap most of the minerals coming through.
This will not only make the water look better, but you’ll also find that it tastes much better too, as it’ll be a lot softer than before.
3. Rust, Deposits, and Rubber
There’s not much you can do if your pipes are starting to rust. The best bet would be to call a plumber who will advise on what pipes need to be replaced. This is perhaps the most expensive solution to all potential black water problems.
The same applies to seeing rubber in your water but rather than replace the pipework, often only the seals will need to be changed out. This will be less expensive to fix than rusting pipes.
A plumber will also need to be called if you are dealing with deposits in your water tank. They will need to flush out the system to get it working like new. This is something you can try yourself if you’re competent with DIY tasks, but it’s usually best to leave it with a professional.
If there is mildew in your pipes, then it’s usually because they have not been turned on for a long time. It’s best to let the hot water run through the pipes for a while to disinfect them.
You can then clean the faucet to remove any trace of mildew. Plenty of household cleaners are effective at removing mildew, but you can make your own solution using bleach and water.
5. Filter or Softener Material
If you have a filter or softener, then the material inside shouldn’t be coming through the pipework. Usually, the solution is to change out the filter material if it has been in there for a long time. If the filter or softener is damaged, then it will most likely need to be replaced.
Black water coming through your faucet can be alarming, but often it’s not dangerous and can be resolved quickly.
There are many reasons why black water may be coming through your faucet. Using our advice above, you can quickly identify the problem and see what your next steps should be. Usually, the issue can be fixed by yourself but at other times, it may be best to call in a plumber.
Hopefully, by using our list of solutions, you can quickly get your water clear once again.