Water Discolouration and Quality

Water is one of those things that we all tend to take for granted, especially those of us who live in North America. For most of us, we simply go to the tap in the kitchen or bathroom and turn on the faucet to have access to clear, clean, and fresh water.

But sometimes there are problems. These problems can cause the water to be discoloured and cloudy. Sometimes it can even have an unpleasant taste or odour. There are several possible causes for discoloured water, and there are things that you can do to determine how to solve this problem.

Cloudy Tap Water

Sometimes you might notice your water appears cloudy. This is not usually a health concern. Often this cloudy appearance occurs when air bubbles are trapped in the tap water. Water will warm up slightly in your household plumbing. At the same time, pressure is reduced through your tap fixture. This can cause dissolved air to be released and results in the cloudy white appearance. Upon filling a glass of water, this cloudiness should disappear within a few minutes. You can easily check this yourself by pouring some cold water into a glass and watching. You will likely notice the air bubbles will gradually disappear from the bottom of the glass and float upwards within 1-2 minutes.

Discoloured Water

If you notice the water in your toilet tank or cold water tap is yellow, rusty, or discoloured, the cause is often from sediment which comes from the water main. This will often happen when hydrant maintenance or construction on the water main is being done in the area of your home. The sudden changes in flow that occur can disturb iron and rusty sediments especially when the water main pipes are old. If you notice a red/yellow appearance to the water, this is caused by the presence of iron. Iron is a health risk to you and your family, and you should contact your cities water department. If your home was built before 1958, you should also have a plumber check the line coming from the water main to your home to determine if it is a lead pipe. These pipes need to be replaced to ensure the health and safety of you and your family.

Particles in your Tap Water

Sometimes, you might notice particles in your tap water. Here are a few common situations that can cause particles:

White/brown particles:

If the particles are white with a slightly brown appearance on the one side it might be a piece of ceramic which came from the liner of the hot water tank. If you suspect this problem contact a certified plumber to perform an inspection.

Black particles:

Small pieces of rubber from a deteriorating and worn rubber washer or gasket can cause black particles to appear in your water. Black particles can also be caused by high levels of manganese in a groundwater well. This should be checked by a professional.

Sand or sediment:

If you notice sandy particles in the storage tank found at the back of your toilet, it is likely caused by sediment that was disturbed in the water main. City workers will perform hydrant flushing and this will often clear any sediment from the water mains.


Resin beads from a filtration system or water softener can cause tiny brown beads in your water. The beads appear somewhat translucent. If you notice this problem, it is an indicator that your softener or filtration system needs an inspection or replacement.

If you've noticed the water running in your home is discoloured or has any other abnormalities, contact our team of experts at Taylor's Plumbing today and we'll be ready to help.