Perhaps you’re working in the garden under the sweltering August sun and popped inside for a nice, cool glass of water. However, black water pours out of your faucet when you turn on the tap. To your dismay, you have absolutely no idea what could be causing this issue.
Sound familiar? We’re here to help. Read through our guide for a few of the most common culprits that cause black-tinted water and how to fix them!
What Does It Mean When Black Water Comes Out Of Your Faucet?
When black water pours out of your faucet, there’s usually one of three reasons this happens: a high magnesium content, breaking down water softener resin beads, or flaking steel or galvanized plumbing.
If your home’s water source has magnesium, it can turn your water black. Although most water sources have at least some magnesium in them, this mineral can mix with oxygen and turn the water spewing from your tap black.
Alternatively, if you have steel or galvanized plumbing throughout your home, it could be mineral flakes from rust turning the water black. These mineral flakes from rust inside the plumbing can combine with other minerals, such as magnesium, turning the water black.
Or, it could be the result of breaking down resin beads from your water softener. Of course, this isn’t the culprit if you don’t have a water softener, but if you do, the resin beads in the system can break down. Sometimes, these beads are black, so when they break down, it can lead to black water.
How Do I Fix Black Stuff Coming Out Of My Faucet?
The best fix for your home’s discolored tap water depends on what is causing the problem. You might have to rule out each potential issue, but once you determine what’s behind your murky tap water, you can take steps to fix the problem.
First, it doesn’t hurt to rule out magnesium. Although magnesium is commonly found in tap water, it’s usually in small amounts that are harmless to people. However, when your tap water is overly oxygenated, it can combine with magnesium, creating a black hue in your tap water. So, if your tap water has a blackish hue, it could result from combined oxygen and magnesium.
Determining whether this is the culprit of the issue is simple: buy a testing kit. You can find these kits online or in your local hardware store. Or, hire a plumber to complete a professional test on your water supply.
If magnesium and overly oxygenated water are the problems, the best option is usually to install a water softener to correct the issue. You could invest in a water filter, but they’re generally not as effective as water softeners. Bonus: water softeners can benefit your skin, hair, and clothes!
Steel Or Galvanized Plumbing
Once you rule out magnesium as a potential culprit, consider the plumbing throughout your home. What is it made of? Are the pipes made of metal? If so, are they steel or galvanized pipes?
These materials can begin to rust inside the pipe, allowing small rust particles to float freely in the water. Combined with minerals, these rust particles can make your home’s water appear black or greyish tinted.
Alternatively, the problem could stem from other issues with the plumbing system, such as disintegrating rubber components (if applicable). Rubber in drinking water can be dangerous to your health, so it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced plumber for the best solution to the problem if you think either of these issues might be the culprit.
Broken Down Resin Beads
If you already have a water softener in your home, the black tint in your water could come from the resin beads in the system. Water softeners require resin beads to work: these beads have “soft ions,” and when the system passes hard water with “hard ions” over the beads, an ion exchange occurs. During this exchange, the hard water that enters the system becomes soft.
In some cases, these beads are black. As time passes, the beads may begin to break down, eventually ending up in your water. So, if you have a water softener and notice black water in your home, check your water softener system. Generally, the problem is as simple as replacing the beads as necessary.
Hot Water Only
In some scenarios, the water heater might be the culprit causing discolored water in your home. After a while, sediment can build up at the bottom of your water heater. The sediment may consist of particles from the well (if applicable), or it might be mineral buildup.
You’ll only notice the issue while you run hot water, as cold water won’t pass through the water heater on its way to the tap. So, if the problem persists with hot and cold water, you can cross this potential culprit off your list.
Generally, when your water heater is causing this issue, it’ll exhibit other signs that indicate damage. You might notice an unpleasant odor or noise emanating from the water heater itself or sputtering at the faucets.
If you suspect the water heater is the culprit, it’s usually best to seek the help of a licensed plumber. Of course, this project will probably be a breeze if you’re a seasoned DIYer. That said, you can always outsource the project to a plumber if you’re unfamiliar with this task.
If you decide to outsource the project to a professional, expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $450 to have them remove mineral deposits or sediment.
Perhaps the water in your area shut down for a few hours due to a nearby construction project. If this is the case, it’s possible that your water may be murky (or even pitch black) after the water supply is restored to your home.
This happens when residue lining the old pipes ends up within the water once it flows through the pipes again. The presence of this residue can turn your water a muddy color, and in rare cases, it can turn the water pitch black.
Generally, the water will take on a brownish hue with dozens of particles and sediment. While this will go away within a day or two, you should avoid drinking your tap water until it does. In some cases, simply running the water for a few minutes can be enough to clear the problem, so try running a few taps in your home to flush out the gunk.
Sometimes, pinpointing the exact cause of the black water flowing from the taps in your home is tricky. If you’re having trouble isolating the reason, it might be best to seek the help of a licensed plumber. Although black water in your home usually isn’t harmful to your health, there are some scenarios where it can be, so it’s best to correct the problem as soon as it arises.