Water Conditions and What They Mean

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Clean running water is a must for good health and sanitation. That’s why it can be so unsettling when you turn on the faucet and murky or discolored water comes running out. A tall glass of mud water is definitely not thirst-quenching and can be alarming, to say the least. Strange water conditions can be quite common and are usually simple fixes. Here are some common water conditions and what they mean.


Brown water is one of the most common water conditions caused by sediment, most often rust or manganese. Many older plumbing pipes are made out of iron, which over time will naturally rust.


There are several reasons why you could be seeing brown rust water.

  1. Work on a municipal line stirred the sediment
  2. Burst water main
  3. Use of fire hydrant by fire department
  4. Rusty pipe
  5. Rust buildup in water heater

There are a couple of things you can do if you are suffering from brown water. First, ask your neighbors if they too are suffering from brown water. If this is the case it is more likely a disturbance in a municipal line that is causing the issue. To resolve this issue try flushing your plumbing by running the water for about 20 minutes. If your neighbors have clean running water then it could be a rusty pipe or your water heater may need to be replaced. Contact your plumber and have them run diagnostics.



Cloudy water is also one of the most common water conditions. Cloudy water usually poses no threat as it is most often caused by hair bubbles. This is quite common if the water has been turned off for repairs, or if the faucet is rarely turned on. Most of the time the problem clears up on its own. If the water doesn’t clear up on its own, then you have a more serious problem. Mineral buildup can also cause cloudy water. You should have a professional plumber check it out.


Water that has a chemical or plastic smell to it is another water condition to look out for. This is usually a result of a new appliance being installed. When having, new water-using appliances installed it’s important to make sure that a single check valve or non-return valve is used on the water supply. Most water-using appliances are connected to the main water supply, failure to install correctly using the correct valve can result in water traveling back into the water supply causing a strange smell. This is usually a simple fix.

You should always contact a professional plumber if things don’t seem right with your plumbing system. It may be nothing, or it could turn out to be a major plumbing problem. Having water conditions and plumbing problems addressed by professionals saves time, and money, and protects your health and safety. Contact John Owens Services today!

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Serving Marin & Sonoma Counties

Good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems are vital in every North California home. John Owens Services, Inc. is proud to be the expert plumbing company you can count on

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Our philosophy is simple, we always want to maintain equipment to give it the longest life possible. Next, we want to focus on repairing when something goes wrong. Then only as the last choice, we replace equipment when needed. That’s the John Owens Way.

San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464