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Why Is There Brown Water After Draining The Water Heater? [Explained]

You may have seen your tap water appear brown after you drained the water heater. Turning on a faucet and seeing discolored water is extremely unpleasant. 

Wondering what’s causing brown water after draining the water heater? 

Brown water is the result of sediment, rust, or manganese. These can build up inside the water heater over time. While draining, the rush of water breaks up some of the build-ups on the pipe walls. That makes the water appear brown when you open your faucet.

This guide is designed to help you remove brown water. You’ll find every important information on it right here. 

Without further ado, let’s get started! 

Possible Reasons behind Brown Water after Draining Water Heater

Why Is There Brown Water After Draining The Water Heater? [Explained] 1

Brown water can appear for a number of reasons. Knowing about the issue is necessary to solve the problem. 

It can be that you’re just looking to solve the brown water problem instantly. In that case, First, examine your water heater for a recirculation issues. If everything is clear, proceed to flush the water tank. 

In case that doesn’t work, don’t panic. This doesn’t always mean your water heater has gone bad. 

Deterioration of The Water Heater 

Water heaters can last from 6-8 years to almost 20. But most start to deteriorate after 8-10 years of use.

Here’s a quick rundown on signs your water heater is deteriorating :

You’ll notice brown water coming out of your fixtures. You’ll start seeing rust formation outside the water tank. 

The water heater will start noises such as popping, vibrating, or rumbling. You’ll also find pooling water around the base of your tank.


Sadly, once the water heater starts deteriorating. There’s no going back from this. It’s possible to replace an existing water heater without professional help. 

It’s safe to call a plumbing company for this.

Your Water Heater Has a Corrosion Problem

The chemical reaction between metal, water, and oxygen is called corrosion.

Copper and steel together with water cause electrochemical reactions. That makes steel corrode at the point of connection. Water heating units have many features to stave off corrosion. However, as the heater ages, corrosion starts to develop. 

It results in rust. Low maintenance can cause rust formation inside new water heaters as well. 


Unfortunately, corrosion inside the water heater is irreversible. 

You can however avoid corrosion issues by changing the sacrificial anode rod. The anode rods are metal rods normally attached to the top of the tank. They are “sacrificed” to keep the water heating tank in its prime.

If the corrosion continues, replace the water heater. 

Replacing the damaged heater is the best way to prevent future leaks. Make sure you’re using the right wire for your water heater while installing it. 

Sediment Build-Up inside Water Heaters

Water contains natural minerals. Those minerals are deposited at the bottom of the heater tank. 

Sediment that settles at the bottom is calcium carbonate. Too many of these minerals form the water to appear brown. 


Have your water tank flushed once per year. It’s the only way to delay corrosion formation. You can use a tank rinser to avoid this problem from forming. 

Wondering which tank rinser you should get? Here are some suggestions for you:

Product 1
Product 2

Now that you have your tank rinser, let’s get to cleaning up your water heater.

Water Heater’s Galvanised Pipe Is Decaying 

Galvanized pipes are protected by zinc covering. Running Brown water is a sign of deterioration of the galvanized pipes.

The oxygen in water causes the zinc coating to rust. Eventually, the oxygen rusts the iron or steel. 

When you run water through the pipes, the rust washes off. This causes brown water to flow.


To solve this, your home’s water lines need to be checked by a plumber. He’ll determine if a replacement is needed or not 

Importance of Maintaining The Water Heater  

Annual maintenance of your water heater is important. It helps stop the calcium from building up into large rocks. Those rocks can get stuck in the system and interrupt water flow. 

It also prevents unwanted leaks and running water sounds

Flushing your water heater annually is a part of maintenance. Proper maintenance is crucial. It prolongs the life of the water heater.  

On average, well-maintained water heaters can have a life span of 10 to 15 years. 

Since you know the solution, you can prevent brown water from flowing through your faucet. Although it isn’t that worrisome to drink rusty water, it can be a sign of future water heater problems.


Question: How long does it take for brown water to go away?

Answer: Brown water caused by sediment build-up takes about 4-5 minutes to clear up. Turn on the faucet and wait until the brown water drains away. But in some cases, it takes several days. Get your pipes checked by a plumber if that happens. 

Question: Is brown water from the water heater dangerous?

Answer: The short answer is no. Brown water from the water heater doesn’t have any harmful chemicals. Showering in that water wouldn’t cause any serious problems either. But it’s better not to consume that water. 

Question: Should I flush my water heater?

Answer:  Yes, flush your water heater at least once per year. Brown water from faucets is disgusting. To get rid of any sediment, turn on all your faucets and let them run for a few minutes. That will flush the brown water away. 

Final Words 

Nobody wants to see brown water after draining the water heater. It can be disturbing and scary. Now you know why your water turned brown after draining the water heater. 

Make sure to drain your heater in the right manner. It’ll reduce the chances of producing brown water.

Thank you for your precious time!