Brown Water in New Renovation Construction

Situation/Problem: Homeowner complains of brownish water and occasional debris coming out of water faucets and shower heads.

This home has both copper piping and plastic piping (PEX – polyethylene flexible tubing).

PEX piping has become very popular in new residential construction since it is very easy to work with, can fit into uneven spots, and is generally 25% less costly. The photo above shows a renovated home where the plumber combined existing copper piping with PEX tubing as new lines were run to changed bathrooms and other renovated areas of the home.

PEX piping does not allow sediment to build up on the interior of the pipe, however, copper does. Consequently, the combination of the two different types of water distribution systems is allowing some sediment to pass through. In addition, the Hot Water tank used solely with the copper system prior to the rehab should have been drained and flushed until clear water appears.   (This draining and flushing process should be performed once a year.) The debris from the hot water tank can also pass through to the end-use point causing concern for a homeowner.