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Why Does Oregon’s Water Look & Taste Rusty?

Updated:  |  Published:

Rusty water in Oregon can be natural or from your plumbing
Rusty water in Oregon can be natural or from your plumbing

Have you experienced rusty-looking water in your Oregon home? Are you concerned about whether it may be harmful to your health?

Rusty water can be caused by several reasons, including natural and man-made factors.

In this article, we will explore what makes water in Oregon appear rusty, assess whether rusty water is harmful to your health, examine if rust can damage household appliances, discuss whether you need to replace galvanized pipes, and explain why rusty water can be a sign that it is time for a full home repipe.

What Makes Oregon Water Look Rusty?

In Oregon, discolored or rusty water can result from various factors within a home's plumbing system and the state's unique geological conditions.

Certain regions in Oregon may experience elevated levels of iron in their water sources, causing the discoloration. Additionally, water from wells might contain higher iron concentrations, impacting the overall quality of the water supply.

One prevalent source of rusty water is the presence of galvanized pipes in residential plumbing. Galvanized pipes, commonly used in older homes, are susceptible to corrosion over time, leading to the release of rust particles into the water supply.

corroded old galvanized plumbing
Corroded, old galvanized plumbing

The aging process of these pipes, coupled with the naturally occurring minerals in Oregon's geological makeup, heightens the likelihood of encountering rusty water issues.

For more information on rust and its causes, you can refer to our article on How Does Rust Get In My Drinking Water?


Is Rusty Water in Oregon Harmful to Health?

Rusty water in Oregon is generally not considered harmful to health. The discoloration is often attributed to elevated iron particles in water, a naturally occurring mineral that is not inherently toxic

However, while the rusty appearance itself may not be harmful, it can serve as a visible indicator of potential issues within your home's plumbing system. Rusty water can cause discoloration in your clothes, sinks, and showers, making your water taste unpleasant.

Addressing rusty water is crucial because it can signal underlying problems such as corroded pipes in the municipal water supply or outdated plumbing materials like galvanized pipes, which are prevalent in older Oregon homes.


Can Rusty Water Damage Household Appliances?

Rusty water in Oregon can be particularly problematic when it comes to household appliances.

The presence of rust in the water, especially if left untreated, has the potential to cause staining and corrosion of plumbing fixtures, washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances directly connected to the water lines.

Extended exposure to elevated iron levels in the water supply can lead to the buildup of rust deposits inside pipes and appliances. This accumulation can compromise their functionality over time.


Do I Need To Replace My Galvanized Pipes?

If your rusty water is being caused by galvanized plumbing, it's not a matter of if, but when all your galvanized pipes will need replacing.

Some Oregon homeowners opt for partial repiping and repairs rather than a complete galvanized repiping project. At Repipe Specialists, we believe that partial repairs are a short-term solution that will end up costing you more in the long run.

All galvanized piping will eventually require replacement, and doing it gradually over time will be much more expensive than completing the entire job at once. Additionally, a single leak can lead to more water damage than the cost of a full repiping. We have an article that investigates how to remove rust from drinking water depending on what the source of the rust related problem is.

Most of our repipes are priced between $4,500 for a smaller home and up to $15,000 for larger, more complex projects. Read more in How Much Does a Whole House Repipe Cost. We also offer repipe financing options to help ease the financial burden of unplanned repiping expenses.


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With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One-Stop Repipe™ for your home.

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Still Have Rusty Galvanized Pipes in Oregon? Repipe With PEX

If your water in Oregon consistently appears rusty, it could signify more profound issues within your plumbing system, particularly with galvanized pipes.

Repiping materials such as copper piping or PEX tubing are highly resistant to rust, but we find that the vast majority of our customers replace their galvanized pipes with PEX tubing.

Both copper and PEX are known for their durability, resistance to corrosion, and longevity, offering a reliable solution to the persistent problems associated with rusty water in Oregon.

By investing in a repipe, you not only address the immediate concerns related to rusty water but also ensure a more robust and efficient plumbing system for the future, minimizing the risk of further issues associated with aging galvanized pipes.


Get a Quote for Repiping Your Home

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced the plumbing in over 75,000 homes since 1991 using both copper piping and PEX tubing. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their overall home repipe experiences. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ Process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high-quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have an article that covers repipe cost factors in detail.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and one of our local repipe consultants will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed-price quote.


About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our  One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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