Bits in your water

'Bits' in your tap water

Occasionally, some customers advise they have “tiny particles” or “bits” in their tap water which sometimes can cause discolouration to the water. In most cases this is not harmful and is usually short lived. You can find out everything you need to know below:

  • Dark red/brown colour particles can be caused by:

    • Historical sediments, that have built up over time, being disturbed in the water pipes.

    • Corrosion of service pipes - usually caused by sudden changes to direction or flow rate of the water within the mains, for example when there is a sudden higher demand.

    • By planned or unplanned work to the water supply network, which has caused sediment in the pipes to shift.

    Small dark grey or black particles are often caused: 

    • If your pipework is made from lead, small dark grey or black particles can occasionally be caused. This is most likely if your house was built before 1970. Find out more about lead pipes.
  • In some cases, ‘bits’ in your water can be associated with biofilms – this is mould and slime that can build up, especially in and around your taps! Click here for more information on slime and staining. 

    While your tap water is discoloured and/or contains ‘bits’, you shouldn’t run the hot water tap or use dishwashers, washing machines or any other appliances which use your hot water supply.

    In most cases this is not harmful, to resolve the issue follow the following steps:

    • Allow the first incoming cold water tap (usually in the kitchen) to run at a trickle until it clears – why not collect this water and use it to water your plants? 

    • Sometimes this can clear quickly (within minutes), but this can take longer depending on the cause. If the discolouration does not clear, please check with your neighbours to determine if their water is also discoloured.

    • If your neighbours are not affected, this is most likely an issue with your internal pipework. If you think you have an issue with your plumbing, please click here to find a Watersafe approved plumber. 

    • If your neighbours are affected, the issue is most likely due to a burst pipe or planned works in your area. You can check to see if we're aware of an incident in your area. However, if your area is not showing, please give us a call on 0345 672 3723.