Why Is My Bathtub Water Yellow? (13 Causes and Solutions!)

Turning on your bathtub faucet only to find yellow water coming out is absolutely revolting. You don’t know what’s wrong and what the reason for that is. So, you stay up thinking: why is my bathtub water yellow?

In fact, many reasons may cause your bathtub water to turn yellow. It could be corrosion, rust, sediment, or high levels of certain elements. According to what causes the issue, you might need to replace some pipes, a faucet, a showerhead, or the whole heater.

Whatever the reason is, this could be an alarming occurrence that doesn’t feel right. However, in most cases, the yellow water isn’t dangerous. Stick around to know more about yellow bathtub water, what causes it, and what the solution is.

Why Is My Bathtub Water Yellow?

As repulsive as it looks, bathtub yellow water is common. It happens for many reasons, most of which aren’t even that alarming. Solving this problem isn’t hard either.

Here are 13 reasons why your bathtub water is yellow:

1. Rusty Plumbing

Of course, rust is the first thing that comes to mind when seeing yellowish water. Normally, small amounts of oxygen and iron already exist in water systems. When these amounts increase to higher-than-usual levels, the water coming out of the faucets turns yellow.

If this happens with all your house’s faucets, this is probably an issue with the plumbing. To be absolutely sure about it, leave the water running for a while and see if it clears up.


Usually, the water clearing up after a few minutes is a sign you may need to replace those rusty pipes. Doing so should take care of the matter and turn the water’s color back to normal.

2. Water Heater Sediment

Another reason for yellow bathtub water is water heater sediment, which accumulates over time at the bottom of its tank. Mainly, this happens due to rust and corrosion. You can easily detect this issue by running hot and cold water alternately.

Remember that you have to check more than one faucet around the house. If the cold water running down the same faucet is fine while the hot water is discolored, then, this is a problem with the heater itself.


Flushing or draining the heater every couple of years should do the trick and restore your water’s clarity.

3. Rusty Faucet

This is a simpler and easier-to-contain reason than the others. By applying the same detection method in the previous point, only the rusty faucet should produce yellow water. In this case, it surely is a problem with the faucet or the showerhead.


Replacing the rusty faucet or showerhead should instantly turn the water back to normal.

4. Rusty Water Supply

Sometimes, yellow water isn’t a result of an issue within the house. Contrarily, there could be something wrong with the main water supply.

Test all the house’s faucets by running cold and hot water. If the problem persists, it’s an indication that something’s up with the water source.


Contacting the water company and consulting with them is always a good idea. It could be a temporary matter that they’re working on. Otherwise, installing a water filtration system for your home helps minimize discoloration and enhance the taste.

5. Aerated Hot Water

This happens when air enters the hot water pipes due to poor sealing. It causes water to turn yellow and smell unpleasant.


To fix this issue, you need to determine the location of the leakage and remove the air source.

6. Iron Bacteria

Iron bacteria are more common in water systems fed by wells. That’s because these bacteria normally thrive in still water. They cause discoloration, staining on water fixtures, and unpleasant odors. In severe cases, the bacteria can even turn water red or brown.


Ideally, regular system flushing should help clear things up. Additionally, water chlorination helps too.

7. Excessive Bromine Levels

If you use a bromine spa system, then checking the bromine levels is highly recommended. That’s because excessive levels of this element usually cause discoloration.


You just need to adjust the water’s pH levels and use a chlorine neutralizer to rebalance it.

8. Construction Debris

This happens especially when you move to a newly constructed or renovated house. As a result of demolishing and rebuilding, water lines can collect residue. This, in turn, causes water to turn yellow.


You may need to wait it out. If the water doesn’t clear up in a few days, you should consider flushing out the heater and water lines.

9. Too Old Heater

Old age is a common reason for water heaters to cause contamination. Aged water heaters tend to leak magnesium and aluminum particles. This contributes to the yellowing of the hot water.


If the water heater is older than ten years, it’s best for you and your family to replace it with a new one.

10. High Chlorine Levels

Hypochlorous acid is a weak type of acid that forms when you dissolve chlorine in the water. Usually, this acid causes water to turn yellow, especially hot water.

That’s because hot water is more likely to transform into steam during a hot shower, which causes chlorine to concentrate. That’s why hot tap water should contain lower chlorine levels than cold water.


Installing a house filtration system helps control the chlorine levels as well as filter out harmful bacteria. An ultraviolet radiation system is also a good solution.

11. Decomposing Organic Matter

Organic matter, like twigs and tree leaves, can enter your water system, settle into your heater tank, and decompose. This results in water discoloration and foul smells.


Seeking the help of a professional is always a great idea to assess the situation and suggest a suitable solution.

12. Iron Salt Treatment

Some people treat their hot water system with ferrous chlorate or ferric chloride, which is iron salt. It has oxidizing and water-purifying properties that result in reducing unwanted odors as well as staining.

However, it’s possible for iron salt to turn your water yellow. Though harmless, some people find it repulsive.


Consult with your plumber about alternative ways to treat the water.

13. Changes in Water Table

This is another common occurrence in rural areas supplied by water wells. When the water table changes, it allows minerals into your house’s water system, which often causes discoloration.

Although it can also cause water to taste funny, it’s completely harmless.


The issue should resolve on its own once the water returns to its normal levels and stabilizes.

A Final Thought

Water turning yellow isn’t something you can ignore, especially when it happens all of a sudden. This leads you to instantly turn to the internet for answers to your question: Why is my bathtub water yellow?

Several reasons may cause your bathtub water to become yellow. It could be a problem with the plumbing, water source, water heater, or water treatment. Whatever it might be, there’s always a solution for it.

Mainly, it’s always wise to consult an expert when the matter is too challenging for you to fix. You may be able to change a faucet or a showerhead. However, when it comes to a more severe issue, no one can address it better than a professional plumber.

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