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Brown Water Comes Out of Tub Faucet Briefly

I had brown, rusty water coming out of the bathtub faucet in a new home I had purchased. It only came out of the bathtub faucet portion and not the shower head when I pulled the diverter up. It also only lasted for a few seconds before clearing.

What causes this?

Well a visit to the hardware store and a half hour of repairs I figured out why. There is a “nipple” that connects the pluming in behind the bathtub all to the faucet where the water comes out. Someone had used an iron nipple. These rust and when you are not using the shower, the water that is sitting in there behind uses collects the rust particles. This rusty water is the first to come out the next time you use the shower.

The Fix

For your own handyman fix (you really can do this yourself), you need to replace this iron nipple with a brass one (or some other metal).

I needed the following tools and supplies (all available at the hardware store):

  • small pipe wrench
  • teflon tape
  • brass tub nipple (you will want the right size)
  • tile and bath sealant

I removed the tub faucet by just turning counter clockwise (some have a set-screw and slide off). Then I could see what the tub nipple was made of. I used the pipe-wrench to remove it.

Next you wrap teflon tape clock-wise around the threads of the nipple (both ends). Thread it into the plumbing behind the wall until tight. Next put the tub faucet back on until back in the right spot.

Lastly, apply the tile and bath sealant around the faucet where it contacts the tub wall. This will prevent water from getting in behind and you will probably want a mildew resistant one.

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