Flushing your Water Pipes

​When you return to your home (or holiday home) after a lengthy period of being away, remember that water will have been left sitting in your household pipes for the time your house has remained unused. Council recommends that you flush your water pipes well, before use, and allow time for your water to clear itself.

It is common for Council to receive calls at this time of year concerning the taste, odour and clarity of reticulated (tap) water. 

It is likely that, while water has sat in the pipes unused, compounds (such as iron and magnesium) will have built up. When you restore the water flow to your household, these compounds become re-suspended and may cause some water discolouration.

Other issues such as taste and odour are also likely to occur (commonly from debris sitting in the pipes), as well as sudden spurts of water due to the release of trapped air. These are all quite normal after water has been sitting unused in the pipes for a period of time and, while not ideal, are not harmful.

Most of these issues can be cleared through flushing the pipes before use.

How do I flush my water pipes?

  1. Turn any outside taps on full flow. Run for one minute, then turn off
  2. Turn the laundry cold tap on full flow. Run for one minute then turn off
  3. Turn on all of the cold taps in the house. Run for one minute then turn off
  4. Turn the kitchen hot water tap on full flow. Run for one minute then turn off

What if we have more than one hot water cylinder?

Repeat step 4 for each hot water cylinder e.g. if one is in the kitchen, run the kitchen hot water tap for one minute, if a second is in a bathroom, run the bathroom hot water tap for one minute.

What if we have a gas hot water cylinder?

Run the hot water tap for one minute.

What about appliances that use water from the reticulated system?

Do you have appliances that utilise water from the reticulation, such as any of the following:

  • In-line drinking water filters.
  • Fridge mounted water dispensers.
  • Commercial dishwashers.
  • Ice makers.

Where the performance seems impaired, consult the operating manual for cleaning or replacing the associated filter. Maintenance is important.

What about my washing machine?

If your washing machine is plumbed directly into the house pipework (i.e. it is not linked to the laundry tub), it is recommended to run a short warm washing cycle without clothing, once a month, to clear the water lines. You should also clear the filters in the hoses regularly.

The Ministry of Health "Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality" recommends that you flush your household water pipes at least twice a year. Allow time for the water to clear itself.

A ‘Flushing your Water Pipes’ brochure, with the above instructions, is available at your nearest Council office or can be downloaded in the link provided at the bottom of this page.

If problems persist, Council can be contacted on 07 8958188.

Page reviewed: 30 Nov 2020 12:54pm