From time to time I get rusty-looking water at home. Sometimes I can even see little specks of rust floating in the water. What is the cause of this, and what should I do when it happens?

Red water, named after the red or black rust specks you asked about, sometimes occurs when there is an increase or change in water flow, largely caused by water main breaks, fire hydrant activations, and flow direction changes.  These occurrences knock off small particles of rust and stir up sediments in the pipes. It is a temporary condition that usually clears up in a couple of hours.  If possible, you should refrain from using water -- for laundry, dishes, cooking and drinking -- until the condition clears up.