Black material in water?

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by Larry David, Oct 17, 2019.

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  1. Oct 17, 2019 #1

    Larry David

    Larry David

    Larry David

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    From time to time there is some small black sediment coming from a tub faucet in one of my bathrooms. Looks like it could be rubber or plastic. I also just recently changed a toilet in a different bathroom and this was in the water when after I changed the supply valve. Pictures attached.

    Does anyone know what this may be from and if it's dangerous or not? A local plumber told me it's probably either the cartridge in the tub faucet is deteriorating or it could be from sediment from the water heater.

    Both the faucet/tub and the water heater are 16 years old...

    Thank you!

    upload_2019-10-17_12-3-5.png
    upload_2019-10-17_12-3-21.png
     
  2. Oct 17, 2019 #2

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    Not sure of the source of that black crud.
    It seems to be too much of it to be rubber from a valve cartridge or shutoff valve.

    Yes, it is common for the rubber guts of an old shutoff valve to break down and end up coming out of the fixture, but that seems like an awful lot.

    Meanwhile, I doubt that water heater sediment would float like that.

    16 years is pretty old for a water heater, it could be rusting out by now.
    But I still don’t think the rusted bits would float.

    On a side note, it looks like your toilet tank water level is too high, it is right at the top of the overflow pipe.
    It should usually be a little lower, so it can’t run over and never shut off.
     
  3. Oct 17, 2019 #3

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    There a problem with some of the flexible water heater connectors that caused the problem you are having. The rubber inside the connectors was breaking down.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2019 #4

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    That makes total sense.

    And maybe the same thing is happening in your toilet supply line.

    Change it out, if you haven’t already.
     
  5. Oct 17, 2019 #5

    Larry David

    Larry David

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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    This toilet and supply line / valve is brand new. Just hooked it up today for the first time so I dont think any of the components of that itself could be the source.

    It sounds like you guys think the source of this is coming from the water heater connectors. Can these be changed out to new ones? The water heater still works otherwise.
     
  6. Oct 17, 2019 #6

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    If you do have water heater braided flex connectors, they just unscrew, like a thicker version of the toilet flex supply.

    Meanwhile, flush your water heater and see what comes out, a tank that old needs flushing anyway.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2019 #7

    Larry David

    Larry David

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    I just checked my water heater and it's hard piped in. I dont have any connectors....
     
  8. Oct 19, 2019 #8

    Rossando

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    Check your angle stop valve that supply’s water to the toilet. I get that all the time when I shut off the valve and turn it back on.

    Now for the tub start at the handles is it single or more? If it’s the older kinds they have rubber washers inside. You can usually tell if you have a slow drip or have to turn really hard to shut the water off.

    If it’s none of the above then start tracking down the pipes and see if you can see what’s going on down the line... looks like washer debris good luck
     
  9. Oct 19, 2019 #9

    RenewDave

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    Is your water closet plumbed with hot water? That rules that out. Change the stop to a quarter turn, rules that out. After you do that take a five gallon bucket that is clean and fill it from the stop. See if you get anything after a couple tries. Probably the old stop.
     
  10. Oct 19, 2019 #10

    Diehard

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    Doubtful that it's the water closet when he gets it in the tub also.
    I would say try to track it down by keeping a close eye on all your cold water fixtures. Try to work back to a common pipe, if possible.
    Check your aerators for the same stuff.

    The plumber said, "it could be from sediment from the water heater". :confused::oops:o_O
     
  11. Nov 20, 2019 #11

    Larry David

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    IMG_6086.jpg For the group, I believe I figured out what the issue was.

    The previous owner of the house installed a water filtration system. Water comes from the city, through two sediment filters, then through a carbon filter, then into the house.

    When I bypassed the two sediment filters so water does not go through those red oxidized pipes, the black material has stopped showing up. I believe this was the cause of the problem.
     
  12. Nov 20, 2019 #12

    Jeff Handy

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    Thanks for the update!
    But you could have brought those up a lot earlier.

    Meanwhile, you have to change those cartridges on a frequent basis.
    Your cartridges are probably falling apart.

    I think charcoal has to be changed at three to six months, because bacteria will grow inside it.
    Sediment filters change at six months, or sooner if pressure drops too much.

    I had mine go as long as a year, but they were installed after a softener, the softener did some pre-filtering of a sort.
    And I like to live dangerously.

    You will probably have a hard time unscrewing the filter housings, the o rings really get stuck after awhile.
    There should be a plastic filter wrench around somewhere, it is shaped sort of like a big magnifying glass.

    Close the isolation valves, then push those red buttons to bleed off the water pressure.
    If they won’t budge, call a pro, or you might bust up your whole water line out there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2019
  13. Nov 20, 2019 #13

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    And if those filters are just hanging loose out there, I would put something like bricks or wood blocks under them.

    Lots of stress on those pipes just hanging way out like that.
     
  14. Nov 20, 2019 #14

    Larry David

    Larry David

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    Thanks, Jeff! Yes, I should have brought it up. I am an amateur home owner:)

    I did change the filters a while back but the black material was still showing up even then. When I removed the filters and tested the water, there was still black material.

    It wasn't until I closed the valves and rerouted the water completely bypassing those pipes did the water become clean. To me, it looks like something is in those pipes causing the issues (corrosion or something else breaking down)
     
  15. Nov 20, 2019 #15

    Jeff Handy

    Jeff Handy

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    After a filter change, you should flush the lines to get the loose junk out of the system.

    You can run water out of a cold faucet like at a slop sink.
    Or open just the cold water of the bathtub.

    Do not flush at a faucet with a tight aerator, it can clog and some are hard to clean out.

    You also don’t wan’t the loose crud flowing into the water heater.
     

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