Looking to remove subtle black gunk from pipes, if possible.

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by celife, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Nov 21, 2013 #1

    celife

    celife

    celife

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    In my basement there is a plastic basic next to the washer into which the dirty water from the washer flows. It also has two faucets...hot & cold.

    For years I've only used the cold water with my washer because the hot water faucet leaked some black gunk. I've tried flushing out my hot water heater to no effect. Also, I'm not seeing it anywhere else.

    I recently tested it to see if I could see it, and there was a very small amount. I filled a clean 3 gallon white bucket with hot water and afterwards could see a very small amount of black "stuff" floating on the surface. The amount, all together, was about the size of a quarter of a pea...very minimal. It was apparently light in weight as well, as it floated upon the water.

    If the hot water was clean I would like to use it to fill my Jacuzzi. I'm currently using a hose from outside, but this cool water takes a long time to heat, and my gas is my cheaper than the electricity that runs my Jacuzzi.

    However, I'm not sure if this can be fixed. I live in a house built in 1948. Do you have any idea what this "stuff" could be? Also, is there any way to fix it, clean my pipes or whatever, so the water runs perfectly clean? Thanks!
     
  2. Nov 21, 2013 #2

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    There was a problem with some braided flexible lines that were used to hookup water heaters. They had a black lining that was breaking down and causing black specks in the hot water. These specks were small and had an oil like texture when pinched between your fingers. We had a apt. complex that we serviced and they were using these flex lines when they replaced the heaters. Don't know were they were getting them from. Once they were removed and the heaters flushed the problem never came up again.
     
  3. Nov 21, 2013 #3

    celife

    celife

    celife

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    Thanks...that exactly describes my situation. Do you know of any site through which I could purchase a replacement part online? Also, what tools would I need for this project?
     
  4. Nov 21, 2013 #4

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    Check with a plumbing supply in your area or have a plumber replace them.
     
  5. Nov 22, 2013 #5

    celife

    celife

    celife

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    Thanks John.

    I noticed there are two braided pipes above the heater (pic attached). Should I replace both of them. If just one, which one?

    Also, could you describe the process of flushing a heater?

    water_heater.jpg
     
  6. Nov 22, 2013 #6

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    Replace both. I would also replace the two galvanized couplings and nipples that connect to the copper with brass.
     
  7. Nov 22, 2013 #7

    celife

    celife

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    Thanks for all of your help. :)
     
  8. Nov 24, 2013 #8

    celife

    celife

    celife

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    I had a plumber take a look and he said these particular braided lines have a clear inner lining, and that the problem was that my water heater was so old...and would need to be replaced.

    I'd rather not spend the $1200 and am not certain. He said that it probably shouldn't be flushed because if it's never been flushed it would negatively impact the seals. But I flushed it anyhow yesterday and the water was actually fairly clear.

    The gunk is only periodic, and my faucets with filters on it catch it...there might be a couple small pieces over the course of 3 months. The basin near my washer doesn't have a filter, so it's easier to spot there. So for now, my plan is to just live with it unless anyone has any thoughts for a fix.
     
  9. Nov 24, 2013 #9

    paulplumb

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    Well I personally have only every seen braided hoses with a black lining. You could try having the braided hoses changed for the sake of few dollars. Or even exchange the hoses for rigid copper. You would be disappointed if the heater was changed and not the hoses only to find the same problem occurring :rolleyes:
     
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  10. Nov 27, 2013 #10

    celife

    celife

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    Despite my plumber telling me to not replace the lines, or flush the water heater, I flushed it, and replaced the Hot line. It works fine now. Saved $1,200 by not listening to an expert. Apparently the black washers were disintegrating in the old line, causing the occasional gunk.
     

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