Small dark flakes coming out of faucets?

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by bt2000, Mar 23, 2016.

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  1. Jun 5, 2016 #41

    Mr_David

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    Wow! Buy that plumber Dinner!

    I'm wondering how does that material from the TET gets in the system if the tank fitting is on top. Most of that stuff would settle to the bottom.
    The water flowing through the tee wouldn't cause much turbulence inside the tank to stir it up enough.

    Unless maybe the flow is like the right tank maybe.
    But there is only one port on the tank so even that shouldn't stir it up that much. unless they are floating particles.

    TET.jpg
     
  2. Jun 5, 2016 #42

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    Good question.
    The tank I am referring to is a water well bladder tank. So the rubber would settle to the bottom where the in/outlet is.
     
  3. Jun 5, 2016 #43

    Mr_David

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    I guess I'll just answer my own question.

    The debris doesn't necessarily mean that the bladder in the tank failed.
    When the pressure rises the bladder compresses.

    When a fixture is opened,
    the bladder expands pushing some of the water in the tank, out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
  4. Jun 5, 2016 #44

    Mr_David

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    Man You are quick today.

    Thanks!
    I was referring to the OP's tank.
    and just after I posted that I answered my own question.

    Thanks Mr_David for the not so quick reply. ;)
     
  5. Jun 5, 2016 #45

    KULTULZ

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    The OP stated that his TET was mounted fitting down, didn't he? It is also municipal water so no well tank is present in the system.

    I have read several versions of why the TET should be mounted in any one position but personally believe it should be installed fitting down to prevent any debris/sediment in the system from being trapped in the tank and also maybe not allow the water in the tank to become stale/bacteria ridden.

    I would like to see how all is plumbed @ the WH.

    The well pressure tank description sounds like the install was using the pressure tank as a holding tank ($$$). Regardless, chlorine would still be at strength to damage any rubber parts in the system.

    An H2O2 system would cause less damage to the system and the occupants but is much costlier.

    TET (DHW System) - Install Positions.jpg
     
  6. Jun 5, 2016 #46

    KULTULZ

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    bt2000

    Do you know if your municipality uses chloramine to treat your water?

    It may be more destructive to rubber parts than chlorine (or so I have read).

    Did you address the water pH problem as they tested some of the trash as being copper?
     
  7. Jun 5, 2016 #47

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    Well tanks are aired up so as to almost completely drain all water out before the pump comes back on. So it would be hard for anything to accumulate in the tank.

    TET's are mounted in just about any direction that seems to fit the best. If set up like a well tank, not much could accumulate no matter what position they were mounted in. (Assuming someone keeps them aired up) However I have heard many conflicting responses to how many pounds of air should be in a TET tank compared to the static water pressure. (Which I assume doesn't fluctuate up and down like a well tanks would.)

    If someone started a poll on a TET's tank pressure as opposed to the static city pressure I wonder how many different answers we would get?
     
  8. Jun 6, 2016 #48

    KULTULZ

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    I would think. A diaphragm might be disintegrating but still be functional.
     
  9. Jun 6, 2016 #49

    KULTULZ

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    !!!news flash!!!

     
  10. Jun 6, 2016 #50

    KULTULZ

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    My understanding is that a TET diaphragm does not operate like a well pressure tank and only expands as it allows for thermal expansion and returns as the thermal event subsides.

    :confused: Whole bunch of college words being thrown around...

    As for initial pressure setting, it must match house supply pressure while ensuring the WH is off and there are no thermal expansion events when house pressure is gauged (IMO).

    Amtrol-Extrol_diaphragm_diagram.jpg

    TET Cutaway.jpg
     
  11. Jun 6, 2016 #51

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    I agree, that would make the most sense. That way it has lots of room for pressure or temp spikes.
     
  12. Jun 7, 2016 #52

    Caduceus

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    Many years ago I worked for a company that had a plumber solely dedicated to doing the trims on new construction jobs. After a while dozens of homes were experiencing problems with their thermal expansion tanks failing, some in only a few months. Turns out that he never knew to add pressure to match the house pressure and that was causing the premature failures. The bladder is over stressed and soon ruptures after being installed.
     
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  13. Jun 8, 2016 #53

    KULTULZ

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    The tank is packaged and shipped with a pre-charge, but that is to prevent shipping damage only. Maybe some think it is factory pre-charged for any application... :confused:
     
  14. Jun 17, 2016 #54

    bt2000

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    Hi all,

    Hope you didn't miss me too much. So it's been two weeks since the thermal expansion tank was replaced, and we're starting to get flakes, again. Definitely less than before. These flakes are dark black and smear when you rub them together (pretty much like o-ring material).

    Is it possible that the new thermal expansion tank has failed already? I read through the posts since I was last here, and I don't believe the plumber adjusted the pressure on the tank when they put in the replacement. They unscrewed the old one, then screwed the new one on.

    I attached a diagram of how things are setup. I think a few people were wondering how it looked here. Hopefully that helps.

    Thanks

    setup.jpg
     
  15. Jun 17, 2016 #55

    KULTULZ

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    Did he flush the system thoroughly? It may be that some particulates are trapped and slowly releasing into the system.

    Also-

     
  16. Jun 17, 2016 #56

    bt2000

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    Hi KULTULZ, yeah he didn't flush it, I guess that was an exercise left to us. We've been running the tubs for 30 minutes at a time, over a few days - not sure if that qualifies.

    Yeah I saw that about the pressure + rupturing - I know there is a lot of pressure in the system (the multiple people that have come to try and figure this out have mentioned it a few times) - I'm not sure what the actual pressure in the home is. I'll bring it up with them.

    Thanks
     
  17. Jun 17, 2016 #57

    KULTULZ

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    :eek:

    You have no idea of what your house water pressure is?

    You need to gauge it. Get a gauge at HOME DESPARADO and leave it on a hose bibb 24hrs (preferably laundry sink) to see what is it.

    Do you know if there is a pressure reduction valve on your system or if the water meter has an integral PRV?

    ADDENDUM (Fr)-

    The expansion tank air pressure has to match the home ambient temperature pressure. Water pressure should not exceed eighty pounds at any time.

    I hope I am explaining this correctly. Any question, just ask. Someone here will help you.

    Gauge- Water Pressure Test - Watts 276H300 3-4in Hose Bib Conn.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  18. Jun 26, 2016 #58

    bt2000

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    Hi all,

    The plumber came back, did a thorough flush of the house (did not do that the first time) - this involved taking off all the aerators, mixer valve in the basement, filter off of the tankless hot water heater, hooking up hoses to flush them outside the house. Of course there were those black flakes stuck in all of those areas, like a lot. He said we might still be seeing them for awhile until they all clear out of any other leftover areas. But I'm going to go mad if I see them anymore. I can't imagine where else they could still be stuck throughout the house at this point.

    He checked the house pressure, it's 78psi. He matched the new thermal expansion tank to that. The new one did not appear to be ruptured, judging by the fact that no water leaked out when the air valve was opened.

    Now I've had some time to think about it. He said he's never seen a thermal expansion tank do this before. I'm curious if it was really the thermal expansion tank. Here's what I was thinking:

    Yes it was the thermal expansion tank
    1. The smeary particles seem rubbery - that could have been the ruptured bladder. The metallic pieces could have been the inside lining that corroded off.
    2. The old tank was absolutely filled with these particles when we took it off.
    3. There's really nothing else in the hot water side of the house - the tankless heater was replaced, there are just two small pumps that haven't been replaced. The house has a filter on the water main, doesn't have anything like this in there.

    It was something else (problem is still lurking)
    1. The plumber said he's never seen a thermal expansion tank do this.
    2. I'm not sure if a ruptured bladder would break apart into all these tiny pieces?
    3. Would the inside of a thermal expansion tank start corroding off into tiny metallic pieces as well? (we had those tested by a lab, they said they were copper).
    4. Reading up on this, it seems like ruptured tanks will leak water out the bottom air valve when opened. The old tank did not leak water, just air.

    @Caduceus I know you said you worked at a company where a bunch of these failed - did they fail in this manner of the particles coming out?

    I tried contacting the manufacturer (Amtrol), but they haven't replied.

    Thanks all
     
  19. Jun 26, 2016 #59

    KULTULZ

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    Do you know the pH balance of your water? If acidic and the house plumbing is copper, it may be attacking your pipes (copper residue found in sample). The TET housing is steel.

    The rubber deterioation (TET diaphragm -any rubber seals/washers or rubber lined braided steel hoses) can be as a result of chlorine/chloramines in the municipal water. It is a good idea to stop these at POE.

    There is a particulate filter installed (with see-through bowl) before the WH to hopefully trap any more residue(s) isn't there? What about water hardness/turbidity? Are these being treated? It is a big deal for a tankless WH
     
  20. Jun 26, 2016 #60

    KULTULZ

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    :D FACTOID OF THE DAY :D

    SOURCE- http://diy.blogoverflow.com/2013/02/handling-the-pressure-with-expansion-tanks/
     

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