PDA

View Full Version : white stuff in my faucets



donk
12-15-2008, 08:11 AM
Hi - can someone maybe tell me what these tiny white stone-like pieces are that I find in my aerators all the time? They clog up the water flow. Since about a year or 2 ago I've had to remove and clean the aerators maybe twice a week. Mainly it's the kitchen sink faucet that gets clogged - it's weird that the other 3 bathroom faucets hardly ever get clogged.
So can you tell me what this stuff is, and how to get rid of it?
Thanks,
Donk

jimbo
12-15-2008, 08:25 AM
First thing is to check the date on your water heater. It is often the first part of the serial. If it is a letter code, tell us the brand , or go the the website of that manufacturer to decode.

Anyway, if your water heater dates to the early/mid '90s, you are suffering the infamous dip tube problem. Google dip tube to find out all about it.


To confirm did tube pieces, place some chunks in a teaspoon of white vinegar. The plastic will not dissolve. If your problem is actually mineral deposites, they will dissolve.

Gary Swart
12-15-2008, 09:19 AM
Ditto on the dip tube. My old mid 90's water heater was involved in the bad dip tube problem and I replaced it maybe 4 years ago. About 6 or 8 months ago, I began to notice flushed the tank and shortly after that began to notice the hot water to my washer was extremely slow. Thought it was a bad hose, so finally got around to replacing hoses. Didn't help. Then just yesterday I removed the hose from the washer and found the intake screen was packed almost solid with those white granules. Cleaned them out and problem solved. In you case, I'd check the dip tube.

Redwood
12-15-2008, 12:02 PM
No need to google!
This is probably the best information page written on defective dip tubes!
Defective Diptube Information Page Click Here (http://www.rustylayton.com/htmlxtra/diptube.html)

donk
12-17-2008, 08:28 AM
Thx for the replies. I checked and it does seem I have a disintegrating dip tube in my water heater. It's code is 1995, and the white particles don't dissolve in vinegar.

I'm wondering what to do about it. I will maybe be able to install a dip-tube (with a little help from you guys). I doubt I'd be able to install a new 50 gal tank myself. So a tank is gonna cost me around $300-400. And a new dip tube maybe $30.
So far there's no effect on the amount of hot water we get.

Question: If I replace the dip tube and don't flush the tank, will the remaining particles eventually all come out through my faucet aerators?
Any thoughts on this whole mess will be appreciated.

Thx,
Donk

jimbo
12-17-2008, 01:29 PM
Flushing the tank will help. Otherwise, you may still have recurring problems with clogged aerators, and worse than that...clogged cartridges.

Don't know where you are....if in Los Angeles County, the new water heaters with the flux capacitor will run you closer to $600. Install...$250 to $500 depending on a lot of things.

Redwood
12-17-2008, 04:02 PM
Flushing the tank will help. Otherwise, you may still have recurring problems with clogged aerators, and worse than that...clogged cartridges.

Don't know where you are....if in Los Angeles County, the new water heaters with the flux capacitor will run you closer to $600. Install...$250 to $500 depending on a lot of things.

Flux Capacitor?
Thats the new name for Low-NOX?

kingsotall
12-17-2008, 07:28 PM
Original inventor of the flux capacitor:

http://i303.photobucket.com/albums/nn141/michaelj830/DocBrownB61406.jpg

Probedude
12-17-2008, 08:33 PM
Flux Capacitor?
Thats the new name for Low-NOX?

Nope, it's the Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) ones.

I was shocked when I had to replace mine 2 months ago. I remember water heaters costing $180 and they're now $500!

I think they're just covering their warranties by making you pay for the replacement unit up front.

(google Whirlpool FVIR water heaters)

Redwood
12-18-2008, 05:53 AM
Nope, it's the Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant (FVIR) ones.

I was shocked when I had to replace mine 2 months ago. I remember water heaters costing $180 and they're now $500!

I think they're just covering their warranties by making you pay for the replacement unit up front.

(google Whirlpool FVIR water heaters)

Whirlpool is old news! Check the thread right in this forum.
Google will probably only bring you back here.

In California there is an area that is referred to as the South Coast Air Quality Management District "SCAQMD" where water heaters are required to meet exhaust emission standards. C.E.C. Title 24, and SCAQMD Rule 1121 (10ng/J NOx limit).

http://www.aqmd.gov/

This requirement will probably spread from that area into other areas with air quality problem. If you think FVIR added a headache and cost to water heaters you ain't seen nothing yet!

jimbo
12-18-2008, 07:16 AM
Flux Capacitor?
Thats the new name for Low-NOX?


Not just LoNox. It is Ultra Low Nox, required in LA and certain other counties. I started using that term, because the burner assembly looks like nothing I have ever seen before! It is little large, so they had to take a couple gallons out to maintain height. Models are available in 28,38, and 48 gallons.

Redwood
12-18-2008, 07:42 AM
The State DEP here is mentioning those words...
Ultra Low NOX...
SCAQMD...
I guess we'll be seeing them soon too!
Of course we'll probably be competing with handymen who cross state lines to get a regular FVIR water heater to install illegally while we do it right!

Probedude
12-18-2008, 08:31 PM
Whirlpool is old news! Check the thread right in this forum.
Google will probably only bring you back here.

Thanks - it's old news but they're still using a small intake screen. I'm glad I found out about it before I bought one 2 months ago. FWIW, the water heater rescue page was my source of info. Ironically 3 other people I know replaced their water heater within days of mine going out - I got to educate them all with what I had found out. Only wish I had remembered to check the anode on my old tank seeing that I know that tanks on a water softener eat their anodes quicker.



In California there is an area that is referred to as the South Coast Air Quality Management District "SCAQMD" where water heaters are required to meet exhaust emission standards. C.E.C. Title 24, and SCAQMD Rule 1121 (10ng/J NOx limit).


Thanks for the info. I've been seeing low NOx water heaters for a long time, our 80% furnace from 6 years ago has a big sticker on it saying "CA NOx retrofit complete". I didn't think they were messing with the NOx limits again.

Along those lines, they keep lowering the allowable tailpipe NOx emissions too. Last year I had to put new catalytics in all my vehicles to pass smog since they used to squeak by with the older limits.

L.A. isn't as smoggy anymore compared to what it used to look like when I was a kid.

Cass
12-19-2008, 04:26 AM
It's code is 1995, and the white particles don't dissolve in vinegar.



Since it's 13 years old you may just want to replace it...

theplumber
12-20-2008, 01:11 PM
calcium-magnesium silicate. Produced from impurities that come in from the city water supply. You have no recourse against your water supplier due to the expenses u incur because of it. The white junk is coming from your water heater. Replace it, problem will go away.

Yes it's an expensive fix, but it's the only way you'll get the white stuff to go away for the next 5 to 6 years at the least usually.

Redwood
12-20-2008, 08:55 PM
calcium-magnesium silicate. Produced from impurities that come in from the city water supply. You have no recourse against your water supplier due to the expenses u incur because of it. The white junk is coming from your water heater. Replace it, problem will go away.

Yes it's an expensive fix, but it's the only way you'll get the white stuff to go away for the next 5 to 6 years at the least usually.

Nope it's plastic!

labdaddy
01-05-2009, 07:58 PM
I have a very similar problem. White stuff in the faucet along with the toilet lines. The problem seems to be only in the cold water lines. House is about 7 years old.

Redwood
01-05-2009, 10:56 PM
I have a very similar problem. White stuff in the faucet along with the toilet lines. The problem seems to be only in the cold water lines. House is about 7 years old.

If its cold that has the problem then your problem is very different.

kingsotall
01-06-2009, 05:23 AM
Do the vinegar test labdaddy.

hj
01-06-2009, 05:47 AM
As of last Wednesday, 12/31/2008, conventional gas heaters cannot be sold or installed in the Southern California area.

donk
01-06-2009, 11:01 AM
Hi - I was the original poster here with the white particles clogging my aerators.
Just an update:
I had intended to wait till spring (cold here in Wash, DC) and try to drain and replace the dip tube. But the prob has gotten worse and one of my faucets burst when my wife turned it on and it was completely clogged.

So I have a plumber scheduled to come install a new elec. water heater this Saturday. He said he'd fix the tube for $190, but the heater is 13 years old. A new one will be $685 - sheesh. I could buy it for about $300 at Home Depot, but I just don't think I'm quite up to doing the sweat solder stuff not to mention the lifting, heh. Maybe someday.
Thx,
Donk
PS: oh yeah, I'm hearing that my state MD has recently passed a code requiring that all new water heater installs have a expansion tank. Something about terrorism - OMG how ridiculous. So that might add about $120 to the price. Grrrrr.

Ian Gills
01-06-2009, 11:28 AM
I live in MD near DC too and $685 for a new water heater is a steal, although you have already indicated that this might not include "extras" (so be careful). I paid $800 for mine and expected closer to $1000 to be the going rate.

Removal of the old heater is also a key benefit of having a licensed pro do this for you (make sure it is included in the price). Careful what brand of WH you choose to replace your old one with, consumer reports vary.

I am very glad that I replaced my WH before this new code came in regarding expansion tanks (although I am rather skeptical of whether it exists). I would have been extremely mad to have had to fit an expansion tank on my open system. I think I'll take my chances with the risks posed by terrorism. I guess they're training insurgents to break into our houses and fit new water meters with check valves and PRVs on our systems now while we are not looking eh? I'll certainly be checking my plumber's credentials from now on ;)

Are you sure the person who gave you this information regarding the code is not winding you up? Please do not tell me it was the plumber. If you have a closed system an expansion tank is essential though, whether the code requires it or not.

donk
01-06-2009, 03:44 PM
I heard about the code first from the guy at Home Depot. He wasn't trying to sell me anything. He's just a retired plumber who works there. But then when I was calling for estimates a couple of them mentioned the new MD code. I've been searching the MD plumbing code websites but don't see anything about it.
How would I find out for sure??

The guy at Home Depot said he'd heard it was to prevent a terrorist who lived in a house from spreading chemicals or poison "out" into the main water line? Is that possible? Sounds ridiculous to me - but if I had a nickel for every ridiculous law...... heh.

Donk

jadnashua
01-06-2009, 05:58 PM
My guess is someone is pulling your leg or was mis-quoted. A check valve in a system requires an expansion tank, and doesn't hurt one that is open. Check valves aren't perfect, and could leak whether you have an expansion tank or not (more likely without an expansion tank because of the higher pressures in the system).

Redwood
01-07-2009, 05:04 PM
Terrorist???

I would be in terror if I ever found my self taking advice from smockman...

Do you really thing a good plumber would settle for the chump change Home Depot or Lowes pays...

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f2/Redwood39/smockmanapron.jpg

Ian Gills
01-08-2009, 12:39 PM
How would I find out for sure??

You trust the judgement of the licensed, reputable plumber, which is where their license and reputation really starts to mean something because you will have recourse if something is not done right. That's why they earn the big bucks. For example Michael and Sons in our area are very good and always know the code requirements. But they are not the cheapest.

My town also requires that a permit be pulled for a new water heater. This means the new installation is inspected which would normally raise and require the correction of any code violations. Again a good local licensed plumber would know that my town requires a permit, even though it is the homeowner's ultimate responsibility to make sure a permit is pulled. That's again why he earns the big bucks, by telling me a permit is required and doing it for me.