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Thread: Black Spots in Bathtub.

  1. #16
    Plumber/Gasfitter dubldare's Avatar
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    Expansion tank has given up the ghost.

    I've seen this on relatively new (2-3 years) tanks that are installed on the hot line.

    Those smeary black bits are a nightmare, no doubt.
    --Customers of plumbers: Never be afraid to ask for proof of licensure of the plumber servicing your equipment. A licensed plumber will be proud to show you his personal license.--

  2. #17
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Who was it that said plumbing was easy?

  3. #18

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    If it were a microorganism, it'd have a better chance of surviving in the cold water than the hot. Dunno.

    My sister had a pink tinging problem in her new shower's grout. I read here that this could be a type of mold.

    I've also heard that pink tinging in the toilet could be a sign of rust in the water. M I wrong? Is that rust yr seeing in the sink? Weird that it'd smear, though. Dunno.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

  4. #19
    DIY Member khayes's Avatar
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    Hi - sorry to be so late jumping in this thread, but I'm having the same problem with tiny black greasy spots. We've noticed the problem in my wife's bath - it seems to be hot water related - and we're noticing some spots on clothing from the washer. I had a plumber out and he said that we need to replace our hot water heater. It's only 8 years old. I drained a pan of water from it and it has the same black substance. I haven't noticed this in the showers, but maybe the shower head is filtering it, or maybe it's just washing down the drain before I see it.

    Now for my question - I went to check water heaters and they are telling me that I also have to replace my existing expansion tank. Does that sound right?
    Do those tanks go bad as well?

    What about the anode rod - could it be a factor in the black spots? If so, should that be replaced with a different type whenever we get a new heater?

    Thanks.

  5. #20
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Don't know if this would help, but it won't hurt.

    Turn the WH off, flush it out as well as you can until it runs clean. Fill it back up, turn it back on, set it to as hot as it will get and let it sit overnight. Then, turn it off again (you can shower, etc in the morning), flush it again. Then, see what happens.

    I've read that sometimes if you are using a flexible connection on the supply to the WH, some have rubber internally, and it can degrade. Replacing them might solve the problem if that is the case.

    Expansion tanks have a rubber bladder in them, and yes, it could be bad as well...they do eventually wear out. I suppose the black specs could also be coming from the breakdown of the rubber in it as well. If you knock on it, it should sound hollow (empty). If it is full of water, it's probably shot. It should be mostly filled with air. It has an air valve on the bottom (like a car tire). If you have the water supply to the house turned off and have opened a valve to relieve any pressure in the house, you can check the air pressure in the expansion tank. If you get water out of the valve, the tank is shot, replace it. If not, verify the pressure. It should be about the same as your normal water pressure. If you don't know that, pick up a guage from a big box store for about $10, and check it first. It will fit onto any hose connection - the washing machine, an outside faucet, the drain from the WH, etc., or anywhere if you buy an adapter to screw it on.

    Note, the expansion tank should be on the cold inlet, not on the hot side of the tank. If it is on the hot side, it has other problems, and will die sooner, and give other problems.

    Since you have an expansion tank, you probably either have a pressure reduction valve, or, less likely, a check valve to the house. The prv has rubber in it that could also be shot and spewing black specs into the water stream.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #21
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Old braided stainless feed hoses, rubber lined, may be the problem.

    See "Black Greasy Particles in Bathtub Water!" thread. Search on "particle" or "greasy".


    david

  7. #22

    Default black spots in my bathtub

    I am having the exact same problem--black spots in my bathtub only with hot water.
    Did you ever find out what it was, correct it?

  8. #23
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Here is your pink/orange ring around the toilet or stained grout... Its not mold its Serratia Marcescens Bacteria.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serratia_marcescens

  9. #24
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Rubber, when it gets old, breaks apart and the particles are black and oily. It could come from the WH if they used flexible lines to connect it. Most tub faucets don't have flexible hoses, so it probably isn't there. Most likely is the WH.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #25

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    My vote's for disintegrating rubber. I recently repaired a water heater that had been poorly grounded. When the lower element fried, it shorted through the flex connectors and melted all four rubber washers. The renter said she had black water coming out of the kitchen faucet. Of course, it was also busy flooding the basement.

    I've heard similar stories about the braided water heater connectors lined with rubber. If that's the case, get rid of them.

  11. #26

    Default Black specs in tub from water heater

    Jim...I have the same problem! I thought at first it was mold or mascara the I relised that its coming from the water.

    I have been working with my builder to find the problem but they don't know. The black oils substanse is coming from the connection at the copper pipe and water heater. If you unscrew the brass connection at the hot water heater you will notice its building up there. If you rub your hand accross it it wil show up all over your hands.

    We have replaced the connection but now its coming back. I have no way to look at the connection since the connection can not longer come off due to the connection which was used.

    I beleive the black specs are coming from the galvanised pipe going into the water heater. Its coded with a white plastic however it may not be secure and lets in water to create the chemincal reaction needed to produce this.

    I am glad I am not alone~!

  12. #27

    Default Aluminum vs. Magnesium Anodes

    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Do you have a water softener? It appears to be the magnesium sulfide specks caused by a reaction of soft water with the water heater's anode rod. If so, then either remove the anode rod, or replace it with an aluminum one.
    I have a brand new home as well... same issue with black specks in tub. My builder's plumber has indicated that it is the water softener causing issues with the anode. Sounds about right since we have no rubber parts and/or much copper (just elbows) in the plastic piping (tech term for this?).

    My question is about replacing the anode with aluminum. I have read that magnesium is better, but if it is just the magnesium that is causing the black specks, then will aluminum really fix the problem?

    We never had this problem in our old house (which was also new build), but I used potassium chloride in my water softener instead of sodium chloride (salt). Potassium chloride is really hard to find (not impossible), so I decided to use regular salt which is in just about every store (Sears, Target, Home Depot). But then again, maybe the water heater in that house had aluminum anodes to start with.

  13. #28
    DIY Member foxhome01's Avatar
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    Default Any Resolution?

    Hi! I'm so glad that I found this thread. For those of you who have dealt with this issue, any chance you ever figured out what the problem was?

    We just recently started having similar issues. We had a plumber come by and he has absolutely no idea what the black specks are, but took a sample and sent it out for some testing. Waiting on the results.

    In the meantime, this is a real hassel b/c these black spots have invaded our dishwasher and it sticks to anything plastic (including my baby's bottles which I now have to boil spring water in order to clean them properly). The black specks are also appearing in our tubs and showers. Coming out of the faucets too. What a project!

    Any guidance on this is grately appreciated.

    Christine

  14. #29
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Expansion tank disintegrating
    Water heater in need of cleaning
    Defective washer(s) in a faucet



    When you see these specks, can you rub them and smear?

    Or do they stay hard and stay as small pieces?
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  15. #30
    DIY Member foxhome01's Avatar
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    They rub and smear. VERY hard to clean (if I even can). Going to try a grease cutting product to see if that helps.

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