(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 47

Thread: Problem with water spots on chrome fixtures

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member mrmichaeljmoore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    128

    Default Problem with water spots on chrome fixtures

    I am having a problem with spots on chrome fixtures.
    I am on well water.
    Location: Connecticut

    Here is my raw water analysis:
    Hardness - 21 GPG (grains per gallon)
    Iron - 0.05 mg/l (ferrous)
    Manganese - ND (not detected)
    pH - 7.3 standard units
    TDS (total dissolved solids) - 472 ppm

    My treated water analysis (done by a local lab):
    Copper - none detected
    Iron - none detected
    Manganese - none detected
    Chloride - 11.9 mg/L
    Hardness- none detected
    Sodium - 110.7 mg/L
    Nitrate as N - none detected
    Nitrite as N - none detected
    Color - 0
    Odor - 0
    PH - 7.8
    Turbidity - 0.3 NTU
    Sulfate - 40.5 mg/L
    TDS - 364 ppm

    My existing water treatment setup:
    1. Big Blue sediment cartridge filter
    2. Autotrol 255/762 48K water softener (installed in 2006)
    3. Big Blue RFC cartridge filter

    I confirmed that water is at 0 gpg hardness at all fixtures using a Hach 5B Hardness Test Kit.

    Attached are some pictures. I hope they help in diagnosing this problem.

    The pictures labeled Basement Shower (on the beige tile) show fixtures that have been in service only for a few months.
    The pictures labeled Upstairs Shower (on the white tile) show fixtures that have been in service for a few years.
    As you can see, the spotting/scaling on the Upstairs Shower fixtures is much more extensive.

    On both fixtures, I was able to scrape away some portion (not completely, some spots could not be removed by scraping) of the water spots using my fingernail. I attached a picture of the Upstairs Shower Valve after I scraped it....Does that give any indication as to the source of the spotting/scaling?

    I tried to clean the Upstairs Shower Head valve chrome handle with CLR.
    I put the handle in undiluted CLR and let it sit for about a minute,
    I wiped the handle with a sponge. Rinsed with cold water. But the spots still remained.
    I soaked it again for about a minute. This time, I scrubbed it with a green scrub pad. The spots came off, but it did leave some faint scratch marks on the handle. So, I wont be using the green pad anymore.

    Thanks for the help anyone can provide.
    If you need more info to help diagnose the problem, let me know and I will get it to you....

    mm
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  2. #2
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,471

    Default

    Find some one to do a silica test.

    Some of the spots remind of a friend that has a black 4x4 chevy,, mid 70's and it would end up with white spots.. after double and triple checking the softener they he had in place and making sure that it was working and changing out the resin .. the spots continued . That is when we found silica at some thing like 70ppm....

    Hard water spots come off, silica will not or if it does it is often with some thing like a pumas stone.

  3. #3
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,687

    Default

    Forget about using CLR. Track down a product from Wood Wyant called Zolvex. It is a commercial cleaner used in the food products industry.

  4. #4
    DIYer / Mech Engineer ForkWheelDrive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fork, MD
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Mr. Moore, any luck resolving this issue?

    I have been doing my research and scouring the forums and this is one of the only posts I've found that seems to match my problem.

    My raw water tests similar to yours (Iron & Hardness, TDS around 500) and I've been running a ProFlo-SXT Softener (new in Sept 2011) and getting this white spotting and buildup all over my newly installed bathroom fixtures. My treated water tests soft and has a TDS around 500. The white buildup left behind tastes undoubtedly salty.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

  5. #5
    Water systems designer, R&D ditttohead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,707
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Are you on a well? If so, please let us know what your most recent water testing showed. I assume you had a full proper water test done prior to drinkingthe water or breathing in the steam of an unknown water source. If you have not had a recent test, then their is no answer. Your TDS is 500 ppm, that is not unusual but that high of a tds will always leave spots. If the spots do not wipe off easily and your water is soft, you need to check for silica and other items as well. If the spots wipe off very easily, then it is likely just sodium which is easily dissolved back into the water. Lets see your water test.

  6. #6
    DIYer / Mech Engineer ForkWheelDrive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fork, MD
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Ditto thanks for the quick reply on this year old thread...I am hoping to find out what this turned out to be in the original poster's case so I have an idea of what to test for. I guess I'm just trying to gather as much info as I can before I start my own thread on this.

    But since you asked...I am on a shallow well (60ft) that was tested for any volatiles during the home inspection. The house was built in the 50's and I believe this is the original well (pump is probably 10 years old). We moved in a little less than a year ago and immediately renovated the only bathroom in the house. Upon turning the water back on, we were seeing iron on the new fixtures/oxidizing in the toilet bowl.
    I had a local well water company come out and perform their on-site tests which indicated the approx. 25 gpg of hardness, iron, and some acidity (this was all they told me). They installed a softener and neutralizer which took care of the iron we were seeing on the new fixtures. In the months following the install of the treatment system, the white buildup has occurred as described above. The well company has been less than helpful with troubleshooting it so I am now trying to learning the mechanics of the treatment system to fix it myself.

    I purchased an HM Digital TDS meter after the well company was out and told me that TDS was low and I knew it couldn't be. The 500 ppm TDS reading is coming from my EZ Meter (@25C). The TDS of the treated water was at 600 but I bypassed the neutralizer which dropped it to 500 from the lack of Ca & Mg being added (no sign of iron so far either).

    I have not had a full metals/inorganics/physical factors test done (I have been looking into that this week). What should I be paying for a full water test? A local lab I checked is approx $400 and I want a raw sample and a treated sample, so would that be $800??

    The water does test soft (from the well company and a test strip I used). The spots/buildup does not wipe off at all with water or clr. Thank you!! Please advise...

  7. #7
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Posts
    6,792

    Default

    I wouldn't spend $400-$800 chasing this. Since you have a shallow well in MD, I'd test for chlorides and sulfate to see what they are. That won't tell you what the material is that is causing the problem but they are suspects. Then I'd try various cleaners until I found one that easily removed the stuff and use it at least weekly.

    I'd also check that my softener was using the highest salt efficiency possible and if not I'd reprogram it so it was. You can learn how to do that at the link in my signature.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  8. #8

    Default

    It may be that your softener is just not set up properly or you have a trickle of water running somewhere that the softener is not metering. Most common locations are toilet tanks and outside hydrants. Check to make sure the water level is completely below the down-tubes in the toilet tank and inspect all plumbing drips. If not, adjust. Just 0.1 gallons per minute is 144 gallons per day. Shut off household water (at full pressure) for a couple of hours, go out to dinner and when you return, turn the water back on. If you you a rush of water --even briefly--you are losing pressure somewhere. The your softener runs out of capacity before it 'thinks' it should, your water heater fills up with hard water and leaves spots and any future softened water won't wash away those results. Eventually, the spots become permanent, equipment tarnished, and thems da pits, man.

    To remove those newly landed spots, try a citric acid such as orange juice, lemon juice or vinegar. Hell, even a Margarita should do it! Acids dissolve bases. Beside, you probably have those already bought and in supply!!!

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Posts
    6,792

    Default

    I'd also try CLR or Barkeepers helper etc..
    Last edited by Gary Slusser; 02-04-2012 at 07:55 AM.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  10. #10
    DIYer / Mech Engineer ForkWheelDrive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fork, MD
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Gary, thanks for the tips. That seems reasonable. I will look into chloride, sulfate, and possibly silica in the raw water. It may be worth noting that the issue is primarily in the shower (I have read that silica will seperate at higher temperatures such as in the hot water only). The hot and cold softened water both test at 500 ppm TDS (@25degC). In regards to the chloride and sulfate, I have a chemistry question: If the raw water contains excess amounts of chloride or sulfate, could that bind with the sodium ions from the softener resin and enter the supply as Sodium Chloride (NaCl) and/or Sodium Sulfate (Na2SO4)? Could either of these compounds be the buildup that I am seeing? I am still learning so please correct me if I'm wrong.

    WaterSolutions, I checked around the fixtures and in toilet bowl and I am fairly certain I don't have any slow drips. We are currently remodeling the kitchen, so the only water usage in the house one full bathroom so that narrows down the possibilites. I have replaced all the plumbing in the house since moving in and I know there are no pipe leaks either.

    I have thought of the softener losing hardness removal at high flows, such as the shower, which could explain the buildup in the shower and lack there of at the toilet and sinks. The shower is currently the only high flow draw in the house; however we are planning to install a dishwasher, washing machine, and fridge soon. I am concerned that this issue will destroy these appliances. The well company tested the hot water for hardness but I'm not sure how long they let it run before testing. I know that the hot water tank could fill with the hard water in this scenario so that hard water could come immediatley when hot water is turned on. I will try to test the hot water in the shower after about 15 minutes run-time and see if hardness is present - couldn't hurt.

    Below are photos of the shower where the buildup issues are most prevalent. The fixtures and tile are less than a year old and have been using the treatment system since they were installed. I think the tile would be ruined if I hadn't have installed white. As stated before, the buildup is not easily removed with water, bleach, or diluted CLR. I will try higher concentrated CLR, Barkeepers, and Vinegar. Thank you!!

    Any of this look familiar?? Keep in mind the treated water has always tested soft.

    Name:  DSC07646.jpg
Views: 844
Size:  23.1 KBName:  DSC07647.jpg
Views: 820
Size:  16.8 KBName:  DSC07650.jpg
Views: 812
Size:  27.9 KBName:  DSC07659.jpg
Views: 810
Size:  16.6 KBName:  DSC07662.jpg
Views: 815
Size:  30.3 KB

  11. #11
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    3,687

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ForkWheelDrive View Post
    The hot and cold softened water both test at 500 ppm TDS (@25degC).
    I don't see the value of using a TDS tester. Since the water is being softened by ion exchange, meaning it works by exchanging equal amounts of calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ones, it will read the sodium.

  12. #12
    DIYer / Mech Engineer ForkWheelDrive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fork, MD
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I don't see the value of using a TDS tester. Since the water is being softened by ion exchange, meaning it works by exchanging equal amounts of calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ones, it will read the sodium.
    I see your point. I bought the tester because my well water company told me that TDS was "low" when they were trying to identify the buildup issue.

    They said "Well I see your problem, but the treated water tests soft and the TDS is low, so I don't what the problem is." --As if I was making it up!

    So I got the tester as a quick way to prove that there was a TDS level high enough to cause concern.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmichaeljmoore View Post
    I tried to clean the Upstairs Shower Head valve chrome handle with CLR.
    I put the handle in undiluted CLR and let it sit for about a minute,
    I wiped the handle with a sponge. Rinsed with cold water. But the spots still remained.
    I soaked it again for about a minute. This time, I scrubbed it with a green scrub pad. The spots came off, but it did leave some faint scratch marks on the handle. So, I wont be using the green pad anymore.

    mm
    Sometimes high dollar fixes are not the solution.

    Boy, those hand-rub bronze fixtures will certainly deteriorate in no time at all. Simple test is whether soap lathers up all the time, sometimes, rarely, etc. Is the inconsistencies in this aspect of washing? Shut off the water right at the softener and run all faucets to see if any water is still flowing.
    Last edited by water solutions; 02-04-2012 at 01:08 PM.

  14. #14
    In the Trades Akpsdvan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,471

    Default

    It to me like silica...
    Silica will etch glasses in the dish washer and nothing will take it off, it will leave a white ring in the toilet.

    If it is silica, not much can be done.

  15. #15
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Posts
    6,792

    Default

    Fork, sorry, I can't answer the chemistry questions.

    What was your raw water pH? What size AN filter and is it upflow (without a control valve) or backwashed down flow? What mineral is in it?

    What size is the softener and what is the salt setting? How many days or gallons between regenerations?

    Are there only 2 of you in the house?

    When someone is in the shower, just before they shut off the water, can someone run cold water at the bathroom sink for a minute or two and then collect a sample to test for hardness? If the cold is hard then you are getting hardness into the water heater but, heating water precipitates the hardness out of the hot water in most cases, so you may not see hardness in a hot water sample.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

Similar Threads

  1. Iron- brownish red water stains in and on fixtures
    By flashover821 in forum Water Softener Forum, problems, installation and reviews
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-28-2010, 05:55 PM
  2. Wet round spots around sprinklers problem + Backflow device Q
    By SnappleG in forum Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-24-2009, 01:07 PM
  3. Ceiling spots
    By Barry J in forum Remodel Forum & Blog
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-17-2008, 11:47 AM
  4. SaniGloss finish has developed water spots
    By JeffZX in forum Toilet Forum discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-11-2008, 07:31 AM
  5. Please Help-Water spots soaking through carpet
    By laeverett1 in forum Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Tricks
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-31-2007, 07:16 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •