Black Spots in Bathtub.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by BMWGreenRT, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. 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
  2. sunjun

    sunjun New Member

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    1
    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?
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,820
    Location:
    New England
    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.
  5. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    S.E. Idaho
    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.
  6. chris quirk

    chris quirk New Member

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    1
    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~!
  7. spdenning

    spdenning New Member

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    1
    Aluminum vs. Magnesium Anodes

    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.
  8. foxhome01

    foxhome01 New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    North Carolina
    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
  9. 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?
  10. foxhome01

    foxhome01 New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    North Carolina
    They rub and smear. VERY hard to clean (if I even can). Going to try a grease cutting product to see if that helps.
  11. waweez

    waweez New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Black Spots in Bathtub

    Please allow this newby a contribution to the mystery spots thread. My tub is also a sufferer of the dreaded black spot disease. When I found this forum and realized the extent of the problem, I set out to find the best method of getting rid of these spots (Always have loved a challenge).

    I have no solution to the origin of the spots, however, I have discovered an easy method for getting rid of them, once they occur. Get yourself a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser! Get the kind with the blue scrubber side and the Febreeze air freshener. This product took care of the spots easily. No additional cleaners needed. Find them in the laundry/cleaning aisle at the grocery store. You'll love these little sponges so much you won't be able to stop at the bathroom.
    Happy erasing!
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I have seen this exact problem , related to deterioration of the inner lining of a black nylon braided supply line.

    Try this. Do not run any hot water for several hours. Then put a bucket in the tub and run hot full blast. See if you get any blackish stuff in the water.
  13. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have also seen this problem cured by HJ's suggestion of replacing the magnesium anode rod with an alumininum one...
  14. Mama1

    Mama1 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    I have the black stuff too, but...

    Our tub has had this problem for over a year now. It only comes out of the hot water tap and once out of the shower head. The only thing different is that we don't have a regular water heater, we have a tankless heater, or an "on-demand" system. I don't know if that makes a difference in what is possibly causing the problem.

    Also, and I don't know if this is related but our hot water tap for that tub has always had poor water pressure. The cold is fine and all of the other faucets and the other shower has great pressure but the tub has slow pressure only on the hot water.

    Anyone??
  15. Rob003

    Rob003 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Black Spots in Bathtub - Possible solutions

    Same problem here. I have a 2 year old home with a water softener and hot water heater expansion tank. I would like to know if everyone involved have either of these additional items.

    I contacted my builder's plumbing company and they told me that the black particles are dead bacteria in the hot water heater. The cause is due to the hot water heater being set to high (would like to know for those affected if their setting is above the med temp (B) or not. Solution was to drain/flush the tank for 10 mins and set the temp gauge between (A) and (B). (I did but still see particles sometime - not sure if I flushed the tank well enough).

    My gut is telling me that it has to something to do with the expansion tank. For awhile, my water softener was set at a higher than normal setting and I believe that this may have damaged the expansion tank. I will do the tap test (as someone suggested) this evening and see if it sounds like the tank is full of water (if so, the tank is bad) and I will replace.

    Lastly, the best solution to remove the black marks from you tubs is from the automotive section at your Wal-Mart or car parts store. Look for Bug and Tar removal/cleaner. It comes in aerosol and spray. It really cleans up the mess and doesn't appear to harm the fiberglass finish.

    I hope this help and if anyone resolves the problem, pls let us all know.

    Rob003
  16. ladysawfan

    ladysawfan New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Plumber says black spots are broken up washer

    he asked me to run the water from the tap for 10 minutes and see. it workd so far only 1 black spot instead of hundreds. i dont want to have to do this every time, however. the faucet is a big one and runs a lot of water. and this seems to happen if you dont use the tub for about 2 weeks. i travel, so when i am out of town it doesnt get used.
  17. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    \\

    Seems to be much agreement that it is rubber deterioration. Classic symptom is that if the faucet is used freqently, the disintegration is gradual and not noticed, but when undisturbed for hours or days, then the tap turned on...a great deal of the material breaks loose.

    The places you would find a rubber lined hose are the water heater flex connector, and if this is a roman tub...there might be such a hose under. Have you checked either of these?

    Certainly a rubber washer like in a tub valve could also be the problem. Is it a single handle tub/shower valve? Likely not rubber. But if it is a 2 or 3 handle, take out the hot stem and inspect for a rubber washer.
  18. diyer63

    diyer63 New Member

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    1
    Black Specks that wil not go away

    I too have same problem and just ran across this site....I've read all the posts, and still appears that there is not a permanent solution. These little black dots/specks are extremely hard to remove from fiberglass tub & surround. I've used bleach (although hesitant too since have septic system) and other cleaning supplies but still will not remove unless I actually use my fingernail and "pick" / scrub them off.

    These only appear in the bath in the basement. The house is 10 years old and the water heater is only a few years old now. No rubber gaskets anywhere in plumbing that I know of (except for O-ring to seal water filter and that is brand new).

    I certainly think that it is a micro-organism of some sort as others have suggested, but am stymied as to why no cleaning solution, esp. bleach does not even "touch" these things.

    Many of these are on the shelf of the surround where what does not hit so do not think it is coming from water heater or the water itself. Also, the hot water, as well as cold, appears crystal clear in a glass.

    This almost looks like black over-spray from an aerosol paint can, if that helps.

    Thank you for all your help.
  19. pd

    pd New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Same "greasy" black spots -Gone (maybe for good??)

    After reading these posts & talking to AO Smith water heater support the only
    source of rubber in my copper H20 supply is the plex connectors. AO Smith said the Anode usually causes "smelly" water.

    I replaced the plex connectors with flex copper connectors and no more specks in the hot water to the washer or the bathtub. I will give this at least several weeks before declaring a solution but all is ok after getting rid of the plex which was in sorry shape on the interior.

    The specks,flecks I had were black floating which would smear on the porcelain
    very difficult to cleanup. So far several hot water tests in the bathtub & washer
    with not repeat of the problem.
  20. foxhome01

    foxhome01 New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    North Carolina
    This has been and on and off issue for us. We first noticed these smear-like specks about a year ago. Replaced expansion tank and anode rod. Came back a few months later and brought along larger specks but these larger one's didn't smear.

    We wound up replacing the PRV on the main line thinking it was the rubber from there (but honestly, it didn't even look that bad) and while we don't have the large specks any longer we still see the smear-like specks in the bath tub and dishwasher.

    I think I will say that it's no where near what it used to be...but it's not resolved. We are starting to see the black specks also on hand rags that we would use in the shower and the tub (it's not mold, which I thought could have been the case...too many rags it's happening too) ODD...very ODD. Especially since we can't really see them until afterwards. We can't see it when we run the tub/shower. It sort of just shows up and is there ready to be smeared. :p

    I had lowered the water heater some since it's summer time and within a week of doing that we saw an increase in the smear-like specks. Increased the heat and there's a decrease but still exists.

    I'm not sure there's been any resolution for some folks dealing with this.

    As for cleaning the buggers, the only thing I found that works is soft scrub but I have to scrub real hard to get it removed.
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