Black Spots in Bathtub.

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

  1. Nader

    Nader New Member

    Sep 14, 2009
    Berkeley, Ca.
    What are Plex Connectors?

    My question is in response to the post by "pd". What is a Plex Connector? I've done some searching on google and not coming up with anything. Are you referring to the flexible water supply hose?

    By the way, I am so surprised to hear so many people with new houses complaining of this problem. I have an old Craftsman, 1914, and have been thinking that it is the old pipes. But, over the past five years a number of remodeling projects have happened, except there hasn't been any new plumbing installed, just new fixtures with a little bit of copper piping attached to the old galvanized pipes.
  2. Mouse100

    Mouse100 New Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    I have the same problem... only the water from the hot water side comes out with a black tint to it... leaves a black greasy residue all in the tub... it's hard to clean because it smears like eye makeup... We changed out our hot water heater at a cost of $ 300. and it didn't work... then nt husband put a new anti rod or whatever that thingy is called on the new hot water heater.. I couldn't take a bath if I wanted to... water is filled with black greasy stuff... does not happen in shower... I wish someone new how to fix this problem! Also we have city water not a well. I don't understand why it does not happen in the cold water doesn't it all run through the same pipes? Very disgusted with this problem!
    Becky from Texas
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    Nope, HJ and Plumguy pretty much nailed the possible causes.
    It's either magnesium sulfide from your water reacting with the anode in which case an aluminum anode is the fix.

    Or there is deteriorating rubber somewhere. Chloramines used in water disinfection attack rubber causing it to breakdown. It may be from inside a flexible supply for a water heater, an expansion tank, or even valve parts...
  4. ksrountree

    ksrountree New Member

    Aug 30, 2010
    During our research of this problem, we came accross this report out of Florida:

    The report lead us to believe black water from copper pipe corrosion and the resulting residue or sediment from this corrosion, combined with the the use of water softeners had contributed to black spots on our clients bathtub and shower floors. Our client disconnected the water softener and flushed the copper pipes resulting in a fix. This may not solve everyones problem.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  5. worsnup

    worsnup plumbing contractor

    Jun 7, 2010
    plumbing contractor
    phoenix az
    you have plastic or pex water system, its algae and its common in plastic systems in phoenix
  6. gefact

    gefact New Member

    Dec 4, 2010
    Hi Gang,
    I had the same problem and found the answer on another thread. The problem was in the braided lines connecting the hot water heater to the water line. The inside is black rubber and when they get old the insides peel away and release into the water system. I just replaced my hoses and cut one of the old ones opened and the black oily stuff was inside and came off in my finger.

    Hope this helps!
  7. Smoothie

    Smoothie New Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    I have black specks in my bathtub also. They do not spread like mascara. It is more like a hard plastic. It only comes from the hot water heater in my wood furnace. The specks are quite big. You can easily see them and picked them up. They are not metal. Somebody said they had the same problem and they had to replace the mixing valve. What is the mixing valve?
  8. Angie Scarle

    Angie Scarle New Member

    Feb 12, 2012
    Lewisville, TX
    I also have this problem, but it seems worse than the other people. Sometimes it's big chunks of black in the bathtub like charcoal. I have learned to manage it by keeping the pressure & temperature down. However, if someone flushes the toilet, uses a sink, or anything while I am running bathwater, I get loaded with huge chunks of this black coal like substance in the bathtub. My house was built in 1995, and the black only seems to come out of the master bathtub, and one sink that is right next to it. The bathtub is the most noticable. It's really annoying. I have a weird water heater, it had to be special ordered because of a unique venting system. I don't believe it's the water heater, because it's been going on over a year, and I have never seen it in the kitchen sink, dishwasher, or anywhere else in the house. i don't want to waiste money taking things apart, the plummer said I needed a new water heater, but this doesn't seem logical to me. If it were the water heater, why isn't it coming out of all f the faucets?
  9. AndE

    AndE New Member

    Dec 4, 2012
    San Francisco Bay Area
    My hot tub (self contained, heated by electricity) has the problem with sticky black dots (that ruins swimsuits, when we wear them!) which suggests it has nothing to do with water heaters/rods, water softeners, copper pipes, etc. It's second-hand, and probably 10 years old. I'm going to check everything rubber next. Thanks plumber buddies for the suggestion!
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; You mean to tell me this problem is so unusual that no one can help

    It is NOT an unusual problem. In fact it is very common and is often accompanied by the odor of "rotten eggs". My solution is to remove the anode rod and leave it out. That almost always cures the problem, unless it has deteriorated to the point where it has caused deposits on the bottom of the tank, and if so, it is almost impossible to "flush" them out. And just have to wait until they come out with the water's flow.
  11. phostis

    phostis New Member

    Dec 27, 2012
    cary, NC
    Had the same problem as original poster: greasy black spots that smear like mascara.

    Solution: Replaced expansion tank. The old one was, repeat WAS, installed correctly on the cold water line. When the plumber pulled the old one off and stuck a screwdriver into the neck it came out covered in greasy black goo.

    Plumber said has been working since 1967 and this was the first instance of this he'd ever seen. When he rattled the old tank you could hear the water sloshing where it had penetrated the bladder.

    Don't let them tell you you're crazy. This can be fixed.
  12. julielver

    julielver New Member

    Feb 10, 2013
    Lake Villa, Illinois
    I have the identical problem. It only occurs in my bathtub upstairs with hot water, and not in the bathtub downstairs. I saw the particles in the vanity sink next to the tub, but that was just once. It only occurs with the hot water. Lots of them come out in big bursts, especially when we haven't used the tub in a few weeks. We have our own well with a big-blue filter on it. We recently changed the filter, still have black specks.
    We don't have a water heater, we have a Buderus boiler that heats the hot water. We have a water softener. I have a chemistry background and did some tests on the black stuff. i tested for manganese dioxide and iron, no reaction.I used hydrochloric acid to see if it would dissolve, no reaction, so that would rule out many metals. I used an organic solvent like acetone and lighter fluid. I tried burning the stuff in a spoon on top of the stove. No reaction-the stuff doesn't burn like rubber would. That would rule out rubber, I think. I used a powerful magnet, which would detect iron and nickel, no reaction. The article from Florida indicated that magnesium sulfide water reaction with copper pipes would make copper sulfide, but that mineral is blue, not black. It seems to be a mineral of some type. i was just theorizing that since most of the posts here are from new construction, that possibly the interior of the new tub filler faucets using high water pressure and hot water could be the problem. We have an old house from the 1930's. We recently rehabbed the bathroom. We didn't have the problem before the rehab. We got a new tub filler from Porcher (the high end of American Standard). They have since discontinued this faucet line. Any thoughts about this theory?
  13. Pnc

    Pnc New Member

    Nov 9, 2015
    Edmonds, Washington
    I did not start battling the black greasy spots until after a new water heater was installed. It is on the first floor and the tub i use is on the second floor. I haven't noticed it in sinks or anywhere else but i haven't looked super close in the shower.
    Sigh.... What to do?
  14. plumbing conundrum

    plumbing conundrum New Member

    Jan 11, 2016
    Red Deer, Alberta
    Any chance you solved this problem? I have this issue and it is driving me crazy. I can't figure out what the problem is. I will upload a pictur.
    Is there any chance you solved this problem. I have the same issue and cannot figure it out. See the attached pictures. One bath and this was the result. You don't notice it when you run it but afterward it looks like this. image.jpeg image.jpeg
  15. plumbing conundrum

    plumbing conundrum New Member

    Jan 11, 2016
    Red Deer, Alberta
    Anyone solve the black greasy spots issue? I have read several post describing the exact scenario I am facing. Stand alone tub, only occurs in the tub. I have a separate shower in the same bathroom and use it everyday. The issue seems to be isolated to the tub upstairs only. The bathroom downstairs is unaffected as well as all other sinks and toilets in the house. House was built in 2003. Bradford white water heater. Crazy that there is no clear posted answer to this posted issue. Please help me solve this plumbing conundrum! It's not mold or bacteria. It is a grease or deteriorating seal/rubber. This will take me an hour to clean after one bath. Definitely related to the hot water side of the system. Cold water bath water does not leave any trace of the greasy spots. Help!

    image.jpeg image.jpeg
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2013
    If you try a bleach solution with about 10 parts water, 1 part liquid chlorine bleach. If that works quickly, that is fairly diagnostic for mildew/mold. You may have tried that already. Its really easy, so you have not wasted much time if you try and it does not help.

    I would next try flushing my water heater. See if a lot of black comes out. Drain the water heater completely, opening a hot water tap to let air in. Turn on the supply fully for a few seconds and turn it off. Drain. Repeat several times until no color comes out.

    Well water? How is your manganese level? If you don't know, it is time to get a water test. I have not ever seen water with much manganese, and I don't know what the stains/deposits would look like.
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