endless debris

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by michaedt, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    I replaced all my supply lines (galvanized to copper) and in the process drained my hot water tank.
    I now seem to have an endless supply of debris...small white chips (I'm guessing calcium deposits). I run the hot water out of my tub faucet into buckets until the chips stop coming, but then I have to start all over again the next day. My faucets keep getting clogged (especially the kitchen).
    Is all this debris coming from the hot water tank? There certainly should not be debris in the new copper.
    The tank is 11 years old (US Craftmaster) and holds 40 gallons.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
  2. sulconst2

    sulconst2 New Member

    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    old bridge nj
    i think its the hot water tank. had the same problem after i remodeled a bath. ended up being the a.o. smith hot water heater taking a dump.
  3. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    ugh...is it fixable

    I was afraid of that.
    I don't know much about the internal contruction of a tank. What is actually causing the debris?
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    11 years old places its Mfg. right at the time they were having dip tube problems. The tubes were dissolving into peices. This is what it sounds like but the symptom, along with the chips, is normaly hot water for a short time or luke warm water.

    Do you have any of these symptoms?

    Try placing the chips in vinegar and see if they dissolve.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
  5. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    symptoms

    Oddly enough, yes, the hot water does not last as long as it used to. However, this is a very recent problem....only after the supply lines were changed last week.
    Overall, however, the water is hot and lasts long enough for a long shower...I just notice a bit of a difference (not as hot for as long a time period).
    I'll place a few of the chips in vinegar to see if they dissolve.
    Thanks!!!
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    It can't be the tank as it is glass lined steel.

    You doing the work and the chips appearing are just coincidence.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
  7. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    info from wife

    My wife (who is more of an authority on showers) informed me that she runs out of hot water every time she takes a shower (even before I changed the supply lines).

    I've soaked the chips for 5 minutes and so far nothing is dissolving at all. I'll keep them soaking.

    Does this add up to a deceased tank?
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
  8. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    1/2 hour and still nothing dissolving. The chips are very brittle.

    If, as I suspect, this is adding up to a bad tank, can someone with experience recommend a reputable brand? I've never been misguided by this forum.

    Thank you
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Your tank is due. I like the Rheem/Rudd line, but there are other good ones. The think Cookie refered to is the T/P valve on top of the tank. It has nothing to do with your current problem.
  10. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Sounds like your dip tube is gone.However at 11 yrs old you could spend a few hundred $ replaceing the tube and the bottom could fall out of the heater next month.

    Time to get a new H/W/H . A.O. Smith is very good !
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The dip tube can be replaced. The peices will stop coming. At 11 years old you should think about replacing the tank. The dip tube repair should be between $100.00-175.00. If you planning on staying in the home for the next 10-15 yrs. I wouldn't put anything in but a Bradford White or Rheem. All the others would be about the same. A.O. Smith would be my last choice. In the past 10 years I have replaced more A.O.s under warrenty than any other brand. Is it gas or electric.
  12. replace it ASAP

    thier was a class action lawsuit on this that ended in
    2000-2001? many, many homes plumbing systems were
    ruined by the dip tube clogging up Delta facuets,
    washing machines and dishwashers.....

    its best to get rid of that tank ASAP and BACK FLUSH the
    hot water system when you do this because your hot water
    pipes are full of this build up jsyt laying dormant in the
    pipes waiting to take a ride up to your appliances..

    it will usually get flushed around when you have high hot water
    demand (two baths going at once, ect , ect)

    So, when you take out the heater, put a trash can
    under the open hanging pipes and then stop up a couple of faucets
    throughout the home at the areators...with toilet paper.

    then turn on the cold water and turn on the hot side

    the cold water will rush back through the hot lines and blow out
    most of this plastic sediment in your lines...back down into the trash can
    that is waiting to catch it all at your open water heater. pipes..

    blow out about 5 =10 gallons and the results will
    be visible in the water..

    dont wait too long or it will cost you for other repairs.

    dishwasher repairs and washing machines arent cheap
    to fool with.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2006
  13. michaedt

    michaedt New Member

    Messages:
    34
    Thank you

    Thank you all so much for your great advice!
    I'll search for a new tank as soon as I finish work today.
    Thanks again!!!

    By the way, the tank is Gas.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2006
  14. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    It's the dip tube . It's all dip tubes and ball bearings now. ( Any Chevy Chase fans out there?)

    Yes, if it were mineral deposits, they disolve in vinegar. The dip tube is fairly easy to replace. The tank can be flushed. If the flakes got into some of your cartridges, they may have to be replaced.

    At 11 years old, the tank is on the cusp. Since you are going to have to do a system flush either way, it might be money well spent to get a new tank at this time as well.
  15. mrjetskey

    mrjetskey New Member

    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    Texas
    Yes and by the way has anyone else noticed how much the cartridges have increased in price?I just bought 2 of the moen genuine and paid 26.00 each for them seems like they were only 12.00 or so at retail just a year or two back!
  16. INTP

    INTP New Member

    Messages:
    13
    I don't know if this has anything to do with your situation, but about a month ago, I had to shut the water off to fix a hose bib. When I turned it back on, it must have affected the hot water tank, because right after that, rust colored debris started coming out of the hot water lines, generally in the bath tubs.

    Then about a week or so later, the tank started leaking...a slow leak that I didn't notice right away, and wasn't pretty to clean up (mildew). When I saw the debris, I thought I'd start looking for a new tank, because at 12 years old, I knew it was close anyway. Turns out I wated too long.

    I've read about people who never drain their tanks, then decide to do so, and that can cause them to start leaking. It makes sense to me.

    My point? I saw a sign, but I waited, and ended up regretting it. I won't make that mistake again. Something to think about, anyway.

    Good luck.
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