Black flecks in hot water

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by dprocket, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. dprocket

    dprocket Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas
    I installed a 50 Gal Kenmore, "12 year", 2 anode rod hot water tank in 2012. It's worked fine.

    About 45 days ago, I noticed black flecks in our hot water. The water is no discolored (not rusty or soupy like I've seen from others). It's clear with black tiny dots and an occasional fleck. It certainly does not look like water you'd want to drink. Until I started researching, I was ignorant to the fact that I needed to flush my tank periodically. I decided to flush it and noticed that the problem was about 98% cleared up. (I say 98% because with close inspection I could detect a tiny black dot occasionally. It was certainly significantly better and the wife reported no more issues (In the bath tub is when she could really see the issue). Attached is a picture of a bucket of water that I filled during the flush.

    [​IMG]

    Last night, wife reported to me that the problem was back. Sure enough, it's exactly like it was 45 days ago...or worse. While I'm inclined to flush the tank again, it seems way too soon to be the actual problem. I have not inspected the anode rods, and I guess that's the next step. Any other thoughts?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Is the water heater fed with a flex line that is not corrugated metal?

    Could the flecks be coming in with your water supply, but get concentrated by the water heater?
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. dprocket

    dprocket Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas
    I'll have to double check the flex lines supplying the tank later tonight when I am home. I do know that when this tank was installed, the plumber installed flex lines with shutoff valves to make future installations much easier (it was rigid copper previously). I examine these tonight to see if I can ID exactly what time of line it is.

    I'm pretty sure it's not coming in with the water supply, as I've done a fairly large sample test (filling a 5 gal bucket of water with cold water) and have not seen a trace.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Water heater (WH) flushing can be done different ways. The simplest is to
    1. Turn off the WH water, and put the WH in vacation mode, if it has one. Otherwise off.
    2. Open a hot water tap to pass air.
    3. Drain the WH completely. Usually you would use a hose to direct the water. (Take a look at the first water; it may be impressive.)
    4. Turn the water supply on fully for a few seconds, and turn off. You are trying to cause turbulence to the bottom of the tank.
    5. Do steps 3 and 4 several times. If you have a way to monitor the drained water, you could judge by what you are getting out.
    6. Turn the water and WH back on. Close the hot water tap once the air has been expelled and just water is coming out.

    [​IMG] Corrugated copper or stainless is preferred. [​IMG] The braided lines have a rubber inside. You would not expect that to deteriorate quickly, but with time that can happen.
     
  6. dprocket

    dprocket Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas

    I'm almost positive I have the braided lines. I assume you use corrugated on both the hot/cold side? Maybe this is as simple as swapping out my old lines with new ones.

    That probably is my next step. When I did the flush previously, I noticed that the water was consistently "dirty" with the flecks, but it was not significantly dirtier in the first bucket than the 3rd or fourth buck. In other words, it didn't seem like there was a whole bunch of sediment at the bottom that was
     
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    New lines are inexpensive and quick to install...that would be my first thing. 6-years, even with two anodes, doesn't mean the tank itself will last forever. It could have many additional years of life left. It may not. Are the black specs soft and smear if you can rub one on something? If so, it's probably the rubber lining of the existing hoses.
     
  8. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber...and babysitter of morons...

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    We have had the same issues here in our town with the Black braided flex lines that Brass Craft sells...
    We were installing them for quite a while and now after about the same length of time we are getting
    call backs for this issue...... Brass Craft will probably have a class action lawsuit filed against them eventually
    for this problem.....they used to be a very good product for decades but I think they switched to some shitty company in China to make them back around 2009...

    if you have the black flex lines , just change them out with copper or stainless steel lines
    and flush out the bottom of the heater.....

    Brass craft refuses to admit they have an issue with the black hoses that they sell and they still
    sell them at Lowes.... We have taken out a few hundred of them over the past 5 years...
    its been good times dealing with this issue...


    I got a bucket with about 150 of them in my shop that they are supposed to refund me on someday........ someday ......


     

    Attached Files:

    dprocket likes this.
  9. dprocket

    dprocket Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas
    Here's a pic of what I have. I am certain that I bought these at either Lowes or Home Depot. I'll have to look around and see if i can find any of the corrugated copper. I have not had a chance to take the hot side line off and inspect the inside, but I would expect I'd see some residue inside...right? It's probably deteriorating on the inside wall. Correct?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I would think you would need something like a swab or some other tool that you would send inside to sample the condition. Just looking might not be effective. Got a cleaning kit that might be made to insert into a bore?
     
  11. dprocket

    dprocket Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas
    Yea, I'm sure anything that could go in and come out with a residue. I'll report back after I check, although it will be a few days...going away for a few days.
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Those water heater connectors look like SharkBite: [​IMG]

    When you swab the connectors, we would like to see a photo of the result.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018 at 3:48 PM
  13. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber...and babysitter of morons...

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    WE have not had problems with that brand but I would Just change them and see if that takes care of the problem.... perhaps the chlorine in your area is breaking them down.... get the solid stainless steel kind with no rubber liners inside
     
  14. phog

    phog Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Those Sharkbite hoses appear to be EPDM overbraided with stainless steel. EPDM is pretty tough stuff but it does eventually break down. Many toilet flappers are made from EPDM for an idea of how long that material will hold up to chlorinated/fluorinated city water.

    http://www.sharkbite.com/sharkbite/...edFlexWaterHoseConnector_SpecSheet_100615.pdf

    I believe some brands of flex hose use PTFE inside the stainless overbraid which would probably hold up better than EPDM. There are also ones with corrugated steel inside the overbraid but they're less flexible. And finally there are corrugated annealed copper lines (without overbraid) made for this purpose.

    dprocket - To replace those hoses with anything other than the same "sharkbite" style there is going to need to be a male pipe thread fitting installed onto the copper pipe end. Just FYI.

    Also to unfasten the sharkbite get the special little horseshoe shaped plastic removal tool, they sell them at Home Depot right next to the sharkbite fittings for like $5. You CAN get the fittings unfastened with a pair of channel locks or a crescent wrench & just the right touch. But it's difficult and you're just as likely to damage something.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018 at 6:33 AM
  15. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Falcon makes nice stainless steel corrugated connector lines that can be used with water heaters. Some of these have a John Guest connector, which is similar to a SharkBite push-on connector. If you search for "Water-flex™ PTC" in your search engine, you will find references.

    Maybe the existing connector lines are innocent, and something else is causing the black flecks. It will be interesting to find out.
     
    Master Plumber Mark likes this.
  16. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber...and babysitter of morons...

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    I just went out on a 4 year old power vent heater we installed and I had to change out another set of
    those black brass craft connectors.... the company claims its "aggressive water" and of course I am the only
    guy in the usa that is having problems with them... I blew out the heater under pressure and it threw up a
    good amount of black flecks....eventually it will all go away ....

    I am Just lucky that the home-owner did not insist on a new heater.... some nut will eventually file a
    class action lawsuit against Brass Craft and claim that their health issues are related to this problem

    then the fun begins.....
     
Similar Threads: Black flecks
Forum Title Date
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Black residue coming out of the bathtub faucet Jul 27, 2017
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Small Black Spots in Water Jan 16, 2017
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Black/Grey dirt out of new faucets Jan 6, 2017
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Black residue around water heater roof vent Aug 1, 2016
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Black inky coating in copper flex pipe on hot side? Apr 20, 2015

Share This Page