Blue/green stains on pipes/clothes

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by cdschm, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. cdschm

    cdschm New Member

    Oct 14, 2005
    I have a couple of questions that I hope someone can help me with.

    Almost a year and a half ago we purchased a VERY cosylt water softener. Ever since that point we have had intermittent blue/green stains on our laundry.

    I had the washer repair man here 3 times to tear apart my washing machine, with no avail. The water softener company was called 2 x with no answer.

    There is absolutely nothing that will take this stain out of clothes.

    After doing much of my own research, all I can come up with is something in the copper piping that has "been set free" since getting the softener, such as piping, flux, etc.

    Anyone ever see such a thing? We have lost 100's of dollars in clothing, but other than replacing all the plumbing, which I am not looking forward to, I'm not sure what is going on here!

  2. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    copper pipe

    the pipes, or water heater, is probably the problem....

    I dont know if you had a water softener before or not
    but It sounds like their is some sort of reaction going on between the
    old copper and the new equipment...

    you might want to ask a fellow named Gary Sussler here on
    this site about what to do...

    my guess would be to either lower the salt setting on the softeer and
    see if this helps. or maybe raise it, i am not sure..

    I do not know of any product that you can flush through your pipes
    to remendy this problem....
    It could also be a build up of copper particles in your water heater
    over a long period of time

    does this problem happen only on the HOT setting or not???

    can you remember if it ever happned only on the COLD setting??

    something else that might help could be to either flush out
    your water heater completely or if it is more than ten + years
    old just change the thing, cause the soft water is starting to
    react with the built up sediment on the bottom of the tank...

    the easy thing to do would probalby just
    try changeing the heater first..

    but ask Gary Sussler too
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  4. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    Blue/green usually means copper. I've never heard of your problem before, and I've been doing water treatment all but 19 years now. I do know that a softener prevents any hard water scale from forming a "protective" coating on the inside of copper tubing and then if the water is acidic or otherwise aggressive, the copper will be dissolved into the water. New copper tubing takes up to 5 years for any protecive coating to form. That's why water companies are allowed to not take water samples from new houses until they are 5 years old, for testing for their compliance of the EPA/State Lead and Copper Rules.

    So how old it the house?

    Does the softener have any KDF material in it (Media Guard) or anything else to remove chlorine from the water?

    Are you on your own well or city water?

    You should get a water test done for pH, copper, DO (dissolved oxygen) and CO2. Those are a few of the things that can cause leaching of copper. There are other things, like bacteria, electrical grounds (phones, TV, security systems etc.), use of the copper tubing as part of the building's electrical system ground electrode and such that also cause copper to deteriorate and add copper to the water. Flux and not reaming the ends of copper tubing after cutting with tubing cutters are the two primary causes of erosion corrosion of copper tubing, and they add copper to the water too.

    One radical solution would be to add some hard water back into the softened water. Just a grain or two of hardness would be what you'd want. To do that, you'd plumb the inlet and outlet water lines to each other with a valve to control how much hard water was added. You can't do that any other way, it has nothing to do with the salt dose or capacity etc.. Another choice would be a polyphosphate crystal filter that would dissolve the crystals adding a coating to the inside of the tubing, maybe... They are said to do this but you can't measure the process.

    Quality Water Associates
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