brown hot water - clay

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Crilou, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Crilou

    Crilou New Member

    Oct 27, 2005

    I live on the 10th floor (last floor) of a building, and our hot water sporadically spits out brown water. Our landlord had the water analysed by a laboratory and they claim it is clay. Now, bizarrely, this problem only seems to appear for the upper floors (7th, 8th, 9th, 10th) of the building, even though the hot water tank is at the bottom of the building.
    Nobody, not even the plumber finds the origin of this brown water. Now he wants to install filters, until he finds it.

    Do any of you have an idea of how come the lower floors don't have that problem?


  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    A filter may take out what you see but it doesn't necessarily take out what will make you sick. If I had that problem as a tenant in a building, I would call the public health authorities. I would also send them an EMail, which makes a record that is not easily erased. You might also copy the owner on the EMail.

    If there is clay there could be bacteria. I certainly would not rely on the landlord's plumber to protect my health.

    Sludge in hot water systems is particularly dangerous because it increases the likelihood of Leigionella, which killed a few people in Philadelphia in 1976. Legionella is not easily killed by chlorine, especially if there is sludge of any kind.

    Supplemental tanks are sometimes installed in tall buildings to provide adequate water pressure to the upper floors, especially during high demand. If there is also a supplemental water heater at the upper floors, there may be some sludge in a supplemental tank that is getting into the hot water heater, or you could be getting cold water from the tank through a tempering valve.

    Find out if there is a supplemental tank on the building.

    Also, you might consider the possibility of a backflow somewhere. Backflows are more likely on the highest floors of a building where the pressure is lowest.
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  4. Crilou

    Crilou New Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    apparently no bacteria

    thanks for your help.
    Apparently, the laboratory tests show no presence of bacteria - only clay.

    Thanks for your hints as to what could cause this clay presence. Will keep you posted.

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