New hot water heater, gray specks that smear

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syd barrett

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Had a new gas hot water heater installed today. Waited about an hour to check hot water in a bathroom sink. Seemed to take longer than normal. Then I noticed some small black specks swirling around. I assumed this was just some sort of sediment getting flushed out of the pipes, from the new installation. But when I took my hand to wipe them off the sink, they just smeared. I was expecting something gritty, like sand. I had to really bear down and scrub with my fingers. And then I noticed my fingertips had a layer of "gray grease" best I can describe it. Thought I'd just rinse it off with water, but it didn't budge. I had to get soap to wash it off my fingers.

Any idea what in the world could be the problem?? What is that stuff?? Some excess plumbing putty or something? I had the old heater 12-15 years and this never happened before, so it has to be related to today's installation. Thanks in advance if you can help.
 

MACPLUMB

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Probably gray pipe dope used on the treads, just keeping flushing it out,
it will stop, the best is to run the bathtub valve to get the most water flow without a aerator to get clogged,
 

syd barrett

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Probably gray pipe dope used on the treads, just keeping flushing it out,
it will stop, the best is to run the bathtub valve to get the most water flow without a aerator to get clogged,

Thanks for your input! Followup question if you don't mind... would that also explain the pressure fluctuations I've noticed since yesterday? For ex, turn on the hot water and it "blasts" out hard for a few secs, then kinda sputters, and then surges again. Maybe something has gotten clogged?
 

syd barrett

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Pretty sure MASTER777 nailed it. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it, man. I followed your advice and filled the tub 4 or 5 times. 1st time or 2, the bottom was covered in those slimy little specks. By the last time, very few at all. And the pressure seems to have stabilized as well. Thanks again!
 

jadnashua

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FWIW, you have a cold water heater...the inlet is not HOT! It's simply a water heater...

Funny story, unless you lived there...when I lived in Kuwait, we had a water storage tank on the roof since the city did not supply water constantly to their customers. Well, in the summer, the water in that tank could get so hot that it would scald you, and since both the hot and cold came from the same place, the only way to get water safe to shower with was to turn the WH OFF and not draw lots from it so it had a chance to cool off again! God forbid, you ran the cooler water in the WH out, then you only had hot from both sides of the supplies! IT was tricky during the shoulder seasons when the roof tank wasn't hot enough, and you had to decide if it was time to turn the WH back on...
 
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