Sticky residue from city tap water

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Margaret C

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Ever since I had a simple Pressure Reducing Valve ("PRV") replaced @ 18 months ago on our (closed) home plumbing system, our tap water leaves a sticky/tacky/drying residue on our skin, hair, and laundry (from both the hot and cold water), and even in our GE fridge filtered water. Similar feeling as when you dry your wet hands with the first or last paper towel on a roll (that glue you can feel on the first and last paper towel on a roll). Very frustrating and strange. My hair breaks off more now, my skin is drier, my husband's eczema acts up more, and our clothes wear out faster from the washing machine.

So, I have resorted to drinking only bottled spring water, as well as doing the final rinse on my face and hair in the shower with the same bottled water. Doing this helps eliminate the sticky residue feeling somewhat, but only @ 50% better than if I didn't rinse with the spring water. And having to always lug bottles of water upstairs and into the shower is annoying and time-consuming.

We are on city water, and our neighbors haven't noticed any change in their water.

I've had the hardness, alkalinity, chlorine, copper, lead, iron, and ph tested. All resulted in normal parameters (with our hardness being on the lower end at 2 gpg's, which is normal for our city).

Prior to the PRV replacement/sticky water situation, we had 20+ years of wonderful soft water, which left no noticeable residue... (with the exception of that salmon-colored serratia marcescens on most of our plumbing fixtures, which I'm told is common/harmless).

A couple of months ago, we had our gas hot water heater replaced with a new one (also gas), along with a new expansion tank + new Grundos hot water circulator (all of which we had prior to the PRV replacement too). Our previous water heater was 10 years old, so we thought we would be proactive and replace before it went out on us, and also because a couple of different plumbers we've had here recently theorized the water heater could have built up residue inside (esp the anode rod) that was leaching into the water supply, causing the tacky residue.

But unfortunately, we still are having the same issues.

Worth noting: we don't have a pool at our home, but whenever I have gone into a regular (chlorinated) pool since this sticky water thing started at our house, that sticky residue seems to immediately go away in the chlorine, like even if I'm only in a pool for a 5-second dip. So it's almost as if the chlorine "eats away" at whatever residue is left on my skin from my home's water supply. And certainly, showering at locations other than our home (hotels, a friend's house, etc), has become a luxury... b/c even when their water may be harder than ours, etc... at least there's no sticky, dirty-feeling residue left on us!

Also, since we've had the sticky water, I've noticed that in the two toilets used most in our home, there's a grayish-green-tan colored film that appears on the bottom of each of those toilet bowls, if I don't clean them out for a few days. It's not a stain, but I guess would best be described as a biofilm, that actually takes very little effort to simply scrape off. I just don't remember ever having this biofilm prior to the sticky water issue. (And note we still have the same, possibly more, serratia marcescens show up on our plumbing fixtures since the stickiness began).

**We have twice replaced the PRV since its initial replacement 18 months ago... with another Zurn PRV, and most recently with a Watts PRV. Doesn't make any difference, the stickiness is still there.

Thus, I guess at this point, we doubt it's a specific material in the PRV causing the sticky residue, so we continue to be completely perplexed by this frustrating issue that began immediately after a PRV replacement roughly 1.5 years ago.

Lastly, I have NOT yet tested our water for any form of bacteria (there are so many to choose from!), but I guess that might be the next best logical step? Esp given the chlorine pool thing I mentioned above + the gray/green biofilm in our toilet bowls?

Any thoughts are extremely appreciated + welcomed!!

Margaret C.
 

Smooky

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Sounds like some type of water hardness problem. Maybe the city changed something in the treatment system about the time you changed the PRV.
 

Reach4

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So, I have resorted to drinking only bottled spring water, as well as doing the final rinse on my face and hair in the shower with the same bottled water. Doing this helps eliminate the sticky residue feeling somewhat, but only @ 50% better than if I didn't rinse with the spring water. And having to always lug bottles of water upstairs and into the shower is annoying and time-consuming.
If you are going to use bottled water for rinsing, switch to distilled water instead of spring water. Drink the spring water; it tastes better than distilled.

Also, since we've had the sticky water, I've noticed that in the two toilets used most in our home, there's a grayish-green-tan colored film that appears on the bottom of each of those toilet bowls, if I don't clean them out for a few days. It's not a stain, but I guess would best be described as a biofilm, that actually takes very little effort to simply scrape off. I just don't remember ever having this biofilm prior to the sticky water issue. (And note we still have the same, possibly more, serratia marcescens show up on our plumbing fixtures since the stickiness began).
If the toilets are filled with cold water, that would say the toile problem is not with the water heater. A very few houses mix the hot and cold to fill the toilets to avoid sweating.

Worth noting: we don't have a pool at our home, but whenever I have gone into a regular (chlorinated) pool since this sticky water thing started at our house, that sticky residue seems to immediately go away in the chlorine, like even if I'm only in a pool for a 5-second dip. So it's almost as if the chlorine "eats away" at whatever residue is left on my skin from my home's water supply. And certainly, showering at locations other than our home (hotels, a friend's house, etc), has become a luxury... b/c even when their water may be harder than ours, etc... at least there's no sticky, dirty-feeling residue left on us!
You could get a low-range chlorine test kit to test that you have the right residual. I think you should have at least 0.5 ppm of chlorine or chloromine in your water by the time it gets to your house. Ask the city water department if they use chlorine or chloromine.

Also, ask the water department about manganese. See if you can find a city water test that has manganese test results. Not the same as magnesium. That would not have started at the same time you changed your PRV. https://www.wunc.org/post/researchers-say-thousands-wells-likely-contaminated-manganese
Mn_map-800x358.jpg


Do you have any water treatment stuff at your house, such as a water softener or carbon tank?

A softener and reverse osmosis filter may let you treat manganese at home. I am not saying you have manganese, but it seems worth investigating. Not good stuff.
 
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