Yellow hot water...still

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Ocram, Aug 26, 2019.

  1. Ocram

    Ocram New Member

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    Aug 26, 2019
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    Long Island, ny
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    Hi
    I moved into a 10 year old house 3 years ago and noticed yellow hot water. I replaced the then 7-year old unit with a new one. Now, 3 years later I have yellow hot water again. I flushed it this past weekend, and let the new cold water flow through it for over 10 mins. Here are pics of the water when I began the drain and at the end of the flush cycle. While it still wasn't 100% clear, it was much better. But now, 48 hrs later, in the bath for my kid, it still has a yellowish tint. Should I flush again? Why did it get so yellow again after a few years? White Mineral deposits did come out and eventually stopped before I finished the flush. Thanks!
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    It could be the anode letting steel produce iron ions, tinting the water yellow.
     
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  4. Ocram

    Ocram New Member

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    Thanks. Does that mean I should change out the anode rod? Sorry...newbie here.
     
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I am not saying that it is a certainty that is what the problem is. But yes, I would change the anode. Consider taking a photo of old and new side by side. It will probably take an impact wrench.

    I would also flush the WH again too.
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Does the coloration occur on ALL hot water outlets, or only one or two? If only one or two, it's more likely that they used some galvanized steel piping (or maybe even plain steel) in the supply lines, and the water prior to those is clear. Or, there's some steel lines feeding the WH.

    Galvanized with the hot water starts rusting much faster than on the cold lines.
     
  7. phog

    phog Active Member

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    Jul 29, 2017
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Do you know how long your neighbors water heaters tend to last? Some areas have water that is just hard on tanks. If your anode is completely dissolved in 3yrs, which is absolutely possible, and especially if you have water with a pH on the lower side, you could start to see iron compounds (mainly oxides aka rust) in the hot water. Not dangerous at all but it will stain clothes, porcelain fixtures, tubs, etc.

    You may be able to stop the coloration by changing the anode but that becomes very difficult after a water heater has been in service awhile. The anode is put in very tight from the factory and it rusts in place even tighter while the tank has water in it. Sometimes the anode head strips out when the wrench goes on it and never comes out. Also, if that is in fact iron from the tank, there's already damage to the glass tank interior lining and you may only reduce but not eliminate the coloration. In short it may not be worth trying to change the anode at this point.

    But all of this is just speculation and it could be something else. You might be well advised to call a local plumber who knows the water in your area. You are very likely not the only one with this problem and they are the ones who can tell you what's going on.

    If you find out that the water in your area is just hard on tanks, next time you get a new water heater, you may want to ask if the plumber will pull out the anode before they install the unit. Wrap some Teflon tape on the threads, and reinstall. This will make it much easier to change the anode out in the future.
     
  8. Ocram

    Ocram New Member

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    Long Island, ny
    Thanks all for the replies. I have cpvc running to the tank and throughout the house so no galvanized piping. It's yellow on all hot water outlets.

    I'm going to ask my neighbors. Then weigh the option of trying to swap the anode rod (it's an AO Smith and by the online how to videos seems easy) but phog makes a good point in the rusted anode rod and/or damaged interior lining.

    I also ran water tests (both pro lab and in-house DIY kit) and both came out ok (but that was on the cold water). I have no other signs of hard water. But before I replace another tank I'll call a pro to see what the cause might be.
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Look at the anode access and see if it is accessible. If you don't have a hex head, you can't use a 1-1/16 socket on an impact wrench.

    Ask if they have an impact wrench they would lend.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  10. phog

    phog Active Member

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    Location:
    Rochester NY
    The white sediment that came out during your flush is very likely the remnants of the dissolved anode rod. The rod has a steel wire down the center of it, if all the magnesium is gone & this center wire is all that's left then it could what is corroding & giving your water the iron coloration. If you change it out soon enough perhaps you can prevent the tank itself from starting to corrode. There really isn't any way to tell though without opening it up, and before doing that you'd be best advised to call up a local plumber and see if they can give you any info on what's typical in your area. Here on the internet we can only speculate! Good luck.
     
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    I am watching this thread as I have the same problem. I just replaced both my iron filter and water softener to mitigate a problem with iron bleeding through. This solved the iron problem on the cold side right away but we were still seeing iron on the hot side. At first I thought the tank just needed to be drained and flushed and I've done that a few times now but the problem comes back. I submitted a support case to Rheem and am waiting to hear from them. My HWT is only 3 1/2 years old so would not expect it to be a problem with a depleted anode.

    This is the third HWT in 21 years. The first one lasted 10 years. The second, not nearly as long. Neither of the prior tanks produced orange water prior to springing a leak.

    BTW, the Rheem HWT is Model Number: RC PVS150E2
     
  12. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    That was a waste of time. All they did was to describe how cathodic protection works and that an anode is sacrificial, both of which I already know. What I wanted to know is whether the core of the anode is iron and is the source of the rust in the water.

    Anyway, my HWT is a rental and as such service calls are covered in the rental price so I place a service request to the rental agency. A tech has been scheduled and I will update this thread when the prognosis is confirmed and the anode replaced.
     
    phog likes this.
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    The iron cleared up over time so I doubt it was caused by a depleted anode and so I cancelled the service tech. My thought now is that with the new water softener and iron filter, the water being so much softer, it is dissolving some of the limescale buildup in the HWT. Perhaps there was a layer of rust encapsulated in the limescale that got liberated. This had happened twice since the new softener install and both times it was after a regen. I'm thinking possibly the fast since cycle is too short and there might be flush of chloride left over from the regen moving forward into the HWT.

    I don't know what the softener tech set the fast rinse time to and I don't want to push buttons to put it into programming mode to check JIC I inadvertently change the program. Last thing I want is for the tech to point fingers at me if something goes wrong. I emailed the tech to ask how he programmed it and what he thinks could be the source of iron in the HWT but have yet to get a reply.
     
  14. Ocram

    Ocram New Member

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    Location:
    Long Island, ny
    So I finally got around to asking some neighbors and noticed (what I initially said) that unless your collecting enough water in a white container (bathtub) you wouldn't notice. Those who take showers wouldn't notice. The one family I asked with young kids who still take baths and confirm they have yellow hot water but thought it was normal and even stated they had a whole house filter when they bought the house but disconnected it since they don't drink tap water.

    I am getting the water tested again. Sample from the cold tap and hot. Independent lab w/ nothing to sell me.
     
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