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Strange sediment in hot water lines

Gint_Lietuvninkas's picture

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Light blue granules have been clogging
faucet strainers, shower heads and
dishwasher solenoid valves. Trace
amounts were noticed about 1 year ago
but did not pose the clogging problem
that I'm experiencing now. It seems
isolated to the hot water lines. I
flushed the water heater and filtered
the water through a fine strainer.
About a handful of this sediment was
trapped: it is actually gel-like in
consistency, light green-blue in color
with whitish granules. I replaced the
water heater yesterday and haven't
opened up the old one yet to see what is
inside. What is this stuff and is it
toxic? Some background: the heater is
a Kenmore Economizer 5, 30 gallon,
gas-fired model about 16 years old.
Ours is an old house (70 years) and we
had the supply piping replaced with
copper when we moved in 1 year ago. We
kept the existing water heater and only
had it relocated. Also, there is a
light green/blue stain under the hot
water faucet on an enameled cast iron
pedestal sink (original fixture). I
think the stain developed after we moved in. Help solve the mystery.

(post #169669, reply #3 of 9)

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Steve, I will try this to amuse myself, if nothing else! This stuff forms in the bottom of the water heater. The inside of my cold water lines are like new. The inside of my hot water lines are coated with green material. I'll let you know what I discover. Thanks for now.....

(post #169669, reply #6 of 9)

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The sediment that you describe is from the dip tube breaking apart. Contact the mfgr and they may pay for replacement. They paid $150 to replace mine a month ago and the problem stopped at once.
Butch

(post #169669, reply #7 of 9)

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Light blue granules have been clogging
faucet strainers, shower heads and
dishwasher solenoid valves. Trace
amounts were noticed about 1 year ago
but did not pose the clogging problem
that I'm experiencing now. It seems
isolated to the hot water lines. I
flushed the water heater and filtered
the water through a fine strainer.
About a handful of this sediment was
trapped: it is actually gel-like in
consistency, light green-blue in color
with whitish granules. I replaced the
water heater yesterday and haven't
opened up the old one yet to see what is
inside. What is this stuff and is it
toxic? Some background: the heater is
a Kenmore Economizer 5, 30 gallon,
gas-fired model about 16 years old.
Ours is an old house (70 years) and we
had the supply piping replaced with
copper when we moved in 1 year ago. We
kept the existing water heater and only
had it relocated. Also, there is a
light green/blue stain under the hot
water faucet on an enameled cast iron
pedestal sink (original fixture). I
think the stain developed after we moved in. Help solve the mystery.

(post #169669, reply #1 of 9)

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Gint, I have EXACTLY the same problem. I have tried to find out what is causing this too, but I haven't had much luck. I have a water softener....Maybe this has something to do with it. On top of that, I also have a hot water recirculating system which kicks this stuff up and out into the system. I put a ball valve and a piece of copper tubing shaped like a big Roman faucet on the drain of the water heater so I could easily and forcefully flush it out. This helps, but I finally got a high-temp water filter and installed it just above the heater. This finally solved the problem of the clogged screens etc. I got it at Graingers for about $65.00. That's what I would do if I were you. The filters last about 6 months before they need replacement.

(post #169669, reply #2 of 9)

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I cannot help but think that this is copper salt which is coming from either the copper pipes in your local water distribution system, or from the copper pipes after the water enters your property. There was a big story about this locally when a whole development experienced this same thing, "blue water and blue granules". As I recall, when they found the source, it turned out to be a series of failed and failing dielectric unions installed by the water company that were the culprits. To see if this material is in fact some sort of copper salt, there is a simple test you, yourself can perform to find out. Take some of these blue granules and let them dry out thoroughly. Maybe half a teaspoon, should be more than enough. Then, with saftey glasses firmly sitting on your nose, heat them up under the direct flame from a butane torch. Use the inner, light blue, flame cone to get the maximum effect... If the resultant flame turns bright green, then these are indeed some kind of copper salt. If the flame does not show green, then they are not copper salts and you will have to look elsewhere for the answer to your blue granuals question. When you perform the test, be sure not to blow the granules away with the flame and give the flame 20 -40 seconds to completly heat up the granules before stopping the test. A bright green flame indicates the presence of copper. To get an example of what your looking for, do the same test first on a 12 to 14 inch long piece of copper wire.

(post #169669, reply #4 of 9)

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This stuff is frozen hot water. As we learned from another thread hot water freezes first. The reason it does not melt is because it has a higher melting point than frozen cold water, therefore you have to get it very hot to make it melt. This is also why there is none in the cold water pipes. The cold water is hotter than cold ice, so it melts. When the hot water gets colder than the hot ice, the hot ice will not melt.

(post #169669, reply #5 of 9)

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Unfair, Mike!

I'm recovering from a blown out back and you had me laughing so hard I'll be on bed rest another two weeks!

Nice one,
Mongo

I have this same problem and (post #169669, reply #8 of 9)

I have this same problem and it is causing the water valve in my washing machine to fail every 9 months or so.  Did you ever solve this problem?

It's a 16-year-old question, (post #169669, reply #9 of 9)

It's a 16-year-old question, but the likely answer is the lack of a proper dielectric union between iron and copper pipe somewhere.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville