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Black specks in my water?

More recently, we often have little black specks in our water, especially hot water. I only notice it in the bathtubs, as they stick to the sides and smear when you try to wipe them away, but then looked closely and got really grossed out when I found some stuck inside my bathroom drinking cup! The other day I think one also came out of our kitchen sink faucet which REALLY bothered me!
We had this problem years ago and I can't remember what we did to correct it. Is this related to a bad/disintegrating part of my hot water heater, or do I just need to flush out my hot water heater? The house is about 9 years old but we were the first owners and have lived here for 8. Or is this something else? I'm hoping it won't require a plumber's help. Thanks!!

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Mar 3, 2012

    The "smear" thing has me wondering a bit on this...is it oily or more like small chunks of rust that crumble under your fingers? I have installed a number of "whole house" filtration systems for clients that are on well service. Are you on a well or city service? 8-9 years old water heater may be starting to show some rust or sediment issues. Have you been a good home owner an "flushed" your water heater every year?

  • Sounds as though your hot water heater is on the way out. If you use a tankless unit attached to a boiler if that is the type of heater you have, this can mean that the domestic water supply is being contaminated by the heating side water. Do not use your drinking water cold or hot, until you have water checked for pollutants and get it fixed.

  • Holly R
    Holly R Apex, NC
    on Mar 5, 2012

    Honestly we haven't flushed our tank every year because we didn't know we were supposed to (although a plumber MAY have done that for us a few years ago). I am hoping that doing that will clear this up?! Regarding the "smear" thing -- I was wondering if it was chipped off pieces of rubber or something? It's almost like disintegrated rubber bits perhaps? We do not have a tankless water heater, but I have heeded your caution about not drinking it straight from the tap -- we've been just drinking what comes out of the PUR filter on our fridge until we get this figured out. Thanks for all of your help on here!

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Mar 5, 2012

    The rubber could be bits from a gasket or valve seal in one of the faucets...are any of your faucets leaking or dripping?

  • Holly R
    Holly R Apex, NC
    on Mar 5, 2012

    Not that I'm aware of, but we do have a separate issue with a leak elsewhere in the house that I need to get taken care of. Would this affect more the water supply in more than one area of the house? The black specks come from both bathtubs upstairs and possible the kitchen sink downstairs.

  • Ana M
    Ana M Alpharetta, GA
    on Mar 5, 2012

    I had the same happen, and it was the particular faucets, I took apart the piece where the water comes out of, cleaned it and put it back together. Have to do it every so often.

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Mar 6, 2012

    Holly...getting leaks fixed in a timely manner is a must...over time wood rot and mold can be much worse to deal with. One way to narrow it down is to follow the flow paths of your plumbing system and try to isolate "zone" working backward from the point of use and replacing components as you you until the problem is fixed.

  • Holly R
    Holly R Apex, NC
    on Mar 17, 2012

    So according to an official from the gas company who was out to do something else, he said it's our expansion tank that has gone bad. That rings a bell for what the problem was a few years ago! I guess the black specks are actually rubber that has broken down...

  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks Nederland, CO
    on Mar 17, 2012

    sounds logical...expansion tanks have a "bladder" in them much like an inner tube in old time car tires...swapping one out is not too tough. Good luck

  • Grant Terry
    Grant Terry Ingram, TX
    on Sep 6, 2013

    Here at the City of Kerrville Water Production Division we have found that the stainless steel braided hoses that have the black rubber lining tend to break down when exposed to chlorinated water over a period of time, and this is especially evident when connected to the hot water side of the homeowners system.

    • Joe Longest
      Joe Longest Dallas, TX
      on Jan 17, 2016

      Thanks for the info Grant from Ingram. On your info I changed out the ss braided water heater hose and put in copper flex line today. Black flakes/particulates were coming out of all fixtures- hot side only. Problem solved.

  • BertBert
    BertBert Canada
    on Mar 31, 2014

    Grant Terry from Ingram,TX...Thank you for your help, I think you nailed it. We noticed the black flakes only on the hot water side and I just partially flushed the tank, the water was very clean. The top of the tank is fitted with a SS braided hose, I will replace it, it's about 5 years old, all of our piping is copper. I tried using chlorine pucks in our toilet tanks to keep them fresh but the chlorine destroys the flapper over a short time which is also made of rubber, same black consistancy.

  • Rob Underhill
    Rob Underhill Reston, VA
    on Jul 19, 2014

    We have the "dark smeary particle" problem only in our kitchen faucet hot water. The plumber concluded it was a problem with the faucet (delta pull out single handle 16961 sssd-dst). We sent an email to delta and they immediately notified us they were sending a replacement quick connect hose without any other discussion. It seems to be a common problem.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer Bakersfield, CA
      on Feb 18, 2016

      Do you know what the part number is for the hose? We have the same faucet, but the manual doesn't say quick connect hose. They sent us a pull out hose. Is that the same thing?

  • Cate Hamilton
    Cate Hamilton Dallas, TX
    on Aug 25, 2014

    I second what Rob Underhill said, exactly. Taking his lead, I called Delta with the hose number (ours was A112.18.1) and they explained that they were aware of the problem and would be happy to replace it. They even sent the new part with rush shipping. Apparently, it was just a flaw in manufacturing. All new Delta faucets will not have this problem and they're replacing all older faucet hoses as the requests come in.

    • Bill Briggeman
      Bill Briggeman Broken Arrow, OK
      on Oct 11, 2014

      @Cate Hamilton Hi, Cate! Hey, can you post the Delta number? Our kitchen Delta faucet is doing the exact same thing and it's the only one with a hose... Thnx!

  • Holly R
    Holly R Apex, NC
    on Aug 26, 2014

    An update on this - we did replace our hot water expansion tank and the problem completely went away for good. So I guess the answer is if you're having problems everywhere in the house, check the expansion tank. If it's only in your kitchen sink, check your faucet and contact the manufacturer for a potential replacement. Thanks for the help everyone! :)

  • Greg Theb
    Greg Theb Huntsville, AL
    on Sep 20, 2014

    Hi, I just saw this and I am having the same issue with the little black whatever that is coming sporadically out of my kitchen faucet. I happen to have 2 water heaters and the one for the kitchen is ~10 years old. It started about 2 months ago and is really annoying. So you think the hot water heater is the culprit? I have no clue as to how to flush one or should I just get a new one.

  • Markminnix
    Markminnix
    on Aug 15, 2015

    The answer is.....Black manganese naturally found in well water this is very comon however it can be alleviated by clearing and cleaning your water well and making sure your filtering system is working. number 3 making sure that the water system is flushed. Your Water pipes have a manganese build up on the ID or inside diameter of the water pipes it may take awhile for that too to be removed however it will take some time

  • Dwight Jarratt
    Dwight Jarratt
    on Sep 14, 2015

    After taking the faucet apart and cleaning all the parts I could, I put the faucet back together and flushed water through it without the aerator and had no black flakes. When I put the aerator back on, the flakes were back even worse. I replaced the aerator and that fixed the issue. Its $5 part and easy to replace if you don't want to wait for a new sprayer.

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