Asked on Mar 3, 2012

Black specks in my water?

Agnes ChrzanowskaMonique Schmucker62320ca
+28

Answered

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!!
22 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    KMS Woodworks
    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?

    • Roxana
      Roxana
      7 days ago

      This same issue is happening in the house I rent but it’s only in the bathtub. The water heater is about 2 yrs old they thought one element had burned out and they replaced it and drained the water heater but the problem still there. They recently changed a part that goes behind the wall where the valve to turn the shower on goes I don’t recall the name of it but still nothing changed. It’s kind of a aluminum color and a little oily it’s gross

  • 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.

    • Chloe
      Chloe
      on Nov 16, 2020

      Same..I noticed on my baby bottles. Driving me crazy tying to figure out what the hell it is. We live in a large apartment complex.

  • Holly R
    Holly R
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
      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
    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
    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
      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
    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
      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
    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
    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.

  • Mar2090022
    Mar2090022
    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.

  • Cathy Schaffer Bramlett
    Cathy Schaffer Bramlett
    on Mar 19, 2019

    WHAT WAS THE SOLUTION? I have the same issue. Black stuff coming out of the faucet and it smears like graphite. Seems to be the hot water and most prevalent in one bathtub (or maybe just do not see it in other faucets as they are not tubs). The natural gas hot water tank is fairly new, installed less than 2 years ago. The black stuff is frustrating to clean up and it makes us not want to use the bath tub. Showers only.

  • Jim Dillard
    Jim Dillard
    on Apr 13, 2020

    Holly, Did you find an answerthat solved the problem? Jim

  • 62320ca
    62320ca
    on Jun 23, 2020

    When I was researching a similar problem, I found this site, and it really helped me. I joined just so that I could share my experience here now that my problem is solved.


    I had a Hansgrohe pull-down kitchen faucet, and I started noticing small black particles in the water about 5 years after installation. The particles would smear if I rubbed them between my fingers, and the most particles would appear when I ran the water stronger or at maximum flow. If I ran the water very weakly, there were very few, if any, particles. I found that the problem was caused by completely deteriorating water supply lines (for hot and cold water). In my case, the problem was mostly the cold water hose, but the hot water hose also had signs of deterioration. The internal surfaces of the black rubber hoses (inside the exterior metal braiding) were completely deteriorating. The problem I had was identical to the problem shown in this video:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eoi74wsD-o


    ...except in my case, the water supply lines were supplied by Hansgrohe and came attached to their faucet.


    I had called Hansgrohe, and they refused to even acknowledge that the problem could be caused by their water supply lines or any part of their faucet. They tried to tell me that the problem was my water shut-off valves (under the faucet), and I would have to replace them. However, after uninstalling my Hansgrohe faucet and examining the water supply lines, I found that it was indeed the water supply lines that were deteriorating (not the shut-off valves). To fix the problem, I ended up replacing my faucet with a Kohler one because I liked that their water supply lines were easier to obtain and easy-to-replace if the same issue happened in the future. Note that I did *not* replace my water shut-off valves.


    I feel that the external operation of the Hansgrohe was better in that the handle and high arch movement from side-to-side were very smooth. Also the Hansgrohe faucet body is brass, whereas the Kohler is an unknown metal coated with a stainless finish. But in terms of finding replacement Hansgrohe parts on common places such as Amazon or Home Depot/Lowes, they were hard to find and expensive because they were foreign-sourced. Also, the Hansgrohe water supply lines were integrated into the threaded shank of the faucet and much harder to replace. Whereas the Kohler supply line connections are completely visible (outside of the threaded shank) and easy-to-replace. I might have to replace a Kohler faucet valve or supply line in the future, but at least those parts are easy to find. The Hansgrohe supply line was 4 times the cost of the Kohler one, and there was no guarantee that a new supply line would fix the issue or prevent the problem from happening again in the future because Hansgrohe would *not* admit to the problem. Thus I had no idea if they had fixed the rubber formulation of their supply line hose in the past 5 years or not. Kohler's warranty customer service is much better than Hansgrohe's, and I felt I would much prefer contacting Kohler, if necessary, in the future.

  • Monique Schmucker
    Monique Schmucker
    on Nov 12, 2020

    it been a few years since your reply but I wanted to respond to let others know that we have the same problem and it’s not the water heater. We replaced ours several weeks ago and the black sediment is still coming out of the hot water faucets. We were told to remove a rod to see if that would help. It did for a few weeks but at the same time there was a horrific rotten egg gas odor. I could barely breathe! The black stuff came back so we put the rod back in. We’re on a well system too. I’m a city girl who just moved to the countryside and I’m totally freaking out! What gives?!!!

Your comment...