You turn on the faucet in your bathroom sink one morning and notice that there are black specks in the water collecting in the bowl. Or maybe you’ve seen these black specks inside a glass of water you just poured. Wherever you see these points of black, you know they shouldn’t be there. What’s happening, and what can you do about it?
This is a common problem, and there are several possible reasons for it. Our plumbers can help you diagnose what’s causing this and find the solution you need.
Corroding and rusting old pipes
If you live in a house that’s more than 50 years old, it may have outdated steel and iron piping. These pipes will corrode with time, causing flakes of metal or rust to break off inside the pipe and enter into the freshwater. It’s hard to tell the extent of the corrosion in the pipes based on seeing the black flecks, but we recommend having plumbers investigate to see how much pipe repair and replacement is necessary—you may have a serious problem with weakened pipes that’s about to get much worse.
Water heater has rusted through
The corrosion causing the black specks may come from another source than the pipes: the water heater. Different parts of a water heater can corrode and send these flecks into the water, and this includes the possibility that the entire tank has rusted through. If you are only seeing these flecks in your hot water, call for technicians immediately to inspect the water heater. Corrosion getting into the hot water often means the entire water heater needs to be replaced.
Failing rubber gaskets
Take a close look at these black specks by straining the water. Do the specks appear rubbery? If so, then what’s likely wrong is that rubber gaskets in the plumbing are decaying and flaking off into the water. The source could also be from a decaying rubber supply hose. You’ll want repairs for this as soon as possible because it likely means you have hidden leaks somewhere in your house.
Faulty or failing water filters
The black specks may be signaling that you have problems with your water filtration system—either local filters or a whole-house filter. One of the most common types of water filtration systems for homes uses granular activated carbon to clean the water, and when this carbon starts to break down it will begin to send black specks into the water. In most cases, you’ll only need to replace the filter to solve this. If you have an aging whole-house water filtration system, you might want to have professionals inspect it to see if it needs to be replaced.
Water quality problems
These specks in the water can come from poor quality water entering your home—water with far too high a mineral count. Iron and manganese can often cause these specks. Neither mineral is harmful to drink (they’re found in many foods and liquids), but they could also point to other water quality issues you’ll want corrected, such as hard water. You can arrange to install a water filtration system or a water softener to correct this.
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Contact us today for whatever plumbing services you need.