Debris in Pipes


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Old 04-04-06, 05:51 PM
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Question Debris in Pipes

I have white flecs in my water pipes that clog my shower heads and faucet strainers. I cannot tell if they are from calcium broken loose during city work on the water supply or pieces of a deteriorating PVC pipe somewhere in the system. I did have a PVC connection fail on my newly installed water softener. Any ideas on how I identify my problem?
 
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Old 04-04-06, 08:16 PM
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If your water heater is around 10 years old, it may be a failing dip tube. Other than that it might just be that the water heater needs to be drained to remove debri from the bottom of the tank.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 04:14 AM
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Debris in Water System

Originally Posted by DUNBAR PLUMBER
If your water heater is around 10 years old, it may be a failing dip tube. Other than that it might just be that the water heater needs to be drained to remove debri from the bottom of the tank.
[REPLY] My water heater is only about a year or two old. I will try draining it, but I had a hard time getting the water heater drain to fully turn off the last I drained the water from it.
 
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Old 04-20-06, 02:08 PM
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Failing dip tube?

Hello, I am having a similar problem to this. What is a dip tube? Is that what gets the water into the hot water tank or out or something?

We also have PVC piping in our 1957 home and the water heater is probably close to 13 years old - close to calling it quits.

The debris we get out of the faucets is white and looks to have a brown side on it. Almost like sheetrock (but we have not done any work like this). It stays in one shape while in the water but when pressed between your fingers it crumbles. So I would think it was some kind of build up from the hot water heater right? PVC pipe wouldn't crumble would it?

If it is calcium, can you still drain a hot water heater that has probably never been drained before? Do you have to drain the entire tank? I read that if you flush it a little every 4 months it will help keep the debris out.

So basically, I'm trying to figure out what this substance is...and is draining the hot water heater really hard like he's making it sound? Do I need to shut anything off prior to doing this, like the water main, or the main to the hot water tank or something? It's pretty irritating when you have water pressure and then all of a sudden you don't because it gets clogged with white crud.

Thanks in advance
 
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Old 04-20-06, 02:24 PM
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Failing dip tube?

The DIY plumber that advised me on my problem was correct. The dip tube is inside the hot water heater and carries incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank. It is made of PVC. The PVC flakes off into the water and the flakes tend to be crushable. I called a plumber in and he found I had very little of the dip tube in my hot water heater left. He then replaced it. Even though your flakes are brownish on one side, I suspect your flakes, too, are PVC. Also, my flakes would not dissolve in vinegar as caclium would do.
 
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Old 04-20-06, 02:26 PM
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gulickgurl, flushing the tank is not hard. What you need to do is drain AND flush. I will give you the details on how to do it.
If the heater is electric, turn off the power to it. If it is gas, you can set the temp control to pilot.
Turn off the inlet (cold water) valve which should be located on the cold water line going into the tank. Open a hot water faucet near the tank. Connect a hose to the drain valve and run it to wherever you plan to drain it to. Open the tank drain valve (at the bottom of the tank) and let all the water out. Then turn the cold water valve back on and let it run about 5 minutes. let it drain out again. Notice how much, if any, debris runs from the hose. repeat this step until the water runs clear. Then you can close the drain valve and refill the tank. Turn on the power to the tank and turn off the faucet you had opened earlier.
The dip tube is a plastic tube that takes the cold water entering the tank, to the bottom which then pushes the hot water out. Good luck.
At the age of your unit, it is probably ready to be replaced. Flush and drain your tank at least once a year for best performance and energy savings.
 
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Old 04-21-06, 10:56 PM
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One time, actually the first time I came across the diptube problem, I pulled the drain out of the water heater and was looking in with a flashlight. There were several 6" chunks of diptube laying on the bottom of the tank, and there just wasn't any way in the world to get them out. And how much time can I reasonably bill for repairing a 10 year old water heater anyway?

At this point, since the bad diptube water heaters are all around 10 years old, I replace the heater.

Click here for more diptube info.
 
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Old 09-05-07, 06:38 PM
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Just an update...back in February our home warranty company came out (because we were still covered) and they checked it out and our dip tube was only 2.5" long...and it was brittle and falling apart. Turns out that was the problem as we suspected.

Thank goodness they had to pay to replace it Thanks!
 
 

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