Draining Made my Brown Water Problem Worse

Old 01-15-06, 07:06 AM
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Draining Made my Brown Water Problem Worse

We've had several plumbing issues in our new (but very old) house.

While the plumber was here, he told me how to drain the tank. In looking at your advice, he told me exactly what you did, with one exception, he told me to open all the faucets (admittedly you say, "at least one").

Our water is heated with oil and there's a separate motor, just at the base of the tank, for the water.

Originally, I started out using a hose to get but I wasn't getting a good flow so I decided to go with the "bucket brigade" system, alternating between two five gallon buckets.

When the tank was empty, I left the heating unit off, lef all the faucets open, closed the spigot, opened the cold water and let it start re-filling the tank. After a few minutes, I closed the cold water valve again and began draining the tank again. The water was completely brown, worse than I've ever seen it. I repeated this procedure 3-4 times, until the water coming out of the spigot was practically clear.

When I was satifsfied with the color of the water, I closed all the faucets, turned on the cold water valve, waited for a little bit and then turned on the heating unit.

When I tested the hot water from the faucets and the shower, it was nearly black. It has since settled back down to brown but it's worse than the yellowish color it was before I made my attempt at draining the tank.

If it matters at all, the first visit we had from a plumber was because the hot water pressure was almost non-existent. He ascertained that the nipples were clogged, he was able to change the nipples and return the pressure.

He suggested that our 12 year old tank (two years passed it's warranty) be replaced. Another plumber said the tank looked like it was in good shape and said I should keep going with it, until it died out completely.

I believe the tank is about 65 gallons but I could off slightly off about that.

So, did I screw up? What should my next move be?

I appreciate your time and help..

Old 01-15-06, 07:55 AM
majakdragon's Avatar
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Location: N.E. Arkansas
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What you did was correct but I would have carried it one step further. When the tank was drained completely, I would have turned the cold water inlet valve and left the drain valve open. What you did was stir up the debris in the tank and then refill it. There is a dip-tube that the cold water goes through from the cold water inlet. This tube takes the cold water to the bottom of the tank, which in turn, pushes the heated water out the top to your fixtures. I am guessing that your piping is galvanized. When you shut off the water, this allowed any debris in the piping to dry a small amount and break loose. (more colored water)
You can redo your flush and drain technique with the added step. Also, remove the aerators on all the sink spouts and open the faucets when you refill the tank. The aerators will get clogged with debris if not removed. Good luck and let us know how it worked.
Old 01-16-06, 11:31 AM
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You probably removed 98% of the sediment. The rest will show up for a few days when you open a faucet. It should clear up over the next couple of days.

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