The Tank › Clear Slime in Hot Plumbing Pipes
April 17, 2021 at 8:40 am #26411
Hello All, just joined, looking for help. I just had a re-pipe done going from copper to Pex. When they cut out the hot pipe to the water heater, there was a clear slimy substance inside the pipe. The cold pipe was fine. I also found this substance inside the shower diverter when changing the O rings yesterday so I’m sure that it was throughout the old copper hot water pipes. I’m on well water and use a neutralizer and a Sanitizer Series softener with Crystal Rite-100 media. Both units are approx. 18yrs. old. My water heater is a State Select 50 gal. electric and was replaced 5 yrs. ago. The prior water heater was at least 16yrs. old, maybe older. There is no odor to the water and it doesn’t seem to be causing any issues other than the knowledge of it is grossing us out. We have tested the water for quality not bacteria. PH is around 6.8-7 and hardness was 25-100PPM if I remember correctly(I could be off on the hardness though). I have not done anything to remedy this yet as I’m not sure what to do. Looking to this forum for help. Thank you. HowardApril 17, 2021 at 11:18 am #26412
Hello, A few thoughts. Test for bacteria. This helps guide further actions. Your pH could be a bit higher. Is there any way to change it? Hardness should be between 60 and 120 ppm. You don’t want to go lower than that or it could damage metallic piping. Can you make provisions for flushing the system at high flow rates? This would allow you to do a lot to simply flush out that slime. What sort of anode does your heater have… magnesium or aluminum? Finally, is there a recirculation, or instant hot water line?
Yours, LarryApril 18, 2021 at 7:59 am #26413
Hello Larry, sorry for not replying sooner. I don’t see why I can’t get the PH higher. I might need soda ash but I’ll check on that. I don’t have the ability to do a high flow flush. I suspect that any slime left is probably in the water heater. I assume that the anode rod is aluminum like most heaters. There’s nothing special about the one I have. I do have a hot side recirculating pump at the farthest fixture from the heater. It pulls the cooled water in the hot line and pushes it back to the water heater through to cold side until the hot side water is hot then shuts off by an internal thermostat in the pump. It works great and I have just about instant hot water at the shower without wasting water. HowardApril 18, 2021 at 10:30 am #26414
Hi Howard, What can happen with a recirc line is the check valve in it can get stuck open, allowing backwards flow when water is being drawn. This could put aluminum corrosion goo into the lines. So, have look and see if there is actually a check valve near the heater and that it really works. Next, if you have a hex plug type of anode, feel the top of the rod. If it’s flat (unless it’s Rheem) it’s an aluminum anode. If there is a bump in the center of it, it’s magnesium. If it’s aluminum, I’d replace it as I feel there is a health risk.
Yours, LarryApril 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm #26415
Great info on the recir. line check valve. The check valve is built into the pump so not too sure on how I would go about that. I checked the anode an it’s aluminum. I wonder if going to an electric rod is the best answer here. I definitely need to do something since all water lines have now been replaced and it’s all clean. I should probably empty the tank completely once or twice before going any further. What do you think? Thanks again, HowardApril 18, 2021 at 12:16 pm #26416
Hi, I think it would be good first to test the water/slime for bacteria. That info will help guide next steps. If it isn’t bacterial, than tank flushing, changing anode, and checking the internal check valve in the pump would be next steps. If it is bacterial, it would be good to find out where it came from and as a first step, treating the water in the tank and piping with hydrogen peroxide as the least toxic approach.
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