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radiant heat w/ HW heater

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  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,252
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    It's probably not a pex caused issue, Chris

    have you had it analyzed to see what the slime consists of? Clorox may or may not be the answer.

    My first guess would be a bacteris of some sort. These are usually introduced via the water supply, not the tube.

    Years ago we had some iron bacteria get into a few home,s hydronic systems in one area. It would actually eat into the cast iron volutes of the circs and dissolve expansion tanks in a few months.

    Turn out the well driller had the bacteria on his drill rods and points and was spreading it everywhere he went.

    Of course the heating tube (rubber)was blamed right off the bat.

    Chlorine wouldn't touch it, elevated temperatutres wouldn't. Finally UV equipment was used to rid the homes of the bug.

    Another subdivision had something in the community well that would eat the toilet flappers and turn them to goo in a few months time. Again a bacteria. An ozone device was installed at the well head as I recall.

    There is a lot of weird stuff in water systems these days, and it's getting weirder.

    Sewage treatment plants struggle with all the anti bacterial products being used including soaps, and even some of the drugs on the market. Seems it kills the "good" bacteria that allow sewage plants to work.

    Find a lab that deals with water analysis before you blame the tube. You can't treat it, and beat it, until you know what it is. It's not the pex manufacturers job to discover what's in you water.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jerry_15
    Jerry_15 Member Posts: 379
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    This is of course another reason I use only barrier pex. Can't see through it. Imagine if galv or copper pipe was transparent. Spots? Slight coating of slime? I'll take my chances with the pex anytime.
  • Darrell
    Darrell Member Posts: 303
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    I live in Sterling, Alaska...right in the middle of the Kenai Peninsula. A'int nobody called this a temperate zone in a long while, and we definitley do the degree day things here...although not quite like they do in Fairbanks!

    I love the ramble some of these threads go on...

    I'm reminded of the large home I was called to this last winter...not enough heat. There was a three ring binder with over one hundred pages of heat loss calcs, pump curves, efficiency ratings, and fuel use prognostication. The installer had done a ton of homework...but, not enough heat. I added five degrees to the supplied temp curve and went home. They think I walk on water 'cuz I fixed it without a calculator! The installer is ticked...but his customer is warm. Sometimes, numbers and arguements are no substitutuion for "listening" to a home talk.

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  • Chris_82
    Chris_82 Member Posts: 321
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    It's in Pidgen Fordge Tn.,...

    Sorry about the spelling. But it's pure pex for a 8 floor hotel in Gattlenburg TN, right in Al G's back yard. Same is in the grey and red pex, so a variety of manufacturers are represented. Not a combo system! And its not that I'm blaming the pex but I am! Take any length of tube that has been in service for a couple of years and there is this thin film of slime lining the inside of the tube. Similar to the slime/stuff on the// consistency of the aqua-pure clear filter housings of a few years back. Which by the way they changed to an opaque housing. In the majority of bathrooms where this tube turns up and makes the connections to the fixtures is the inside brown spotting. Stuff also smells. You can rub it off with your fingers but those concerned havent been able to flush it out. Supposidly a majority of developments, belive it or not just outside this very popular tourist area used pex to save a bundle. Local health dept. not interested in doing much, they say they tested the stuff and nothing there that isn't in the water anyways! But can't get any confermation of this. Found out that the majority of hotels and motels in pidgen Fordge are owned by one person who also is the "town Mayor" This was verified. And it isn't dolly. Aparently this area experinced a building boom and was the first in the country to use plastic in such large quantities in commercial buildings. At the time we were doing the USDA and Forest service buildings for the government, in the smokey mountians. And moonlighted a bit for some of the locals. It is these same locals that sent samples, that are now being tested. Again nothing there that isn't in water anyways but large concern about the tubing being a media source for any microbe that wish's to start growing also very limited large scale data. All in all not much interest by anyone, but This is how many disasters start! So once again, any one have anything in writing?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,252
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    The question remains, has it been tested?

    If not any assumptions are merely that.

    Here is a lab I used to determine why a rubber tube system locally keeps giving off black chunks that plug a y strainer, monthly!.

    The lab is in Memphis, by the way, but labs are all over the country. Expect to pay 6-8 hundred bucks for this detailed of an anaylsis.

    Generally the health department doesn't get involved unless a problem, more serious than spots, shows up.

    The provider of the water MUST test and report on a regular basis depending on the number of connections, location, state or county requirements, and sometimes federal requirements, etc.

    I wonder that CPVC or copper wouldn't have the same slime. Most water systems do leave a layer, called a patenia by the CDA, on the inside of tube. It could be as benign as minerals in the source water.

    Ever see the slime in the bottom of just about every water heater in America?

    If you think it's that serious why wouldn't you take the next step. Sounds like you are in the loop and concerned.

    If you are a licensed plumber your code of ethics requires you to "protect the health of the nation". It's not the pex manufactures job to analyze your water.

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jerry_15
    Jerry_15 Member Posts: 379
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    "Nothing that wasn't in the water anyways..." I love it. Take the hard line and have them cut out a piece of of copper or galvie tubing on another job and compare the inside of THAT. A thin film of slime? Give me strength. Just take comfort in all the dough you saved installing a clear non-barrier tubing. I hear that the latest trend is a clear waste pipe that runs exposed right through the living space so that you can keep abreast of any unusual or alarming discolorations. There are test ports at regular intervals to monitor dangerous chemicals, digestive distress, and terrorist attack. Good luck, you'll need it.
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