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Rust keeps collecting in water heater -need help

Starting 1 1/2 years ago, we noticed brownish staining on our silverware, black stains on dishes (all washed in Bosch dishwasher) and all white plastic parts in dishwasher had turned chrome colored. The water in water heater was brownish. The water dept checked incoming water and it was okay. The water in water heater tested high in iron. First rusted galvanized nipples connecting water heater to copper pipes were replaced. We emptied and flushed water heater, but rust reappeared. We have had two replacement water heaters, but the problem persists. Does anyone have any idea about what is causing the iron problem? Could a grounding on the cold incoming water after it enters our basement, about 20 feet before it enters the water heater cause a electrolysis problem? Three plumbers have investigated so far. The only cold water symptom we have had is that the pressure in the kitchen sink and drinking water spout at the kitchen sink gets diminished and the filters need periodic cleaning. I don't know if I have used the correct vocabulary since I live in this house and am not a plumber. I appreciate any advice. Thanks a lot, Jan


  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106

    taking a sample of your incoming water for a test. It is cheap, sometimes free, to have tested. The water provider may not be checking for the problems you are having. Typically they assure you water is safe and bacteria free. Beyond that you may need to find a water treatment expert to test for iron and other things in your water.

    Sometimes you can send a sample to a college for testing also. (They are not in the sales business) As always get several opinions before you spend money on treatments. Make sure you explain the conditions you are experiencing. It will help them narrow down the testing criteria. A water softner does not fix all water problems, be leary of companies that try to sell them as "fix alls".

    If you have checked and replaced the tank and all the steel components, I suspect the problem may be arriving with your water :)

    hot rod

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  • Jackchips
    Jackchips Member Posts: 344
    Hi Jan,

    A few questions: Do any of your neighbors experience the same problem, how old is the house, how long have you been in the house, did you have anything installed around the time the problem started up? Many questions but sorry no specific answers. You should not have to change water heaters if the problem is not happening to your neighbors. That would mean the problem is isolated to your house and you should follow Hot Rods advise and get the water tested. Good luck.
  • you've replaced the tank nipples..but

    what about elsewhere in the system. whats your incoming waterline made of.. whats the city lateral from the main to the curb stop made of..as a matter of fact, whats the city main, made of.
  • Gary Fereday
    Gary Fereday Member Posts: 427
    Any DC devices in the house?

    That is direcr currant? Battery chargers, batteries (like car batteries) Electonic air cleaner. If the polarity got confused on some of that type of equipment iron could be corroding rapidly. Giving rusty water. I am concerened about the chrome color in the D/W. never have heard of that before. A good DC volt meter could be placed between disconnected pipes to see if stray DC voltage is present. If you do this look fore low voltages. Start high and work down to very low measurement. The water test idea is a good place to start. Good luck bigugh
  • Earthfire
    Earthfire Member Posts: 543
    water Quality

    Check the water for hardness, ph , clorine level. Also check for a cross connection to your heating boiler, any cross connections between your drainline and your potable water, Dishwasher? old sinks? etc.Any galvanized or iron pipe on your potable system?
  • Jim Walls_2
    Jim Walls_2 Member Posts: 71
    water heaters

    How long was it, after you replaced the htr before the rust re-appeared? Is there by chance a hot water return line to this htr with a pump on it? Do you have a swimming pool or are you storing any chemicals or cleaning solutions near the htr? What temperature is you tank set at ? Are the plumbers removing the anode rods before installing the new heaters ? Has any electrical work taken place in your home in the past 1 1/2 - 2 years ? Some of these are a stretch given the time frame ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Just some thoughts
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