Black Specks

The black specks can be one of two things, either the deterioration of rubber gaskets in the plumbing or manganese precipitating into the water. If the specks can be smeared between your fingers, then it is a deteriorating gasket. Observe where you are seeing black specks and replace the gasket. If this does not help, and the water has a brownish-black color, it may be manganese. Call us to let us know. We may need to flush the water main distribution lines servicing your home.

White Specks

White specks in your water are most likely caused either by deterioration of the dip tube in your hot water heater or calcium precipitate. Place the white specks in vinegar. If they float, it is a deteriorating dip tube and you need to replace it. If the specks react by fizzing in the vinegar, it is calcium precipitate. You can flush the lines in your home by letting the water run freely out of the faucets for a few minutes.

Hard Water

Our water is classified as hard/very hard with a 2010 hardness average of 207 (mg/l) or about 12.1 grains/gallon. Hardness is caused by naturally occurring calcium and magnesium found in the water. Hard water leaves spots on dishes, scale in pipes and hot water heaters. Setting your hot water heater to 130 degrees or below will help. Manufacturers of dishwashing detergent stopped putting phosphate in their products when many states have banned the addition of phosphate because of ecological reasons. This has greatly aggravated the problem of hard water spots on dishes, but is better for the environment.

Reddish-Brown or Rusty Water

Rusty-brown water may be caused by rusty internal plumbing, the service line leading to your home or your hot water tank. Try letting the water run for a few minutes to clear the water. If that doesn’t work, call us to flush the distribution lines near your home. You may want to refrain from doing laundry if your water appears rusty since rust can stain your clothes.

Cloudy Water

Cloudy water is usually caused by tiny air bubbles in the water similar to gas bubbles in carbonated drinks. Fill a clear glass with water, wait a few minutes to see if the bubbles clear up. If they do not, call us.

Sulfur Smell

A rotten egg or sulfur smell usually indicates bacteria growing in your drain or water heater. Disinfect the drain with a household-cleaning agent such as bleach. If that doesn’t work, it may be in the water heater. Turning the temperature of the water heater up very high for a short period of time will disinfect the water and neutralize the smell. Don’t forget to turn the temperature back down to prevent scalding.

Pink/Orange Stain

A pink or orange stain is a naturally occurring airborne bacteria. These bacteria thrive on moisture, dust, and phosphates and are harmless to most people, but can cause urinary tract infections, wound infections or pneumonia in some.  The stain can easily be wiped off with a disinfectant. Use care with abrasives that can scratch your fixtures. Keeping the bathroom fixtures wiped down and dry will help minimize the occurrence of this bacteria.

Pressure Problems

Temporary low pressure can be caused by heavy water use in your areas, such as lawn watering, fire­fighting, maintenance or construction. In these cases, the pressure will be restored after the high-water-use activity is completed. Permanent low pressure can be caused by several things, including the elevation of your home compared to the elevation of the water tanks; the pipes servicing your home being too small; or scale buildup in the pipes in your home, leaving little room for the water to flow. This is more common in older homes.

If your pressure has changed, your pressure reducing valve may be defective. Pressure reducing valves are installed to reduce the water pressure coming into your home to a desirable level, normally about 60 psi. Not all areas within the District require a pressure reducing valve. When the device goes bad it can either allow too much or not enough pressure to enter the home. Pressure reducing valves are installed and maintained by the customer.

If you have low pressure on a certain faucet there may be a separate valve under the sink that has been partially closed, or the screen on the end of your faucet may need to be cleaned or replaced. If you have checked all of these things and pressure is still not restored, call us to check it out.

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