Water quality Faucet

Published on February 6th, 2018 | by Henri

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Black specks in water from kitchen faucet

Q.  My mom lives in Houston and the faucet in her kitchen sink has a problem with the cold water that comes out during the summer time. There are very small black specks in the water. When she runs the hot water, the specks are not there.

She has changed the faucet itself and this did not help. She has had several plumbers look at it and they say it’s the faucet. However, if it was the faucet, why would the black specks not appear with the hot water? When she asks the plumbers they can’t answer the question. Any ideas on this one? Thanks.

A.  Are these specks only coming out of the kitchen cold water faucet and not in other fixtures? And only during the summer? That makes it even more mysterious.

If they were found in other cold water faucets as well, the problem could be due to rusting steel or iron pipes used by the city. If the black particles are hard, it almost sounds as if there is a rusting steel pipe section feeding cold water to the kitchen faucet. These black particles should disappear after the water runs for a few minutes. They do not appear when running hot water because they have settled in the water heater.

How old is your mother’s house? The water pipes may have been iron originally and replaced in time with copper as leaks developed. Most of the time, these pipes are only replaced where accessible, and those are usually the horizontal sections in open basements or cellars.

Interestingly enough, the vertical sections hidden in walls do not rust as quickly or often as the horizontal ones and are not usually replaced unless leaks develop. That usually require opening walls.

But if the black particles are soft, they may be decomposing rubber from a flexible pipe feeding the cold-water kitchen faucet. They are not likely to be from decomposing rubber parts in the new faucet since it has been replaced and they are still occurring.

This decomposition may be due to chemicals used to treat the water supply. The solution is to replace the flexible pipe with a pipe not containing rubber.

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