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#141658 - 09/30/04 10:22 AM Plumbing problem
lyledunn Offline
Member

Registered: 06/30/02
Posts: 159
Loc: N.Ireland
I know that this may be the wrong forum but I have always believed that sparks were infinitely more intelligent than our plumbing cousins. Any way, I have the most disgusting growth pervading my copper domestic hot and cold water system. It does not affect the drinking water. The system is gravity fed from a plastic tank in the loft. There is no evidence of contamination, fauna etc and the tank has a lid. I have poured quantities of fairly strong bleached in to the tank and flushed it through. The water is a muddy light brown. Any ideas that might help me.
Many thanks.

[This message has been edited by lyledunn (edited 10-01-2004).]
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lyle dunn

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#141659 - 09/30/04 10:43 AM Re: Plumbing problem
Hutch Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 383
Loc: South Oxfordshire, UK
What's the colour of the water coming in from the outside i.e the mains, well etc. Is the contamination from the outside?

If you strain the water through a filter - say a paper coffee filter - does it leave a sediment?

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#141660 - 09/30/04 12:33 PM Re: Plumbing problem
lyledunn Offline
Member

Registered: 06/30/02
Posts: 159
Loc: N.Ireland
Hutch,
Thanks for quick reply. No the water supply is perfect. I have just talked to a spark friend who said that a hotel he was working on experienced similar problem. Turned out to be air getting in???
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lyle dunn

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#141661 - 09/30/04 05:34 PM Re: Plumbing problem
uksparky Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 199
Loc: UK
Hmm

If the 'muddiness' disappears after a while it is certainly air. Usually this is white in appearance tho'... However, if the water is of certain chemical/mineral content this can lead to reactions around the bazillions of tiny air bubbles; the resulting compound is coloured giving the water the appearance of containing pigment or dirt.

Air ingress into water systems is a problem; even under pressure a pipe can draw air in if the flow-rate is high; rather like a carby on a petrol engine. If left, this air usually collects into visible bubbles, and larger pockets which can be a ball-ache in terms of hammering and air-locks.

Sometimes, on pumped systems where there is a sudden pressure drop - beyond for instance a partially closed valve or on the leeward side of a pump impeller, you get 'cavitation'. This is where the dissolved air in water forms bubbles ( like when you open a fizzy drink ), these then burst against surfaces and in doing so dislodge tiny amounts of the metal they are made of. In time this will lead to leaks and wear - that are often confused with chemical corrosion - and are a costly headache for water utilities!

So, air...possibly! Also could be dissolved pigmentation from the groundwater supply itself. Do you live in a peaty area for instance? Are your kettles stained a ghastly brown colour where they are constantly immersed in water?

Don't know if any of this helped or not!!

Deer mee...mi speeling is hopless twonight

[This message has been edited by uksparky (edited 09-30-2004).]
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#141662 - 10/01/04 01:26 AM Re: Plumbing problem
lyledunn Offline
Member

Registered: 06/30/02
Posts: 159
Loc: N.Ireland
uksparky,
Many thanks for your considered and obviously knowledgeable resonse. Are you involved in the plumbing side in some way?
Any way, the water is now running clear as I dumped 2 bottles of bleach into the tank and then thoroughly flushed the system through. I could have lived with the muddy copper colour but the growth was repulsive, almost like little bits of stringy brown moss. I also discovered a weep at the bottom of the hot water cylinder which may have permitted air to enter. Whilst the bleach has cleared the water, it is not yet reasonable to conclude that the growth has been dealt with.

[This message has been edited by lyledunn (edited 10-01-2004).]
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lyle dunn

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#141663 - 10/01/04 05:37 AM Re: Plumbing problem
Hutch Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 383
Loc: South Oxfordshire, UK
Your description of your problem suggest you have some contamination somewhere to me. You describe a brown-copper colour and a ‘growth’ (solids). This reminds me of draining radiators and gives me an idea.

I would think you have a standard UK type setup with an immersion heater under the header tank and that the water in the immersion heater is heated either by the electric or more commonly in winter by your central heating boiler especially if like me your heating has started to come on.

It sounds like cross-contamination between the boiler water in the heating coil inside your immersion heater and your hot water. The small weep you found could be symptomatic of a wider problem. You might need a new immersion heater as the heating coils are integral. You might have to call a plumber on this one – just don’t let him wire-up the immersion heater for you !


[This message has been edited by Hutch (edited 10-01-2004).]

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#141664 - 10/02/04 02:54 AM Re: Plumbing problem
uksparky Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 199
Loc: UK
LOL @ Hutch...plumbers and wiring...

I am not a plumber but am involved in alot of mechanics as well as electrics...incl "fluid technology" ( a very pompous term for the ability to fathom out hydraulics and compressed air - but does include heating and water systems too occasionally! ).

I suspect Hutch has hit it; the coil in the cylinder has failed and the water from the primary and secondary circuits is mixing. This has dangers for those using the domestic hot water - as well as potentially ruining the heating system/boiler if the primary coil and heating circuits are mixed. I strongly advise a plumber does a system pressure check, possibly a dye test. Alternatively, if the cylinder has already leaked, you just bite the bullet and change it ( saves test costs! ). Pound to a penny; if it has leaked once it will leak again - and that will happen on the first night you are away for a week!

I'm guessing you're in a soft water area; notorious for eating away at copper...

[This message has been edited by uksparky (edited 10-02-2004).]
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If hindsight were foresight, we'd all be millionaires!

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#141665 - 10/03/04 05:28 AM Re: Plumbing problem
lyledunn Offline
Member

Registered: 06/30/02
Posts: 159
Loc: N.Ireland
uksparky and Hutch,
many thanks for your input. I am seriously considering a replacement cylinder. However, I want to be sure that the contamination will not simply reoccur. I put chlorine in the system and thoroughly flushed it through. I have also taken samples and they will be with Public Health tomorrow. I will let you know the outcome. Many thanks!
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lyle dunn

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#141666 - 10/27/04 07:01 PM Re: Plumbing problem
Hutch Offline
Member

Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 383
Loc: South Oxfordshire, UK
Hey Lyle,

What was the outcome of your plumbing woes?

Did you get an answer from the council?

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#141667 - 10/28/04 02:59 AM Re: Plumbing problem
lyledunn Offline
Member

Registered: 06/30/02
Posts: 159
Loc: N.Ireland
Yes hutch, believe it or not the growth is just that a vegtable growth!! The guy from Public Health was well aware of the problem in the Dromara region of N.Ireland which receicves its water from the Spelga Dam in the Mourne mountains nearby. Apparently the spore is present in the water and will seed on the inside of pipes where the water is sluggish. The brown colour was due to the lack of daylight.
A good flush out with bleach has cured the problem. Of course we will have to take more baths rather than showers in order to ensure that the growth does not return. I cannot remember the latin name but I will try to contact Public Health again.
Many thanks for your input!
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regards

lyle dunn

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