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Old 03-26-2010, 11:32 AM   #1
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


My kitched faucet, which is one of those types that work as a regular faucet and then you pull it out of a slot and can use it as a sprayer on a flexible house, continually gets a clogged aerator.

We have good quality, treated city water ... not a well. The particles that get clogged in the aerator are small chunks that are mostly white with a tinge of light green on them.

I know many houses have disintegrating dip tube problems with their water heater, where they get little plastic chunks clogging their aerator. But I tried melting these chunks with heat and they do not melt, as plastic would. Also, unlike plastic, you can crush them down into smaller chunks. But they do not appear to be calcium deposits because they do not dissolve in vinegar. Also, they float in water.

This first happened when our water softener was out of salt, and as soon as I added salt, then the problem went away. A couple months later, it was briefly out of salt again, the particles began clogging the aerator again, and I added more salt and have kept it full, but the clogging continues.

I also drained some of the usual sediment (a few gallons, until the water ran clear) out of the water heater, but none of those particles appeared in that water. This was before I realized that those particles float, so once I get a hose to hook up to the water heater, I'll do a full drain.

Weird thing is this mainly happens in that one faucet in the kitchen ... not the others in the house.

Our water heater (electric) is about 10 yrs old and our water softener (Softy II brand) is as old as the house: about 25 years old.

Anyone have any ideas as to what is causing this and how I can fix it?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:35 PM   #2
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


Corrosion somewhere? What is the material of plumbing in your house. When copper corrodes, is it not greenish tint? I would not expect this to float, however.

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


Our plumbing is copper.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:58 PM   #4
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


Maybe it's part of the filtering system (maybe the lining?) in the softener breaking down? Adding salt covers it for a while?
25 years? It may be time for a new softener!

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Old 03-26-2010, 02:10 PM   #5
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


When my dip tube deteriorated, the particles were just like you described. For a while I thought I had lime/calcium deposits. When I reached the point of cleaning every aerator in the house 2-3 times a week, I replaced the water heater. Problem went away.
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:16 PM   #6
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


Thanks for the ideas, everyone. Well, I drained the water heater completely, and none of those chunks came out of there. I did notice on various copper items, such as a discharge pipe and a copper faucet I have in the laundry room, that the corrosion that builds on the copper is about the same color as the greenish-white chunks. So maybe there is something to the idea that some copper is corroding somewhere along the line to that faucet.

That Moehn faucet with the chunks has a copper fitting just before the aerator, and that is discolored a bit too, as if some finish is worn off, and it's darker copper colored in some areas. I wonder if it's made of some cheap metal with a copper coating and the coating is wearing off and causing these problems. Has anyone heard of this before ... a fitting in the faucet corroding and causing chunks in the aerator?

Again what is weird about this, is it's only one faucet in the house that is getting clogged with these chunks.
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


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Has anyone heard of this before ... a fitting in the faucet corroding and causing chunks in the aerator?
I've replaced a few pretty old and crumbly rubber washers.... I'm starting to lean in this direction as well. disassemble/inspect faucet unit?

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Old 03-29-2010, 11:48 AM   #8
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


My father's house suffered from this. The little greenish-white chunks that plugged the kitchen aerator was mineral build-up that formed over the years on the inside of the copper water line. It started after the line to the kitchen got banged up in the basement. Once a piece of the mineral got knocked loose, it continued to break off the inside of the pipe. I ended up replacing that piece of copper, and it was easy to see the crud on the inside of the pipe after removal.

His house was around 30 years old when this happened. He had city water, but it was pretty hard.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:55 AM   #9
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


I didn't tear apart the faucet looking for corrosion, but in poking around, I didn't see any obvious spots where it might be happening. But I noticed that on one of the two chrome-colored oval handled shut off valves below the sink, it wasn't opened all the way and it was difficult to turn either way. I wonder if corrossion or mineral deposits were collecting in that area. Aren't non copper fittings more susceptible to corrosion than copper fittings?

I've opened it all the way and will test it now.

Thanks for the advice, everyone!
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:19 AM   #10
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


Hi folks, my problem with a clogged kitched faucet aerator continues. Couldn't find any corrosion problem in the faucet.

Every three days or so I still have reduced water flow and need to clean out the chunks in the aerator of just this one faucet. My latest theory is that, since these white chunks are only showing up in this one faucet, that maybe there's some kind of corrosion/mineral reaction occuring inside the chrome shutoff valves, below the sink. Has anyone heard of this occuring before ... maybe if the chrome plated shutoff valves aren't made of the best quality or don't have thick enough brass on the inside?

Just thought I'd check for some other opinions before I pull those off to look for corrosion.

Thanks much for your help!
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:29 AM   #11
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


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When my dip tube deteriorated, the particles were just like you described. For a while I thought I had lime/calcium deposits. When I reached the point of cleaning every aerator in the house 2-3 times a week, I replaced the water heater. Problem went away.
Yes, mine were shell-like particles and the tube replacement was covered under a class action lawsuit that my plumber knew about.
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:39 AM   #12
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


When I heat these particles up with a flame, they don't melt and they also crumble into smaller pieces. And this clogging only happens in one faucet. Also, there were no particles in the water when I flushed out my water heater. So I'm pretty sure all that rules out a faulty dip tube in the water heater.
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:45 PM   #13
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do they dissolve/fizz in vinegar?
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:14 PM   #14
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do they dissolve/fizz in vinegar?
No, they don't do either.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:21 PM   #15
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Greenish white chunks clogging faucet aerator


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Originally Posted by Studly View Post
When I heat these particles up with a flame, they don't melt and they also crumble into smaller pieces. And this clogging only happens in one faucet. Also, there were no particles in the water when I flushed out my water heater. So I'm pretty sure all that rules out a faulty dip tube in the water heater.
That is usually little balls of hardness scale stained green/blue by copper plumbing corrosion coming loose from inside the plumbing.

You should check your softener by doing a hardness test every day until it regenerates again and then do it until the next regeneration. Do that each day about the same time in the evening to make sure the softener is not leaving one or more grains per gallon of hardness in the water. And if it is find out why it does instead of producing 0 gpg soft water at all times.

If this material fizzes in vinegar, it is harness scale.

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