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Old 10-22-2013, 01:51 PM   #1
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Hi All, I hope you can help with this very mysterious problem we are having with our hot water. About two years ago we noticed that the tub in our older bathroom was pumping out yellow water. We didnít see any dirt, sand or mud just yellow water (like really yellow water). The strange part was that the rest of the sinks and showers in the house produced clean looking hot water but once we turned on the tub all the outlets in the house ran yellowish water for a short while after. Just to be clear there is absolutely no issues with the cold water in the house from any faucet and therefore we ruled out any issues with the main water line. Less than a year ago we changed out the hot water heater thinking this was the problem but sure enough the yellow water is still coming out of the tub. We called PSE&G and they didnít know what the cause was but was confident that it isnít the new water heater (itís under warranty so they would have to replace it free of charge). They suggested changing the valve on the hot side of the tub. I called a trusted plumber and he shot down the valve idea since that is unlikely to cause yellow water and it isnít leaking so it probably isnít faulty. He also didnít think that it would be the hot water tank since it is basically new. I flushed some water out of the bottom of the hot water tank and it was dirty but not yellow. We canít seem to figure out why only the tub starts the problem with yellow water and none of the other faucets. The only think we can think of is that the old tub has an unrestricted faucet and therefore maybe it is clearing out the tank faster and pulling up junk from the bottom of the tank. This would also make sense that the other faucets would also show some yellow since the junk was disturbed but once it settles the yellow goes away. Some have suggested a water softener but no one on my block has this issue and until two years ago we never had yellow water. We even called the town engineer to see if there was pipe work being done in the area but they confirmed that nothing is being done and that would show up in cold water also. We have exhausted all our resources so I figured I would give you guys a try. You have always been very helpful in the past.Thanks.


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Old 10-22-2013, 02:44 PM   #2
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Do you have any galvanized pipe in the house? If so, could be rust from corrosion on the inside of the pipes. The hot water accelerates the corrosion, so you are more likely to see it on the hot side vs. cold. I used to get brownish water if it had not been used for a couple days. It went away when I replace the galvanized with copper.

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Old 10-22-2013, 02:49 PM   #3
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Have you ruled out pipes? What kind of pipes do you have? Copper, pex, galvanize, etc.

I think your right about replacing galvanize with copper. How much galvanized is left?

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Old 10-22-2013, 02:50 PM   #4
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


100 percent it is the galvanized nipple that is screwed into the spout of your bathtub/ galvanized piping used for that bathtub valve ...seen it a million times
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:55 PM   #5
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Thanks for the reply. I can't see what is behind the walls but the house was built in 1953 and there hasn't been any construction on this part of the house. The basement has copper going in and out of the tank. The pipes coming into the sink in that bathroom are copper. I would assume the tub pipes are also copper.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:02 PM   #6
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Thanks Ben. Would it make sense that after using the tub for a few minutes the yellow water would run back into the pipes and show up in other sinks around the house? Would it just be changing out the valve on the hot side? I'm assuming I would have to open up the wall to do this?
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:07 PM   #7
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Don't assume there is no galvanized. The previous owners of my house (1956) remodeled the bathroom in the 1970s I'm guessing. Most of the plumbing was redone with copper, but for some reason they left a five foot section plus the supply lines for the sink as galvanized. They actually transitioned from copper out of the water heater to galvanized and then back to copper. The hot side of my sink slowed to a trickle at one point and the nipple from the wall was solid rust when I pulled it apart.

Is there by chance an access panel on the back side of the wall where you can get a look at the tub fixture?

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Old 10-22-2013, 03:08 PM   #8
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No that wouldn't make sense...I thought you said that there are no other faucets affected by this yellowish water???
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
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I've seen the plumbers use copper for everything except for the stupid nipple coming out for the spout.. The call always was said to be I get yellowish water and then it goes away after I run the water for a little bit
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:11 PM   #10
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I would start with the spout. If it is indeed threaded try to without damaging the spout take it off and look to see if that pipe is galvanized
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:18 PM   #11
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Mysterious Yellow How Water in Tub only


Tev, I agree I shouldn't assume. Let's just say there is a 5 foot Galvanized pipe in the wall between the hot water heater and the tub does it make sense that after running the tub other sinks would show up with yellow. Remember when the tub is not in use all the sinks and showers are clear water.

Ben, I will check the nipple and report back tomorrow.

Thank you all for your help so far.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:23 PM   #12
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Okay after rereading your original post if you are getting yellowish water out of your other faucets there probably is a section that is galvanized and not adjust the tub. And you are right about the unrestricted flow when you open the tub releases water like an outside spigot creatine / disturbing rust inside the piping and showing up at other places than the tub

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