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Old 02-19-2006, 05:18 PM   #1
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white sedement in pipes


my house was built in 1950 and has the original galvanized pipes. I'm getting a great deal of white flecks building up in my faucet aerators. I started to drain the water heater,(which looks to be 4-5 years old) but stopped after a few gallons as the water was clear. I know this place will need to be re plumbed eventually but I'm trying to hold off a while. Can anybody tell me what this stuff is and if I can do anything to clear it?

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Old 02-19-2006, 05:28 PM   #2
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white sedement in pipes


Do you have a water softener?

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Old 02-19-2006, 08:27 PM   #3
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white sedement in pipes


Negative, no water softener. I don't think that hard water is that much of a problem here. I've been in this house going on four years and this seems to have started within the last year or so.
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Old 02-19-2006, 11:21 PM   #4
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white sedement in pipes


If the white flecks are soft when wet, it's calcium, which can be corrected with a water softener. Regular ion exhange water softeners remove calcium and magnesium that make water hard. Even with a water softener, you still can get calcium build-up in showerheads and faucet aerators, which can be cleaned by soaking them in vinegar from time to time. You can remove them and soak them overnight in a bowl of vinegar, or you can tie or rubber band a plastic baggie of vinegar over them overnight to accomplish the same thing.
If the white flecks are hard when wet, it's particles of deteriorating dip tub inside the water heater, which can be replaced. Plastic dip tubes carry the cold water supply to the bottom of the water heater.
(Don't forget to check the screens in the washing machine hoses where they connect to the water spigots.)
Speaking of replacing, obsolete galvanized water supply pipes are notorious for scaling up inside over time, restricting water flow, until they eventually plug up completely. They can replaced piecemeal (start near the fixtures where they tend to plug worse first and work back), or all at once. Most of the pro plumbers here are going with flexible PEX for replacement of galvanized. If you go with copper, you will have to use di-eletric fittings to connect copper to galvanized to prevent electrolysis corrosion between the two dissimilar metals.
Good luck!
Mike

Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 02-19-2006 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 02-21-2006, 12:11 AM   #5
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white sedement in pipes


That's a lot of good info, thank you for taking the time to answer so throughly. I'll most likely go with the pex as I've heard a lot of good things about it and I've never sweated copper pipes and have no desire to burn down my house.
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:15 PM   #6
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white sedement in pipes


All pipes develop scale. You failed to say if you were on city or well. If on municipal, call them and ask about scale problems. They will probably lie to you but what else can you do?

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