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Old 09-23-2017, 08:19 AM   #1
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Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


Before I installed a bromine tablet water treatment system in my upstairs master bath toilet, a green slime would sometimes grow in the bowl. The bromine system has eliminated that completely. A problem persists in the master bath shower on the same water supply. The shower has a "sunflower" head (lots of pinpoint jets). Small black deposits accumulate on the jets, and as the water drips from the head after shutting off the shower, it hits the faucet handle, where the black stuff then grows, and the shower floor (tumbled marble grouted tile), which also hosts the black stuff. I clean it with bleach and it comes back. This only occurs in the upstairs bath; it's not a problem at any other water outlet in my house. I live in Southeast Michigan, so tropical humidity is not an issue. So what's happening between downstairs and up? Many thanks for your help.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:02 AM   #2
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


Are you on well or city water? Mold will grow anywhere there is food and moisture.

Soaking the shower head in a mild acid occasionally will clear up much of the hard water that often obstructs the flow pathways.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


Even though you aren't seeing the problem elsewhere I would be concerned about the quality of the water. If this is a well you should get it tested and follow their treatment recommendations. If city water have them test a sample.

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Old 09-23-2017, 10:03 PM   #4
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


As WoW said, mould needs food and moisture. If water is dripping from the showerhead onto the hard surface of a faucet and growing mould, I'd be looking at the humidity level in the bathroom. Perhaps open a window or run the fan for half an hour after a shower.

If you get your water tested, get it tested for more than the standard bacteria/fecal coliform. You might have some organic compounds than are providing nutrients.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:30 PM   #5
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


Just FYI, this house had a shower pipe leak that was hard to find & the fact the carpets were still wet from being cleaned made it more difficult to figure out, even for a plumber. The leak slowly flooded the carpets. It was 80% humidity in the house. Black mold grew on the windows & sills where water condensed but not where you are describing. None on the shower-head, shower wall or tub.
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Old 09-24-2017, 12:36 PM   #6
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


The city supplies my water. They send us an annual water quality report that I have never had reason to doubt, although with the Flint, Michigan debacle, I did have my water test for lead. The results were negative. I'll soak the shower head and faucet in bleach and the head alone in CLR, and report back. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


I think I figured it out. The "sunflower" shower head has rubber-nub pinhole jets that stop the head from draining completely when the water shuts off. I confirmed this when I removed the head and a brief stream of water poured out of the supply pipe. I don't know where the nutrients are coming from, but I've found the moisture source that the mold/mildew needs to grow. I bought the shower head below from Home Depot. Turning it to full open when the water shuts off allows most of the water to drain. I'm also leaving the shower door open for better air circulation. I sure wish the stall shower upstairs drained the shower supply like the tub/shower downstairs, but I've never seen that feature in a stall shower. Will try this for a few weeks and post the outcome.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:58 PM   #8
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


http://www.homedepot.com/p/Glacier-B...00GW/206686196
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:36 AM   #9
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Re: Algae/mold in upstairs water supply?


It's been 5 weeks since I installed the new shower head and the problem has yet to reappear. The growth happened twice before with two of the same model Kohler sunflower-type heads, so I have to conclude that the water retained by these heads made a perfect environment for the mold/mildew. But as the Rolling Stones once said, "It's all over now."
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