What's this material in my pipes?!

(Joseph R. Vandigriff, HI9470) #1

This is occurring at my own residence. I am on a well and am used to seeing mineral deposits, lime scale etc. but this looks…different. It almost looks like a fiberous wood pulp type material but, it has a plastic/pvc look to it. At first I thought it was coming up from the well pump (and it may be) but now I am thinking it originates from the Hot water heater?


Anyways, It mainly occurs/collects in the filter screen for the Master bath shower head and also in the filter screens for the washing machine in the utility room - both locations are closest to the water heater in the garage. All other fixtures have very little of this material collecting; if any at all.

FYI: In this part of Florida, we are on a really “Good bubble” as they say…no sulfur smell or taste and no one including me has an in-line water softeners/filter coming in from the well out of any necessity. Water is some of the sweetest I have ever tasted in fact.

It started about a month ago intermittently and now restricts water flow to the point I am cleaning it out of the screens at these two locations every other day.

When dried and rubbed together between fingers it does not “powder” like you would expect a mineral or lime type substance to do. It just maintains it’s form as seen in the pics. I’ve never seen anything like it as far as looks/texture. Weird!

Anyone have an idea what it is and where it may be from?

I am leasing this home so I must have the leasing agent arrange for someone to come out but I don’t want to request a plumber (to drain and flush the HWH etc.) if it’s a well issue or vice versa. Being that it’s a lease, I am not allowed to investigate further on my own - nor do I want to. I pay for the “enjoyment and use” of the property not for the “honor” of maintaining it. At least not when it comes to system components!

Again, any ideas on what this material may be an indication of is appreciated!

(Roy Lewis, CMI - North Florida Inspector) #2

Possibly calcium carbonate.
However, It looks like fiber glass.
Is you well pressure tank fiberglass? Is it old?

(Joseph R. Vandigriff, HI9470) #3

Hi Roy.

The well expansion tank is brand new. It was replaced 2 mos. ago and is steel ( at least the exterior is). The brand is Flexcon “Flex2 PRO” Model# WWT45. I thought of calcium carb too but wasn’t sure…

ETA: Needless to say it’s bottled water only for the time being. I’m using the filtered water from the fridge for Coffee in the mornings…NOTHING may taint my beloved Java in the mornings.:stuck_out_tongue:

(Roy Lewis, CMI - North Florida Inspector) #4

Go to the well are run the water there for a few hours and nothing within the dwelling. Then after that, remove all your aerators from all faucets and remove the shower heads.(don’t flush the toilets during this time those will plug up real easy.) Turn everything on … including every outside bib and all interior fixture with the exception I have noted above for about 45 min to an hour…
It just flushing the system.

It could be pvc solvent remnants when they did the tank.
That is what I’m thinking.

(Joseph R. Vandigriff, HI9470) #5

Thanks for the reply Roy and I’ll give that a shot and see what it does.

(Roy Lewis, CMI - North Florida Inspector) #6

Try to find out where it originates from.
Put a strainer( sock around the hose) at the end of the well discharge just to see.

(Greg W. Mathias, CCHI, CMI) #7

Do you use a pre-filter or something like it? Could it be a filter breaking down?

(Roy Lewis, CMI - North Florida Inspector) #8

Yep!

(Joseph R. Vandigriff, HI9470) #9

Hi Greg.
Nope, no filters. and up until a month ago there was no issues at all. Water was super clean coming straight from the Auquifer…

(Michael Bitterman, CMI HI7792) #10

Termites? :smiley: Seriously though, I would think it is a filter breaking down, or maybe something in your water treatment system.

(Geff Spry, CMI) #11

Did you figure this out? My guess would be the well expansion tank is suspect since you never had the issue prior to the new install.

(Joseph R. Vandigriff, HI9470) #12

Apologies for the delay in an update. The leasing agency had been dicking me around about getting someone out but, we’ve gotten a well man out and it turns out they’ll be installing a new sub-pump.

Turns out; that those fibers weren’t calcium carbonate or a mineral deposit of any kind. They were part of a disintegrating impeller. I assume it’s a type of matt (fiberglass?) used in combination with the plastic or resin used to create/manufacture the impeller.

While doing a little more exploratory investigating before the well man came out, I narrowed it down to originating from the well when I opened the spigot at the well head and saw it swirling around in a bucket I put underneath.

Oh well, sucks for the owner but, now I know and will put it in the memory bank for the future!

Learn something new everyday!

(Roy D. Cooke, Sr) #13

Interesting .
Great thanks for the reply That’s how we learn about new concerns .