Black Water Deposits

The Tank Black Water Deposits

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    I recently installed a Richmond 50 gallon natural gas water heater. Since installing it I am getting black water deposits on my sinks and drains. I am on a private well and soften the water. No problems with the cold water and did not have this problem prior to installing the new water heater. I am also getting the rotten egg odor as described in “The Water Heater Workbook”. Will changing out the anode rod eliminate the problems. Would the powered anode rod be the recommended replacement or will a zinc/aluminum rod do the trick? Help!

    I should have also mentioned that the inside of my toilet tanks also have the black film.

    A new Morton System Saver Model MSD45EA45 water softener was installed at the same time the water heater was replaced. All new copper piping was installed from the main cold water supply to and from each the new devices A whole house sediment filter was also installed ahead of the softener.


    Larry Weingarten

    Hello: I can comment on some of this. Softening should be done so it leaves 60 to 120 ppm of hardness in the water. Oversoftening can make anodes work harder and not last long. The other thing it does is to prevent formation of a thin coating of scale inside of copper pipe. You want this coating as it protects the pipe. It’s good practice when new copper is installed to run unsoftened water through it for a few months to let it get this coating. These are suggestions from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.

    So I’d start by making sure the softening is at the right level and then see what the problems are. If the odor is a pain, you can treat temporarily by using hydrogen peroxide.

    Yours, Larry

    Randy Schuyler

    If the odor is coming from all taps and not just some taps, then installation of a powered anode will solve the rotten-egg problem, while also protecting the heater from rusting. Not so sure about the black deposits, although it’s a possibility. Cutting down the softening a bit is a good idea but is unlikely to solve the odor problem.

    My thinking about aluminum/zinc is that it would be a good solution if you weren’t using the water softener.

    Randy Schuyler

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