Green blue flakes from water supply

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by 3Trees, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Feb 11, 2013 #1

    3Trees

    3Trees

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    I have discovered green bluish flakes of minerals, or something, coming out of the water supply that flows into an Amana refrigerator model SRD20S4W.
    See video of it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMX2Fb794q0&feature=youtu.be

    I discovered this stuff when I was troubleshooting a leak from the freezer. The leak was dribbling out between the freezer and the freezer door seal, onto the floor.

    When the problem first occurred, I thought the water inlet valve on the Amana refrigerator was shot, so I replaced it. I noticed some of those green bluish particulates at that time, but I didn't think it warranted any concern. It was a small amount of greenish particulate and I (naively) assumed it was normal sluff from old copper tubing and brass fittings.

    Some days later, the leaking problem occurred again. I turned off the water supply to the fridge/freezer and put that repair on my back burner. We don't use the water from the fridge, and we could buy ice for a few weeks.

    Low and behold, some weeks later, the leak began to dribble again. Puzzled, I discovered that I had a large amount of ice damming up the drain to the evaporator pan. I have now removed everything from the fridge and freezer and have thoroughly thawed and cleaned the entire unit.

    Does anyone know what the green bluish flakes are, that are flowing from my water supply, when I turn it off and then back on again?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2013
  2. Feb 11, 2013 #2

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    The water heater dip tube is disintegrating?
     
  3. Feb 12, 2013 #3

    nealtw

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    Wuzzat: wouldn't that show up in the hot water side?
     
  4. Feb 12, 2013 #4

    woodchuck

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    I think you were right on the copper pipe thing. That's exactly what acid water does to copper pipe. It can eventually eat through the pipe in 15 years or so.

    Your drain was clogged with ice because the bottom of the tube at the evaporator pan underneath the unit drains too slow letting the water from defrost cycles freeze before it can drain. You can clear it by blowing through it using a tube and also pour some Clorox into it to kill and algae etc.
     
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  5. Feb 12, 2013 #5

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    Yes. Good catch. Didn't read the post carefully. My bad. :(
     
  6. Feb 12, 2013 #6

    kok328

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    I think the green/blue flakes are calcium but, this would be accumulating in the water heater not the cold water lines. In any regards, you may consider installing or changing the water filter to the ice maker.
     
  7. Feb 12, 2013 #7

    3Trees

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    Thank you all for sharing your knowledge.

    After reading your posts, and discussing with some local plumbers, appliance specialists, and water company, I am confident with knowing that the stuff is copper sluff. I will replace the copper tube with potable plastic tubing.

    One more thing I would like to run by you all.

    After thoroughly thawing, drying, and cleaning the entire Fridge/Freezer unit, and reassembling I am back to my original problem, (which I hadn't detailed above): the water continuously flows from the ice maker. In other words, after reassembling I plugged the fridge/freezer back into power and the water supply continues to flow into, and then overflow out of the ice maker.
    Because [A] the water supply pressure is strong, the continuity of the (newly replaced) water inlet valve is good, I assume I simply have a bad ice maker. Do you folks agree?

    2 questions:

    How does the water inlet valve know when the ice maker is full of water, and to close the valve?
    Does anyone know where I can acquire an Ice Maker cheaper than $112, for Amana SRD20S4W?
    I did find a replacement ice maker for $35 but Im waiting to hear back from them. The price makes me a little suspect when compared to other prices I have seen. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge. http://www.seneca-river-trading.com/reicbforwhse.html

    Thanks gang!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  8. Feb 12, 2013 #8

    3Trees

    3Trees

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    Thanks for your help kok328.

    I only see the greenish stuff appear from the water supply going to the fridge, when I disconnect the water supply from the fridge and run the water into a bucket. It does not appear from any other faucets or aerators. And it only appears when I fiddle with the angle stop valve. If I let the water supply flow for 15 seconds I no longer see the greenish particulates flowing out. I suspect the flakes are dislodged when I open the valve and introduce irregular pressure. (I think?)

    My fridge/freezer appears to not have any filters. (Amana SRD20S4W) I could find no mention of it in the manual, and I never came across a filter while inspecting ever inch of this devil.
     
  9. Feb 12, 2013 #9

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    Nextag tells me that half the replacement icemakers cost between $55 and $88 so yours is a bit low. There were a lot of prices at $88 which makes me wonder what is going on with these icemakers.

    But, watch the wiring.
    Fridge makers, d@mn them, have jumpers in place on the connectors so that if you unplug the icemaker the whole fridge stops working.
     
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  10. Feb 12, 2013 #10

    woodchuck

    woodchuck

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    The water inlet valve to the ice maker is controlled by by the ice maker using a timer. The timer can be adjusted by finding a screw or knob under the plastic cover of the ice maker. It will have a minus to one side and a plus to the other. Turn the knob to adjust the time.
     
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  11. Feb 12, 2013 #11

    Fireguy5674

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    Any chance some of your copper sluff is getting in the soleniod valve and preventing it from completely shutting off or damaging the seat in the valve? Just a thought.
     
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  12. Feb 21, 2013 #12

    3Trees

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    Thank you all for sharing your knowledge. Your guidance was very helpful. I just wanted to post a follow-up, in the hopes that someone else might gain insight from my amateur troubleshooting.

    Appliance: Amana Side-by-side Refridgerator Model# SRD20S4W

    Original symptoms of problem: Water was leaking out of the freezer, between the door seal and freezer compartment.

    Misdiagnosis: Water Inlet Valve was bad causing for the valve to not close, thus overflowing the ice maker, and over time dribbling out of the freezer onto the kitchen floor. I replaced the Water Inlet Valve, but failed to logically assess the problem.The problem (leaking) occurred again, days later, even after replacing the water inlet valve. After some cursing, I decided that the Ice Maker timer is shot. I ordered a replacement Ice Maker for $35 +shipping.

    Further inspection: Shortly after placing the order for the replacement Ice Maker, I began making a closer inspection of the freezer compartment. I realized there was ice build-up at the very bottom-rear of the freezer compartment. The ice was forming between the bottom of the freezer compartment and the drain tray that sits just a couple centimeters above it. I removed the evaporator cover panel and discovered I had ice forming up into the heat dissipation fins on the THINGY (Evaporator/Heat Exchanger?). After a complete thawing of the freezer, the ice turned to standing water.

    Final diagnosis: I had 2 problems at the same time. #1) The drain was clogged with what can reasonably be described as primordial ooze. Every time the freezer went into defrost mode, unable to drain (due to the clog), the water would trickle down to the small cavity at the bottom of the freezer compartment. When that small cavity was filled with water/ice, the overflow would dribble onto the kitchen floor. #2) The ice maker was not sending signal to close the water valve (I'm not 100% on this diagnosis). The water would fill the ice maker, then overflow into the freezer compartment, and flow out the freezer door onto the kitchen floor.

    Solutions: #1) I threaded a small diameter wire through the defrost drain tube so that the end of the wire was sticking out both ends of the drain tube. I attached some gun barrel cleaning patches to the wire and pulled the wire through the drain tube, effectively reaming the gunk from the tube. #2) I installed the replacement Ice Maker I ordered (http://www.seneca-river-trading.com/reicbforwhse.html) and it worked as it should, no overflow. I then yanked it and installed the old ice maker again. Same overflow problem occurred again. I fiddled with the timing knob on the old ice maker, but that did not stop the flow of water. I assume the old ice maker has an electrical flaw, but I did not test it with a meter to be certain. The replacement ice maker has been working great for a couple days now. The entire unit is back to working superbly. For those keeping score, the unit now has a new Water Inlet Valve (unnecessary), and a refurbished Ice Maker.

    Regarding the forum headline: Whats the green flakes, and did they have anything to do with my problems? No. The green flakes were a red herring in my troubleshooting. It turns out that the green/bluish flakes are mineral build-up that have taken on the color of oxidized copper. Why? Because I neglected to operate my water softener for a long period of time, the mineral content in our water tended to build up around the valve that regulates water flowing to my fridge. Only when I open and close that valve would it jar the mineral particles to flake off and then appear in my water flow to the fridge/freezer. How do I know the green flakes are not a problem? Because I was so curious to know if the flakes were a problem, I dismantled the old water inlet valve to inspect it for green flakes. It was clean as a whistle, inside-and-out. The mesh screen was keeping all the visible green flakes out of the system. My next project in the near future is replacing the copper tubing with newer plastic stuff. Additionally I learned my lesson with hard water. I will keep my finicky water softener operating. Don't be surprised when you see me appear on the Water Softener forum, soon.

    This forum has been a huge help. Thanks for all your guidance folks. If my diagnosis seems incorrect in anyway, I am very eager to hear your feedback.

    I now have my old Ice Maker available, if anyone has the ability to refurbish it or wants it for parts, please contact me through this forum.
     
  13. Feb 21, 2013 #13

    3Trees

    3Trees

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    Thank you all for sharing your knowledge. Your guidance was very helpful. I just wanted to post a follow-up, in the hopes that someone else might gain insight from my amateur troubleshooting.

    Appliance: Amana Side-by-side Refridgerator Model# SRD20S4W

    Original symptoms of problem: Water was leaking out of the freezer, between the door seal and freezer compartment.

    Misdiagnosis: Water Inlet Valve was bad causing for the valve to not close, thus overflowing the ice maker, and over time dribbling out of the freezer onto the kitchen floor. I replaced the Water Inlet Valve, but failed to logically assess the problem.The problem (leaking) occurred again, days later, even after replacing the water inlet valve. After some cursing, I decided that the Ice Maker timer is shot. I ordered a replacement Ice Maker for $35 +shipping.

    Further inspection: Shortly after placing the order for the replacement Ice Maker, I began making a closer inspection of the freezer compartment. I realized there was ice build-up at the very bottom-rear of the freezer compartment. The ice was forming between the bottom of the freezer compartment and the drain tray that sits just a couple centimeters above it. I removed the evaporator cover panel and discovered I had ice forming up into the heat dissipation fins on the THINGY (Evaporator/Heat Exchanger?). After a complete thawing of the freezer, the ice turned to standing water.

    Final diagnosis: I had 2 problems at the same time. #1) The drain was clogged with what can reasonably be described as primordial ooze. Every time the freezer went into defrost mode, unable to drain (due to the clog), the water would trickle down to the small cavity at the bottom of the freezer compartment. When that small cavity was filled with water/ice, the overflow would dribble onto the kitchen floor. #2) The ice maker was not sending signal to close the water valve (I'm not 100% on this diagnosis). The water would fill the ice maker, then overflow into the freezer compartment, and flow out the freezer door onto the kitchen floor.

    Solutions: #1) I threaded a small diameter wire through the defrost drain tube so that the end of the wire was sticking out both ends of the drain tube. I attached some gun barrel cleaning patches to the wire and pulled the wire through the drain tube, effectively reaming the gunk from the tube. #2) I installed the replacement Ice Maker I ordered (http://www.seneca-river-trading.com/reicbforwhse.html) and it worked as it should, no overflow. I then yanked it and installed the old ice maker again. Same overflow problem occurred again. I fiddled with the timing knob on the old ice maker, but that did not stop the flow of water. I assume the old ice maker has an electrical flaw, but I did not test it with a meter to be certain. The replacement ice maker has been working great for a couple days now. The entire unit is back to working superbly. For those keeping score, the unit now has a new Water Inlet Valve (unnecessary), and a refurbished Ice Maker.

    Regarding the forum headline: Whats the green flakes, and did they have anything to do with my problems? No. The green flakes were a red herring in my troubleshooting. It turns out that the green/bluish flakes are mineral build-up that have taken on the color of oxidized copper. Why? Because I neglected to operate my water softener for a long period of time, the mineral content in our water tended to build up around the valve that regulates water flowing to my fridge. Only when I open and close that valve would it jar the mineral particles to flake off and then appear in my water flow to the fridge/freezer. How do I know the green flakes are not a problem? Because I was so curious to know if the flakes were a problem, I dismantled the old water inlet valve to inspect it for green flakes. It was clean as a whistle, inside-and-out. The mesh screen was keeping all the visible green flakes out of the system. My next project in the near future is replacing the copper tubing with newer plastic stuff. Additionally I learned my lesson with hard water. I will keep my finicky water softener operating. Don't be surprised when you see me appear on the Water Softener forum, soon.

    This forum has been a huge help. Thanks for all your guidance folks. If my diagnosis seems incorrect in anyway, I am very eager to hear your feedback.

    I now have my old Ice Maker available, if anyone has the ability to refurbish it or wants it for parts, please contact me through this forum.
     
  14. Feb 21, 2013 #14

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    :trophy: Thanks for the update.
     

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