White Powder Buildup on Water Heater Hot Intake?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by dcny6923, Nov 11, 2018.

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  1. Nov 11, 2018 #1

    dcny6923

    dcny6923

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    Hello All,

    I recently had a new water heater install a few months back, and today I notice this powder substance building up on the hot water intake pipe. What is this substance, how does it form and does it require some intervention? I wouldn't want this to cause any leaks.

    Thank you for your advice/help.
     

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  2. Nov 11, 2018 #2

    Snoonyb

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    It appears to be corrosion which is aesthetic and can be addressed by wiping with vinegar, or a wire brush.

    By hot water intake, do you mean cold water supply?
     
  3. Nov 11, 2018 #3

    dcny6923

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    Thank you. Sorry, my title should have stated, this hot output. The cold intake is fine. This substance is appearing on the hot water output of the tank. If it is corrosion, should I not be worried about the lifespan of the copper pipe that this substance is appearing on?
     
  4. Nov 11, 2018 #4

    nealtw

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    They didn't clean the acid off the pipe when they finished soldering so it should only need cleaning once.
     
  5. Nov 11, 2018 #5

    dcny6923

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    I see, and this would be with vinegar as suggested by Snoonyb? What causes the acid to react this way? When the unit was installed, they used the connecting pipes from the older water heater. As in, they basically disconnected the older water heater, bought in the new one and plugged it back in. Could this be happening because they did not use a new connecting pipe?
     
  6. Nov 11, 2018 #6

    Snoonyb

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    Ok, so it's not the cold water supply.

    What is the wire connected to the hot water supply, connected too?

    If it's a ground wire it needs to be moved to the cold water supply line.
     
  7. Nov 11, 2018 #7

    dcny6923

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    It is the ground wire, though it's connected to both the hot and the cold. Here's what the set up looks like. Is this a problem?
     

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  8. Nov 11, 2018 #8

    nealtw

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    They took it apart there to take the pipe off the old and replaced it to the new, Just clean it and it will be fine.
     
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  9. Nov 11, 2018 #9

    Snoonyb

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    Does the conductor simply loop between the two pipes, or is there another conductor from somewhere else?
     
  10. Nov 11, 2018 #10

    dcny6923

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    Thank you @nealtw, if I clean it, it will probably come back. Doesn't this affect the pipe in the long run?

    @Snoonyb, the conductor just loops between the two pipes, there's isn't any other connection.
     
  11. Nov 11, 2018 #11

    nealtw

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    No it won't come back because you will have cleaned it, all the other fittings in the house would look the same if they had not been cleaned.
     
  12. Nov 11, 2018 #12

    dcny6923

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    How long does it take for this substance to form? The water heater was installed almost 4 months ago.
     
  13. Nov 12, 2018 #13

    nealtw

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    I would guess about 4 months.
    Here is a video and you can see what is done, notice the flux runs when it gets hot and how he cleans it up when done. Your guy forgot to clean it up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
  14. Nov 14, 2018 #14

    dcny6923

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    Thank you all for the replies and videos. I had a plumber over for an unrelated thing, and happened to show him this. His assertion was that this was a previous pinhole leak during soldering that has sealed by mineral build up and at some point it is possible that it might open back up. Maybe is it safer just to replace it?
     
  15. Nov 14, 2018 #15

    nealtw

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    He just want you money, pin hole leaks never self seal, just clean is with an SOS or Jets pad.
     
  16. Nov 28, 2018 #16

    Eddie_T

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    I have seen minor seepages (no drip) at copper joints heal themselves with time. Interestingly they were all at hot water heater connections.
     
  17. Nov 28, 2018 #17

    nealtw

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    O-k-a-y
     
  18. Nov 29, 2018 #18

    Flyover

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    Am I the only one who misread the title of this thread as "White Power Buildup..."? I was gonna say, the fix for that is listening to some Stevie Wonder and flirting with some of the black chicks at the gym.
     
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