Yellow tint to hot water
I replaced my hot water tank and installed a water softener at the same time. Since then I have noticed a yellow tint to the water. Upon further checking it seems to be only in the hot water. If I bypass the softener and let all the water in the hot water tank be replaced with unsoftened water then the hot water is clear again. There is no noticeable taste to the cold water, I am not sure about the hot, because I don't drink it. I called Whirlpool (Hot Water Tank and Softener manufacturer) and they said I may have an iron blast and that I should try "Iron Out" during a regeneration cycle. I did this last night so I am not sure it worked yet. My searching on the internet seemed to indicate that it was a complete lack of iron in the water not too much. So I am not convinced that Whirlpool gave me the right answer. I have copper pipes and there was several pipes that were cut moved and otherwise soldered. It is possible that there is a chunk of solder someplace. It is a little suspect that the yellow tint only comes from the hot water supply too. I am assuming the Iron Out did not work, I will post an update if it does. Assuming it doesn't work, any ideas on what to do next?
The color in your water may be from deposits of iron build-up in your pipes over the period of time when the water wasn't treated. Since the heater and the softener are new, I doubt that it is coming from them. But softened water may be 'loosening' deposits from the pipes and settling in your heater.
Have you drained any water from the bottom of the heater? Try that into a white bucket and see if you can see iron particles or discolored water.
Andy Christensen, CWS-II
It could also be that the glass lining is brokem allowing the mild steel of the tank to rust. Or galvanized nipples rusting.
I have tried teh Iron out in the Water Softener twice and it is still a yellow tint to the hot water only. I am going to call whirlpool again to see what the recommend trying to test the hot water tank.
I have noticed particles in the hot water upon first turing the water on. The color is more yelllow initially, then it gets litter the longer the water is on. My daughter is 3.5 so we run a bath every night. So on a daily basis it is always the same.
Is there any reason to worry about bathing in this water? I have a water filter on the refrigerator and a reverse osmosis water fitler on the cold water. So all that water is crystal clear. The cold water out of the toilets, sinks, tubs is all clear too. So I am convienced it has to be the hot water tank.
How do I check for groken glass liner on the hot water tank? Is this a common thing to have upon purchase from a manufacturing defect? I had it installed by a contractor, but I did move it from Lowe's to the house. Is there a chance I could have damaged it? I used my truck and I know was very careful when moving it.
Another potential cause is a galvanized nipple in the wall at the tub, or galvanized pipe in the water system plumbing to the tub.
The glass lining could have been 'damaged' anywhere in the distribution transportation or installation of the heater. Or the heater has galvanized nipples that are rusting but, those things rusting will allow a small amount of tinted water and tehn it will go clear.
Iron tinted water is not dangerous to anyone or anything.
Cleaned inlet again, seems better...for now.
I have cleaned out the Hot Water tank a couple times. One time I used a gallon of vinegar to clean it, per Whirlpool instructions. I was greatly surprised at the amount of junk built up in the inlet of the hot water tank. It was all black and red deposits from the piping I presume. The softener pipes to the hot water tank are about 15 ft new 3/4 pipes and 30 ft old 3/4 pipes. So the softener must have cleaned out the pipes between. The rubber seal/sphincter on the intake of the hot water tank trapped a bunch of this mess. So I assume a bunch got in the tank too. I emptied and filled the tank a couple times after I dumped the gallon of vinegar in the tank. I let the vinegar sit for about 5 hours and then filled it with the vinegar before I emptied it. I let it drain a lot through the pipes all the way upstairs. So a month went by and I noticed a clearer water, but never crystal like the cold water. It has progressively gotten worse, ie yellow again. I opened up the inlet of the tank again last night and it was dirty again. Not nearly as bad as the first time I cleaned inlet to the tank. I emptied the tank and all the lines through out the house and just let water run through the inlet of the tank and out the drain valve in the bottom for an hour. I connected the clean inlet pipe back to the tank and ran water though all the faucets in the house. There was some yellow color as the air was pushed out the pipes, but it cam out clear after that. I filled a bath tub of hot water last night and it might have had a hint of yellow to it. It is a lot cleaner than it has been in a while.
So I am thinking there is a bunch of junk in my household pipes. How does one go about getting it all cleaned out?
If you pipes are copper or plastic, they can not cause this.
If there is any exposed steel in the water heater tank, it will rust and continue to rust more as time goes on, adding the yellow tint to the water. Vinegar is a mild acid and will dissolve hard water scale but so does softened water but, when the scale is gone it exposes any bare steel and any acid makes the steel rust faster. So the short story is that IF there's bare steel the only solutions are to replace the heater or live with the yellow tint that won't hurt anything anyway. If you still doubt this or want to assume something else as teh cause, call Whirlpool again.
I have all copper pipes. There is muck at the inlet to the water heater. Where did this muck come from? Initially I was thinking the colored water was from the heater, since it was brand new. The muck is in the inlet copper pipes to the heater. Unless the water heater is back flowing up into the pipes, the muck is in the pipes. It has a red tint to it and it gets all caked up on the rubber seal to the water heater. I would have thought that the inside of my pipes should be completely clean. After cleaned the inlet copper tubes and 4in inlet into the water heater the first time I figured it had to do with an iron deposit that got in the line. Something Whirlpool said could cause the coloring. So I cleaned it all out with a wire brush and paper towels until it was spotless. It was dirty again just after a month. The Softener should be filtering out any particles this large from the main supply. So should I look for something rusting between the water softener and the water heater?
The softener may not be removing all the iron in your water. The softened water may be dislodging rust and adding iron back into the water causing the yellow tint. That rust may be from what built up in the plumbing before you installed the softener. The tint won't hurt anything and very probably will disappear in time, unless it is caused by something rusting.
Gary, thank you so much for all your answers.
I am having the same problem. After coming back from my vacation, I noticed that the hot water has a yellowish tint. The cold water is totally clear. I do have a water softener, installed 5 yrs ago. How can I tell if the yellow tint comes from rust or from build up in the pluming? I have a 5 yr old who loves to play in the water every night and I am concerned about this yellow tint being rust.
Many thanks in advance and have a great day!
p.s. The house is about 14 yrs old and I have never changed the water tank or anything of that nature. The only thing I did was add water softener system 5 yrs ago. I am not sure what types of pipes I have either...
Last edited by jovanbregu; 12-23-2011 at 04:59 AM.