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Old 09-29-2011, 04:39 PM   #1
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Big White Chips in Water lines... HELP!!!

Sorry this is wordy, but we are at our wits end.

I've put something before on the forum about the white chips that build up in my COLD water faucet screens and water lines. It is now worse than ever.

We have a water filter, water softener and a screen that the water goes through before it enters the coach.

We had a bunch of white chips in the cold water line in the bathroom faucet, so I undid the cold water connection under the sink and flushed out a bunch of the white chips. I also cleaned the screen on the faucet where the water comes out. Unfortunately, when I tightened the connection back on, I ruined the faucet because I tightened too much and kinked the copper line. I was at the RV repair place for something else, so I had them replace the faucet. As soon as they had it hooked up, they turned it on and it immediately clogged up again with the white chips. (They ran the water from the water pump...d on't know if that's significant.) The tech flushed the lines, draining the lines, and blowing the lines out so the chips would go into the fresh tank. I have since filled and dumped the fresh tank four times.

After driving 200 miles today, the toilet connection and sprayer clogged up with the white chips (I'm getting good at cleaning those out), and the bathroom sink did again, too. The kitchen faucet, which worked just fine yesterday, now dribbles the cold water out.

It's not the outside water pressure... it works the same way with the pump.

We have stumped several RV people, and we are at a loss as to what is causing it and what to do. Our next step is to have the white chips analyzed to see what they actually are. We have been assuming calcium up to now, but we have had a softener for one year now, and any residual calcium from before should have been cleared out by now.

Any suggestions, theories, hypotheses are encouraged.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Gator - just a couple of thoughts ...

1. I don't have a water softener on our coach but I do in our stick house. If it uses salt pellets like ours it could be pieces of those pelletes that are somehow getting past whatever screen &/or filter is built into the softener. Have you tried bypassing the softener and give it a chance to flush out the lines?

2. Not very likely but when I had to clean out my water heater it was full of white chips (calcium deposits & other colored debris) because the previous owner had never changed the anode. It still sounds more like the softener to me.
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:00 PM   #3
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I have one of these on the inlet side of my water pump. The outlet side of my pump goes directly to the various faucets. Sure seems like there would be no way any chunks of anything except pump parts could be induced into the fresh water system. Even if there were "chips" in the fresh water tank, they could not get to the faucets.

Do you have a strainer / filter in-line to capture the "chips" ?

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Old 09-29-2011, 05:50 PM   #4
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The fact that the line to the toilet and the sprayer are clogging with the white chips pretty much eliminates the water heater as the culprit, as any chips in it would not be in the cold water lines. Just in the hot water lines.

Nothing in that strainer by the water pump? If there were something in the fresh water tank, I would expect to see some in there. Those chips would tear up the pump rather quickly, so it is unlikely that the chips would be coming through the pump. If not, I would consider what Bob suggested, and bypass the water softener for a while.

Are you filtering the water coming into the coach? Or just using the water softener.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Refuse1 View Post
IDo you have a strainer / filter in-line to capture the "chips" ?
Jeff,

I don't think so. Where do I get one and where does it go?
You can email me directly at shirjer@escapees.com if you choose.

jerry
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:17 PM   #6
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Unhappy

Quote:
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I would consider what Bob suggested, and bypass the water softener for a while.

Are you filtering the water coming into the coach? Or just using the water softener.
Jim A.,

We got the softener because of the chips in the first place . We got a lot fewer deposits on the toilet and shower, and it actually seemed to help with the chips a bit. It almost seems like it gets worse when we use the pump in conjunction with when we're on the road and need to use water.

We have a water filter, softener, and the screen on the city inlet screen before the water enters the coach.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:22 PM   #7
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Not to be funny, but could be that the toilet plumbing is tapped off a hot water line. Its happened before, at least in stick houses.

If you have a buncha junk in the tank you should be able to see it w/a flashlight after draining the tank.

IIWMI'd
1) drain the water heater, wash it out & put in fresh anode
2) take the strainers off faucets & shower heads, drain all water (don't bother blowing it out), take the softener off line but leave filter canister in line for filling; using the filter canister add maybe 5 gallons of white vinegar one canister at a time, and about the same of fresh water. Run the pump to all faucets, shower heads, toilet, etc. then when you get vinegar smell at each, shut it off. Let it set for 3 or 4 hours. Drain tank & low points. Add coupla three boxes baking soda thru the canister, and 15 gallons water, run to all outlets, shut off, wait an hour. Drain tank & low points, rinse, repeat till you are getting good water.

If that doesn't work, don't do it.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:45 PM   #8
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Gator,

I don't know if your coach has the two water filters in the bay like our '06 does, and the bypass switch for them. If so, are you sure you have the bypass switch set so water goes through those filters, or maybe did you not have it set that way for a while when you were filling your tank with water. So I wonder if the chips in the water tank are pre-water softener, external filters, etc., and are now being flushed out of the tank.

I know I sure pickup a lot of calcium every time I stay at New Life RV park in Georgetown where I saw you last February, and that's why I ask the question.

A couple questions for you -- if you're connected to city water, do you get the same chips, or are they only from the tank? And, are you sure you're not bypassing the filters when when you fill the tank or at least previously filled it?

And if the answer to both questions is negative, I'd do E-Mike's suggestion.

Bill
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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Update:

I ran vinegar through the lines from the outside (using a drill pump) and opened up the bathroom faucet until vinegar ran out. Then, similarly for the shower, toilet and kitchen faucets. We left it in for 24 hours and then ran water through the faucets. The cold water still just dribbled out. We ran more vinegar through the bathroom sink again, and left it for about 12 hours. When we tried the bathroom faucet after that time, the cold water ran fine! We had already decided to change the kitchen faucet because my wife didn't like it anyway. Also, I ran fishing line down all the holes I could find and it still didn't clear out the line. We had called a mobile service guy to change the faucet, but before he did, he went over whatever he could to try to figure out where the white chips were coming from. He said he was stumped. But, he said we had flex pipe, not PVC, so it couldn't be from the pipes, and the screen in the water pump was clear. He changed out the kitchen faucet and for now, at least, everything seems to work okay. We ran water thru the lines before he hooked up the kitchen faucet and got a few more chips out. Hopefully we got them all. All seems to working fine now.


We had drained the fresh tank several times, even putting a stocking over the fresh tank outlet to catch any chips that might come out. It was clean, so it was doubtful the source was the fresh tank.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
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It was clean, so it was doubtful the source was the fresh tank.
With no chips in the filter before the water pump, I would agree.
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:09 PM   #11
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Jerry- this just came across on a different thread; quote is about a 2000 Alpine:
"the water heater was plumbed backwards. The hot line came out of the bottom of the tank as we always had sediment plugging the faucets. This was an easy fix."
Might check that out.
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineerMike View Post
Jerry- this just came across on a different thread; quote is about a 2000 Alpine:
"the water heater was plumbed backwards. The hot line came out of the bottom of the tank as we always had sediment plugging the faucets. This was an easy fix."
Might check that out.
Our daughter in Dallas was having severe problems with plugged water lines in her stick house. I found that the connections to the water heater were reversed and therefore, instead of the hot water coming out of the top of the tank, it was coming from the bottom and picking up all the mineral particles. I reversed them and the problem went away.
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:16 AM   #13
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A water heater with no anode rod or a bad one can cause the chips to form, and even flow into the cold line, especially with the bottom inlet on these water heaters. I would consider that suspect...as it happened in my stick-built home and was the last course of action after many other attempts at fixing. worth looking into.
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