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Houston Emergency Plumber: Black Specks in Water

Tap Water

Finding black particles in your water? Call your Houston emergency plumber! Any time you’re concerned about your water quality, it’s best to have a plumber come inspect, diagnose, and repair the issue. There are a few reasons why you might have black specks in your water, many of them harmless, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Call Your Houston Emergency Plumber if You Suspect Water Quality Issues

If you even have an inkling that your water quality might be off, it’s usually better to refrain from using it until it’s tested. Our plumbers can test your water for common contaminants.

Safe drinking water is typically clear with no odor or abnormal taste. Anything that doesn’t fit this description should be investigated. 

Here are some signs you might have water quality issues:

  • Scale deposits
  • Discoloration
  • Staining
  • Bad taste
  • Bad smell
  • Cloudiness

Black particles in your water is a serious concern, especially if paired with some of these other signs. That’s why it’s often best to call a 24 hr. plumber in Houston if you notice anything abnormal.

Your Houston Emergency Plumber Can Diagnose Plumbing Issues for Black Specks in Your Water

If you’re finding black specks in your water, then there are a few things that could be happening. Now, don’t panic, a lot of them are pretty harmless, but it’s still important to get it checked out. You don’t want to put your health at risk due to water quality problems. 

Here are some common reasons you might find black particles in your water and how we can help fix the issue:

Corroded Pipes

One reason you might have black flakes in your tap water is because of corroded pipes. Many newer homes use PVC pipes that are corrosion-proof. However, before PVC plumbing became popular, a lot of builders used galvanized steel pipes. Over time, these pipes can start to rust, corrode, and otherwise deteriorate. 

Why would this mean you have black stuff floating in your water? 

Well, corrosion weakens the inside of the pipe. As water rushes through, thin pieces of the rusted pipe can start to flake off and come through your faucets and other fixtures.

This can happen in pretty much any metal pipe you have in your home. So, it can happen when you use either cold or hot taps for the water. Generally, the particles will be localized to just one area if it’s a corroded pipe, though it is possible for multiple pipes to be corroded at one time. 

If we discover you have corroded plumbing in your home, your Houston emergency plumber will likely recommend replacing the pipe. In some cases, it may even warrant a complete re-piping service if it’s likely that all your pipes are worn and deteriorated. For instance, if your home is older and you haven’t had major plumbing work since then.

Corroded Water Heater Liner

Another reason you might notice black specks in your water is if you have an old, corroded water heater. This can be tricky, because the lines that deliver hot water can also be corroded or damaged, or it could be the inside of the tank. 

First off, if you have a tankless water heater, then you’re probably looking for another culprit. However, if you have a tank-style water heater that is a few years old, then this might be the issue. Water heaters are designed to last between eight and 12 years, so if you’re close to that number (or your water heater is living on borrowed time), then corrosion may have set in. Just like the insides of pipes, water heater tanks can also corrode and flake off small bits of metal that may make it to your faucet. 

Typically, if the problem is with your water heater then you’ll only have black particles when you use warm or hot water, such as taking a bath, using the shower, or doing the dishes. 

If your water heater tank is corroded, then it’s time to replace it with a newer version. This can help keep your water clean and clear and also help reduce the risk of major leaks from a broken water heater.

Deteriorated Rubber Gaskets, Washers, or Hoses

Are the black particles in your water big enough to catch and feel? See if they seem a bit rubbery. If so, you might be dealing with deteriorated rubber in your plumbing system. 

There are a lot of different sources for this, such as supply hoses for your appliances, or gaskets and washers inside your fixtures. These are all important for helping your appliances and fixtures work properly. However, over time, the rubber can break down and may start leaving small black particles in your water. 

Fortunately, Houston plumbing repairs for these issues are fairly easy. It involves removing the old hose, gasket, or washer and replacing it with a new one. 

Broken Water Softener or Water Filter

Also, in some cases one of the appliances you installed to help with water quality could leave black specks in your water. Specifically, when these things break or need a piece replaced. 

Water softeners often contain resin beads to help remove minerals from hard water. In some cases, these small beads are dark brown or black. Should your water softener break, these little beads could end up in your water, signaling it’s time to repair or replace your water softener. 

In addition, many people install carbon water filters under their sinks or for their whole homes. These often use small activated carbon granules to help with this process. In some cases, if the filter cartridge is old and worn, it can leak out these small pieces into your water. Typically all you need to do is replace the cartridge to fix the problem. 


If you have small black particles in your water, it may also be harmless minerals in the water, like iron and manganese. Manganese turns black when exposed to oxygen and can look bad, but is likely harmless. There’s no evidence that trace amounts of these minerals are harmful for your health. 

Generally, this has nothing to do with your plumbing system and more to do with the water supply. Usually, you’ll notice it from most, if not all, of your faucets and fixtures. If this is the case, a home water filter or water softener may help remove some of the minerals in the water, but this likely isn’t necessary for anything other than aesthetics for crystal clear water.

Black Slime Could be Bacteria

All right, but what if you find a black, slimy buildup on your fixtures? This may also be due to iron and manganese. We’ve mentioned that these minerals can turn black when exposed to oxygen, but if they’re in a slimy form, then there’s a good chance it’s a buildup of bacteria that feeds on these minerals. Now, these bacteria are normally non-pathogenic, meaning they probably won’t make you sick. However, a good cleaning and disinfection may be in order to remove the slime. 

Also, it might make sense to invest in a water softener or a water filter for your home, since iron and manganese are likely present in the water supply. 

Expert Houston Emergency Plumber for the Unexpected

No matter what plumbing issue you’re dealing with, our team at Santhoff is here to help! We’re available 24/7 and our team has years of knowledge and experience to help repair your plumbing issues, day or night. We’re a trusted Houston emergency plumber and have been helping Houston homeowners since 1974. As a family-owned and operated business, we accept nothing less than your complete satisfaction. Call our team today at (713) 360-2185 for a plumbing emergency or at (713) 360-2185 to schedule service.

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