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Your Toilet Tank Could Reveal Problems About Your Water

toilet flush tank water problems
Woman smelling odors in water

The flush tank holds the clean water that is used to flush the toilet.  It is like having a mini settling storage tank right in your home.

The water that goes into the flush tank is exposed to air and may leave sediment, rust, and corrosion by-products from the pipes (if there is any in your plumbing).

If you are on well water it might also show iron or sulfur bacteria deposits, which show up as frothy water with bubbles and stringy deposits on the sides of the flush box.

Just pull off the flush tank lid and look in! Unless the toilet is brand new you can see what the cold clean water has been depositing, after it flows through the household plumbing.

Often the source water as it comes from the ground, or if you are on city water, from the treatment plant, is good quality.  However, the distribution system (the piping, valves, sulfide, and tanks that make up the water system) are old or contaminated.  It is not unusual for the water distribution system to contaminate the water and put deposits and sediment in the water.

By looking into your flush tanks in your home you can get some indication of what is happening.

If the tank is white and clean, then it can be a good indication your pipes are in good condition and your water is relatively clean.

Clean & white flush tank

toilet tank water problems

Unless this is a new toilet, this indicates that your water does NOT have iron, rust or sediment in it.  If you have copper piping, it means that your copper piping is likely not being corroded.

You might still have hard water (high in calcium carbonate minerals) but generally, a clean white flush tank is good and what you want to see.

Clean but with deposits at bottom of tank

This means that either the water coming in has rust or sediment in it, or your pipes are adding sediment to the water.  Check and see if you have galvanized iron piping that is corroding.

Rusty or dark-colored water

If you are on city water, it might indicate the city’s main distribution pipes have been recently flushed, or just plain bad or poorly treated city water.  If you are on well water, this can indicate you need an iron filter system.

Black water and deposits

Typically occurs on well water. Black deposits and black water means either manganese in the cold water and/or ferric sulfide (black rust). This can also occur when the water has a rotten-egg odor. This can be treated with chlorine.

Slimy rust-colored deposits

toilet tank water problems
A classic example of a rusty-looking tank resulting from water affected with iron bacteria.

This typically occurs on well water. Stringy-looking, slimy deposits growing from the side of the toilet tank indicates iron bacteria. Water may appear frothy or bubbly. Treatment with chlorine or ozone (Continuous or periodic shock treatment of well and pipes) to kill the bacteria, followed by filtration is needed.

 

The top 10 water problems and their symptoms found in toilet flush tanks

  1. Calcium hardness, total dissolved solids
  2. Rust from decaying corroded galvanized pipes; sand or sediment from city or well water
  3. Copper corrosion from acidic (low pH) water
  4. Iron in well or city water
  5. Iron and other bacteria
  6. Sulfur (or other) bacteria
  7. Iron bacteria
  8. Iron and /or manganese
  9. Iron and/or manganese; ferric sulfide (black rust)
  10. Airborne bacteria

For bacterial problems, we recommend a series of chlorine shocks of the piping, once a month for several months. Eventually this will eliminate the problem. If you find it won’t go away, you can also install a disinfection system using chlorination or UV light to destroy the bacteria as they enter the home from the well.

Also perform an inspection of your water heater by draining the water heater and removing and inspecting the anode rod. If the anode rod is worn or severely corroded replace it with an aluminum-zinc type, which may help reduce the odor problem from the water heater.

Besides iron bacteria, your toilet tanks can tell you if you have copper corrosion (blue water) or sediment or other contaminants in the water:

toilet tank water problems
From “The Definitive Guide To Well Water Treatment”

For bacterial problems, we recommend a series of chlorine shocks of the piping, once a month for several months. Eventually this will eliminate the problem. If you find it won’t go away, you can also install a disinfection system using chlorination or UV light to destroy the bacteria as they enter the home from the well.

PC-6_UV_sterilizer
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The Toilet Tank Inspection List and Answer Sheet for the Top 10 Water Problems Your Toilet Flush Tanks Can Tell You

toilet flush tank water problems

Also perform an inspection of your water heater by draining the water heater and removing and inspecting the anode rod. If the anode rod is worn or severely corroded replace it with an aluminum-zinc type, which may help reduce the odor problem from the water heater.

toilet tank water problems

We hope this information helps you solve your problems, if you have any further questions, or would like to update us on your progress – we love pictures and testimonials! – you can reach us at support@cleanwaterstore.com or on Facebook, happy flushing!

For further reading:  https://www.cleanwaterstore.com/blog/identifying-water-problems-by-symptoms/

 

toilet flush tank water problems

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  • Clean Water Systems & Stores, Inc., Water Treatment Equipment,Service & Supplies, Santa Cruz, CA
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