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  1. #1
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    Default Smoke on the Water

    On one of my inspections today, I ran across something I have never seen....or noticed. When I ran the hot water faucets, smoke emitted from the faucets. This was not smoke from overheating or fire but rather from some sort of a chemical reaction as far as I can tell. The house had a 9 year old gas water heater, the temperature was on "vacation" setting so the water was only warm. The water was cloudy as you can see from the pic and if you look closely, you can see a smoke swirling around the spout. The house had been sitting for a good while unoccupied but the water did not smell. Of course I suggested for the tank to be drained and flushed. Has anyone else seen this or know what could have caused the "smoke"?

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Keith View Post
    On one of my inspections today, I ran across something I have never seen....or noticed. When I ran the hot water faucets, smoke emitted from the faucets. This was not smoke from overheating or fire but rather from some sort of a chemical reaction as far as I can tell. The house had a 9 year old gas water heater, the temperature was on "vacation" setting so the water was only warm. The water was cloudy as you can see from the pic and if you look closely, you can see a smoke swirling around the spout. The house had been sitting for a good while unoccupied but the water did not smell. Of course I suggested for the tank to be drained and flushed. Has anyone else seen this or know what could have caused the "smoke"?
    Lime away to clean out the pipes. Either that or muriatic acid to clean out the pipes and whiten the teath

    I did wish that I new. Sorry cannot help.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    I'm thinking bacteria in the water heater. And now in the hot water lines.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Creedence Clearwater Revival?
    Cheech & Chong?



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Creedence Clearwater Revival?
    Cheech & Chong?
    Ummm....I think that was Deep Purple, hard to remember those days for some reason.


  6. #6
    M.Pondo's Avatar
    M.Pondo Guest

    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    I think Jerry got it right do you guys remember a story about a dishwasher that blew up on an inspection a few years back and that you should always run the hot side faucet for a few minutes in a vacant home .I do this out of habit when I hit the kitchen. Yes it was a very old dishwasher Rotary dials I believe 1 spark. Sulfer reducing bacteria which releases hydrogen sulfide gas hence the smell from water mostly related to homes on wells.The type of anodide rod in the water heater can resolve this situation. I believe zinc is the answer.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    It was Deep Purple for sure. This was the only song I ever learned to play on an electronic keyboard. I used to play it every Friday night at victory dances after high school football games. One song then Rick left the house.

    As far as this smoke, this is why I've always heard that you should run the water for awhile before turning on the dishwasher to flush this bacteria from the water heater.

    rick


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Wisp of smoke like apparitions? Former owners haunting the home from another dimension!

    If it was bacteria I would think that it would have an odor. The exploding dishwasher was due to the buildup of hydrogen sulfide, it has a sulfur odor.

    This is one of those things that you just have to say I don't know.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  9. #9
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    Talking Need to test

    You can test for explosive gases:
    get the Realtor to hold a candle next to it while you go to the store......

    If it doesn't blow up but you suspect poisonous gases, get the Realtor to inhale very deeply, too.

    Check the trap or lack thereof.
    Bob

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  10. #10
    Mike Truss Guy's Avatar
    Mike Truss Guy Guest

    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Are we sure that this is not simply water vapor? I could easily see it happening if your local water pressure is high and the water heater is set too hot, but since you said it is only warm maybe not.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Truss Guy View Post
    Are we sure that this is not simply water vapor? I could easily see it happening if your local water pressure is high and the water heater is set too hot, but since you said it is only warm maybe not.
    No, the temperature was only warm...at the time I took the pic was before I noticed the tank on the vacation setting. Turned it up and the hotter the water, the more "smoke" came out. The faucet pressure was barely running. I ran the hot water for at least an hour and it still did this.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Keith View Post

    what could have caused the "smoke"?
    .
    Water Vapor.

    Faucet Aerate with a Partial blockage.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    .
    Water Vapor.

    Faucet Aerate with a Partial blockage.
    .
    .
    .
    The aerator is missing.
    .

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .
    .
    The aerator is missing.
    .
    .
    Probably.
    .
    * attachment of inside, outside thread adapter ( with aerator. )
    .

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    .
    Probably.
    .
    * attachment of inside, outside thread adapter ( with aerator. )
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I am aware of those, however, the outside thread one screw up into the the fitting. The photo shows outside threads, indicating that the inside thread aerator is not installed, i.e., is missing. The threads on the outside threaded aerators is not visible after it is screwed in place.
    .

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    .
    .
    .
    I am aware of those, however, the outside thread one screw up into the the fitting. The photo shows outside threads, indicating that the inside thread aerator is not installed, i.e., is missing. The threads on the outside threaded aerators is not visible after it is screwed in place.
    .
    .
    Mr. Peck,

    The attachment ( photo) has threads that screw into the faucet and has an aerate that goes inside the faucet downspout, then has exposed threads to attach a cap , pet washer or other accessory.

    Is this one in the shown Photo?

    Don't know.

    Kent got a good look at it, ( he did ask what could cause it. )
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Based on the descriptions, and lack of an odor, I'd suggest that it's just a lot of various gases that have dissolved into the water while under pressure, and are now coming out of solution after the pressure is taken off. A simple test would be to run some into a glass, and see if it doesn't start out cloudy, but clears up within a couple of minutes. Possibly some sort of natural carbonation. Leads to two more questions. Is this on a well, and where might the water under pressure be coming into contact with a lot of air, possibly in a half filled water heater??? Good mystery here!


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Yep, Jerry is right....I took the aerator off this particular sink because it sprayed really hard and was splattering everywhere....small wet bar sink. The other sinks showed the "smoke" a little with aerators but it was more prominent at this sink when the water flow was low....allowed more area in the pipe to emit the "smoke". I keep using the term "smoke" because it did not come out like steam but rather danced and swirled out just like smoke. Really weird, kinda freaked out the buyer. I told her to keep me posted if she bought the house and had the tank flushed if that solved the problem.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Keith View Post
    .
    Yep, Jerry is right.....
    .
    Okey Dokey,
    .

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    I still think that it might be aunt Norma trying to reach out and say Hi!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    I still think it is bacteria in the tank which is causing the problem.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  22. #22

    Smile Re: Smoke on the Water


  23. #23
    Bryan Frazer's Avatar
    Bryan Frazer Guest

    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Maybe the city has purged the water mains after the house was occupied. The house water then is de-pressurized then re-pressurized with water and air when the mains are refilled. So what you see now is fine air bubbles in water and the mist that that comes our of good beer just as you open it. i.e. effervescent water! Poltergeists is a close second.


  24. #24
    M.Pondo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    I like Jerry Pecks answers he helps you get your report done the same day by giving actual data instead of mystical hunches.


  25. #25
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by M.Pondo View Post
    I like Jerry Pecks answers he helps you get your report done the same day by giving actual data instead of mystical hunches.

    But could be completely wrong. Yes everyone wants to give their opinion but all the opinions may be wrong. A water test and a plumber are in order.

    Smoke production from water........ Not cool..... and needs further evaluation. More than likely the water heater is the culprit but it is still and unknown.

    Mystical hunches could all be right.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Smoke on the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    A water test and a plumber are in order.
    That was the advice I gave the buyer. She got a kick out of this thread and said she will let me know what is found....I'll post later.


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