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Question DetailsAsked on 12/6/2017

Particles coming from my kitchen faucet

I was going to put a filtration system on my kitchen faucet and when I screwed off the end of the faucet where the water comes out, a ton of particles fell out with it. They almost looked like little grains of food or fish eggs and ranged from yellow to orange in color with a few specks of white and black. Now I am worried that the water coming from my faucet, even with the filtration system, is not safe to drink since it won’t filter out exactly everything in the water. I did attach the filtration system and it looks like these particles are building up in this filter as well. Just wondering what this may be!

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1 Answer


The end of the faucet almost certainly had an aerator/diffuser/screen (which is what you removed), which had been trapping debris over the years. Looks like this typically, threaded in:

Some of this would be corrosion products locally generated at the aerator or from corrosion inside the faucet - most faucets, even though chromed or bronze or brass-coated on the outside, are made of pot metal castings which form various colored corrosion encrustations on the outside, some of which pops loose from time to time. The aeration process at the outlet of the fauceet can also cause minerals to precipitate out at the screen (the yellowish/whitish mineral buildup that commonly builds up at the outlet of faucets and tub spouts and such if not cleaned well periodically).

Metal water pipes also form interior corrosion products in all but the purest water, ditto to water heaters as they age - and incoming water (especially on-site well or stream supplied water) can also commonly generate both corrosion debris and plain sand/silt.

The "fish egg" description is typical of the encrustations and mineral buildup that form in the pot metal fixtures - that is a common description, as is "scabby looking material" and "looks like eye sleep crust" like many people commonly have at the outside corner of the eyes in the morning. Also can form in the pipes and water heater depending on water and pipe chemistry, usually much more so in hot water system metal components.

If the plumbers were not careful to flush the pipes after installation but with the faucet screens/aerators removed (a step most do not take the trouble to do), any debris and little pieces from cutting the pipe may have flushed through to there early on in the house's life, so many times there is an accumulation there from initial construction but does not build up fast from that point on.

Assuming this was just a nominal amount (maybe a teaspoon full or so at most, usually much less), this would be normal for any house more than a few years old or on local supplied water - and yes your filtration unit disposable filter will trap this material, and over a long duration get clogged with that and possibly also with mineral deposits, eventually reducing the water flow through the unit. That is why the filters are user-replaceable and disposable - commonly needing replacement every 3-9 months with dirty or high mineral content water, sometimes lasting years in cleaner water and pipes - especially with plastic pipes, which do not build up internal mineral deposits anywhere near as much as metal pipes.

Most of those filtration units are just for this purpose - to remove sediment and most anything else larger than typically about 5-20 microns in size which is suspended in the water like bacteria and viruses and such (though the chlorine in the water kills almost all the human-hazardous ones of them off). The larger, more advanced units (usually under-sink rather than attached to the faucet) may also have a reverse osmosis (RO) element in it which remove the micro-sized inclusions and most of the minerals in the water - albeit with much pricier and generally shorter-lived (especially if not preceded by a regular filter element) RO elements.

BTW - here is a chart I found (not fact-checked) showing typical sizes of wate contaminants in microns - obviously the larger the filter opening size the less it traps bacteria and such so is morejust for physical sediment, but the smaller the filter opening size the faster it will clog up, especially if your incoming water is "dirty" :

Not knowing exactly WHY you put the filter unit on there, but if to trap sediment and such sounds like mission accomplished. If trying to remove trace chemicals and dissolved (as opposed to suspended) contaminants, only a distillation (very expensive to run) or RO unit will do that to any measureable extent. There are small faucet-mounted units for that, but they are low-flow capacity (so on kitchen sink typically make filling a coffee pot or cooking pot a painfully slow process), so they normally go on the faucet feed lines under the sink - and the distillation units generally require a dedicated new electric circuit to power the boiler in it.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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