What’s that Green Stuff in Leaky Faucet? Fix It Guide

Green crusty deposits on your faucet and sink are not only disgusting, but can also be dangerous. Did you know that this can cause staining or green murky water come out of your faucet? The discoloration can be seen normally on the surface of the sink aside from around the fixtures and the metal areas of the taps and faucets. What causes this green deposit to form? There are actually a number of reasons that we can look at now.

What's that green stuff?

The green stuff that you are seeing in your sink and faucet area can be annoying especially if you are going for that shiny and spotless look for your bathroom. Normally is that even if you clean it out, the hard and crusty buildup just seems to keep coming back. Why is this so?

First off, you need to be aware what the green stuff is and where it is coming from. The green stuff can also affect the quality of your water; which means green colored water coming from your faucets. This is usually due to mineral buildup or algae that has found its way into your plumbing system.

In case you didn’t know it, algae is a naturally-occurring microbe that can appear and buildup once there is a blockage formed in the filter or other parts of the plumbing system. This problem will get worse over time if left unchecked. You will need the assistance of an experienced and licensed plumber to get a clear understanding of the veracity of the problem and how to effectively clean it out from your system.

If the buildup is bluish green in color and is found mostly around your faucets, then this can be an indication of a lime scale deposit. Why does this happen? This is mostly caused by hard water that contains dissolved minerals resulting in scale deposits. The pure lime scale is white in color but once it turns green, this can be due to the interactions with copper pipes or plumbing fixtures.

Is it easy to remove the lime scale buildup? Cleaning it out can help, but if the cause is hard water, then this is an issue that you must effectively address.

What does it mean?

Basically, what it boils down to is that if you want to get rid of that green stuff, you would have to address the problem at its source, the water supply. However, you also have to take note of the chemical reaction that it undergoes as it goes through your copper pipes and plumbing fixtures.

This means that you may need to call a licensed plumbing service to explore the possibility of having a water softener installed in your home. Once the hard water has been treated, this should minimize or completely eliminate the formation of green stuff in and around your sink areas.

Since the copper pipes may be contributing to the problem, take the time to go over this with the plumber as well. After all, you do not want to put in a water softener just to find out later on that it has not resolved your problem.

What about the algae buildup? As previously noted, this can be due to a blockage in your home plumbing system. This is something that you should let an experienced and licensed plumber to look at and fix.  If you try to do this on your own, you may end up spending more and quite possibly opening up more problems for yourself.

What causes it?

Let’s dig deeper into the potential cause of the green stuff problem you are experiencing. You should be aware that you cannot just dismiss it outright and wish that it goes away. The problem is bound to get worse if you choose inaction. Although the services of a professional plumber is essential in correcting the problem, it would help if you have a better understanding of it.

The mold may not only appear as greenish in color. It can manifest as red, orange, black, brown, or even white. Know that it will continue to grow and accumulate in your bathroom sink, plumbing fixtures, and drains if you just let it be. Did you know that mold loves the wet environment of your plumbing system? This means that it is a good breeding ground for it.

Why shouldn’t you overlook a mold problem? For one, mold has been associated with a variety of health problems like skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, and various internal organ conditions. All of these can develop once your home becomes a breeding ground of mold growth. Cleaning the sink using commercially available mold removal products will help. It is also suggested to ensure that that areas around the sink and faucets be kept dry at all times to keep the growth in check. The spraying of a disinfectant at least two times a week will also help to keep the problem at bay.

What is the problem with copper products like sinks and fixtures? You will need to understand that over time, the copper will turn green due to the effects of oxidation. This happens as the copper material is exposed to oxygen, making it turn green in color – water contains oxygen.

Majority of the copper fixtures that you will find in the market are coated with either a plastic or transparent enamel as an attempt to protect it from discoloration. However, at the fixture becomes exposed to water, the coating will gradually deteriorate. Once this protective coating is gone, there is no stopping the oxygen from getting into the copper and eventually turning it green.

Chemical additives in water that helps to treat it may breakdown the materials that can dissolve the protective coating. You must realize that the water supply is treated with chlorine, which has sodium hypochlorite, a material known for its oxidizing power. Because of its addition to the public water system, it will cause oxidation of your plumbing fixtures.

There have been suggestions to use white vinegar to clean and fight off the discoloration, but, when you consider that the bleach-like material remains in the water, this solution is for the short-term only and the potential for discoloration will continue to be a problem for you.

How old is your home? If it was constructed before 1986 and no changes have been done to the home plumbing system, there is a huge change that you have copper pipes for your home plumbing. This means that the possibility for that green stuff to come through your faucet is a reality. The erosion of the copper pipes is partly responsible for this.

Despite the durability of copper pipers, the minerals in the water combined with the aging of the material will weaken it. If you see a streak of green stain on your pipes, this is a sign that erosion has taken place. When your water supply has high acidity, the streak may appear as blue-green stains.  Not only will this erosion affect the strength of your pipes and fixtures, this will also pose a threat to your health.

A licensed plumber will be helpful in evaluating the extent of the problem. You also need to consider that copper pipes are connected by soldering. The solder is usually made from lead, so when erosion takes place, there is a risk of lead contaminating the water supply flowing into your home.

Another potential cause for that green stuff that is associated with copper pipes is the extremely high or low pH levels of your water supply. The pH level affects the oxidation process that the copper pipes undergo resulting in the appearance of green stain on your pipes and faucets. How do you know if you have the right pH level?

Luckily, home water testing kits are available to help you determine the pH level of the water supply in your home. When doing the test, make sure that the level should be as near to the neutral level as possible, which is a pH of 7.

What is the role of water softening systems? The installation of water softeners will change the pH level of the water to keep it as close to neutral as possible. If you experience severe issues with the pH levels of your water, you can expect it to damage the plumbing pipes in your home. This is why water treatment becomes extremely necessary in protecting your home plumbing system and your health.

How to Fix It

Is it possible to fix the problem? There are some solutions that can be done to try and solve the problem. Here are some things that you may want to consider:

  • - Commercial Cleaners – these will help to get rid of the green stuff around your sink and fixtures. You just need to wipe off the sink and the faucet and apply the all-purpose cleaner and wipe it dry. Get a lemon and cut it in half and use it to wipe down the surface; you may also use lemon juice. The mild acid from the lemon will dissolve the minerals causing the green stuff buildup. Rinse everything thoroughly afterwards and dry it off.
  • - Baking Soda – add 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part water to create a paste-like substance that you can rub around the sink and faucet area. Leave it on for approximately an hour so that it can breakdown the stubborn buildup. Use a clean sponge or paper towel to wash off the paste. Dry the entire area afterwards.
  • - Vinegar – this is a very popular home remedy to break through tough buildups. Place a third of a cup of vinegar in a plastic bag and secure it around the plumbing fixture using a rubber band. Let the plumbing fixture sit in the vinegar for approximately 3 hours before scrubbing off the mineral deposits using an old toothbrush. The fixture should be rinsed thoroughly and completely dried off.

How to Avoid It

All of those are stopgap solutions to prevent the green stuff from building up and ensuring that your sink and fixtures remain clean and shiny. However, these will not stop the green buildup from happening again. What do you do to avoid it?

The best solution is still to go with a water softening solution. Remember that the green stuff is related to the presence of hard water. So when you deal with the hard water that runs through your home plumbing system, you address the cause of the problem.

Treating the hard water will not only prevent lime scale buildup, but it will also protect your home plumbing pipes. When the water is treated, the faucets, showerheads, and other plumbing fixtures and appliances in your home will be protected as well.

Softened water will virtually have no trace of magnesium and calcium minerals that are primarily responsible for causing that green stuff to manifest. This means that you will not give that green stuff to form, accumulate, and harden. This also translates to not having to worry about the water running from your faucet turning green.

To get the right help and solution for that green stuff in leaky faucet problem, call Scott English Plumbing today!