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Hi, I'm Mike and I have 20+ years of experience as a plumber. I'll be glad to assist you today.
The black water is from old seals in the valves. When the water is drained out it loosens a lot of the sediment from the old seals and buildup in the piping. Once you leave the water running for a while it will go back to normal.
You could flush the lines and clear as much as you can. Typing directions for that now.....
You would have to disconnect the water heater (hopefully you have flex lines connected to it) then connect the flex lines together and turn the valve for the water heater on. You will need a five gallon bucket and 3 gallons of vinegar and a submersible pump. You can get a pump for about $70 at Home Depot or Lowes. Disconnect the hoses from the back of the washing machine and fill the bucket with vinegar and water. hook one of the washer lines to the pump and direct the other into the bucket. Turn the water main off and open the washer valves then pump the water and vinegar solution into the plumbing system then it will go through the piping, cross over where the water heater lines are connected together and back into the bucket out of the other washer hose. Let it run like that for about 30 minutes. If the water comes out quite dirty then change the water and do it again until the water is clear.
Here is the type of pump you would need. click here
I also neglected to clarify the issue is actually not the water heater, just the old piping and valves.
You are very welcome.
I see you still have not positively rated my service. Although the only way that I get paid is when my service is positively rated, it also tells me that you have not received the information that you were seeking to find a solution to your issue. Will you let me know what affect the information I provided had on the issue at hand and how else I may be able to help? You can also comment or ask questions even after positively rating my service if something else comes up. I will always respond and I am happy to continue to help. Mike