The water heater serves as a settling basin for grit and debris,
but sometimes it manages to be mobilized. And sometimes
a cutoff valve, especially those dainty ones that are frequently
used under sinks and toilets, will lose a bit of itself or a chunk
of calcium, and it makes its way to the water use valve.
As a complete aside, I used a torch and solder on my plumbing
projects for over 30 years. But then, when I was redoing my
bathroom, I had Styrofoam in the walls and couldn't afford to
risk the torch. I found a 2-part epoxy product that's NFPA
approved for up to 2" pipes. I practiced with it, changed to use a bit,
and used it for all the redo, with not a single leak. Just thought I'd
But rather than learning how to do plumbing right now with your wife
wanting to take a shower, I suggest getting a handyman or plumber
in to fix it. And I think the pressure equalizing valves really suck, so I
stay with discrete valves.
I ran separate lines to each of my fixtures, instead of having the cold
drop in the shower when a toilet was flushed.
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