Are you seeing black (or red) colored particles or specks coming out of your water faucets? They may be almost microscopic in size, such that the water looks black coming from the faucet, or they may be individual particles that are easily visible in the water stream. When you remove the faucet aerator do you find these particles on the strainer? When you isolate one of these particles on your finger tip do they smear like tar when pinched and rubbed?
The particles are coming from a flexible hose that connects your faucet to the rest of your home plumbing system. These connectors can be identified as the stainless steel braided hose that runs from the local shutoff valve to the attachment at the base of the faucet (see diagram). The stainless steel hose has a liner made from an acetonitril based rubber. The rubber liner can soften and deteriorate in the presence of heated water from your hot water heater. Hot water kept at a temperature above 148.0 degrees will hasten the softening and deterioration of this rubber liner.
The chloramine disinfectant used by The Water Dept. to maintain the safety of the water supply will also soften this type of rubber liner. As the hot water dissolves the liner, particles begin to slough off and are carried away in the water stream. The particles can also show up in the cold water if the seal between the hot and cold water inlets has failed in a mixing type faucet.
What To Do
The City of Elgin Water Department does not recommend the use of this type of flexible connector in your indoor plumbing. The connector should be removed and replaced with standard copper tubing of the appropriate diameter. In the interim until you can get the connectors replaced maintain your hot water heater thermostat at a lower setting.