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Please help...well water problems!

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by GAMMA RAY, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    LOL, you didn't post them, you sent them to me in a PM, helping me solve my filter problem. You tough biker dude, you [​IMG]

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  2. tamarack

    tamarack New Member

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    Northwest USA
    We have a well and occasionally get the same orange tint. We determined that sometimes residue builds up in our plumbing and it "burps" up a batch of the icky stuff maybe once every 1-2 years. It has no taste and goes away after flushing out. We had our water tested once and it was fine. I"ll bet yours is too, but its sure nice to KNOW its OK to drink.
  3. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    I've never seen or heard of a canister filter that didn't have a bypass built in, without one you'd never be able to change the cartridge.
  4. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    When they first came out with the whole house filters for DIY the units did not have by-pass systems. you had to shut down the system. Had to make your own bypass.
  5. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    What parameters are they sampling for? If your health deparment is just analysing samples for bacteriological parameters such as E. coli, total Coliforms, etc. you are not getting a full picture of your water quality. From the description of the water issue, you should get an inorganics analysis too.

    If this issue is infrequent, you can probably avoid purchasing and installing costly filters/treatment equipment, by just shocking the well with bleach and flushing the system.
  6. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I have dealt with both red iron and clear water iron here.. Red iron is easy to deal with and inexpensive to correct and a double sump 5 micron filter will take care of it. Red water iron will be visible in a water filter.. Clear water iron comes out of the faucet clear but will have an iron taste and smell plus it will oxidize when it hits air turning the water and anything in it orange.. I have had this issue for quite a few years and my clear water iron level is 13.2 ppm and generally anything above .3 ppm while not harmful is undesirable.. The least expensive solution for me was to install a water softener with a fine mesh resin bed other than that you would have to go a bleach injection system with charcoal after filtering to remove the chlorine which is quite a bit more expensive that the 1st option.. Get the water tested but NOT by a company that sells water filtration equipment! My water softener cost about $1400.00 installed about 6 or 7 years ago and it's a decent system for the money and with this system you have to add 40 lb. bags of salt to a salt tank which I add 2 bags every couple weeks or so at 5 bucks a bag.. My system consists of a double sump 5 micron filters (changed every 3 mos.) into a acid neutralizer due to acidic water in this area then to the water softener which removes the iron, some manganese and also removes the calcite introduced to in the acid neutralizing process .. I did a HUGE amount of research and know what I need to know.. I will also add that the water softener head unit I have measures actual water usage (GE Osmonics head unit) to reduce salt and regens but iron removal systems run about once a week or they will become fouled.. There is much info on the net about this subject..

    Good Luck!

    Ray
  7. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Good post Ray! I am removing clear water iron from about 30 gal/minute by dropping it into a 900 gal tank and aerating the water with a bubbler system and then sending on to a swimming pool filter that holds 400 lbs. of sand. This system runs 24/7 with only backflushing once a day and changing the sand once a year.

    Gary
  8. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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  9. GAMMA RAY

    GAMMA RAY Minister of Fire

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    PA.

    They suggested just the bacterial testing but they offer the inorganic analysis too so I thought I might as well test for everything...

    It amazes me how much one can learn on this forum other than all things woodburning.
    Thanks for all the info and suggestions.... :)
  10. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    Good for you. Our health units in Ontario will analyse for bacterial content for free, but inorganic and organic parameters are to be analysed by accredited private laboratories at cost to the homeowner. Organics analysis parameters include the major pesticides, BTEX (petroleum products), solvents, etc. and is the most costly analysis to be performed.

    Get your results before making a decision on treatment options. The main body to receive information is your local health department, once your laboratory results have been received. The health department should be able to interpret the results, to state whether or not you have any water quality issues and what your options are. They should also have a lot of well water information via pamphlets, plain language guides, websites, etc. If shocking/flushing the well is all that is required, they should be able to provide instructions how you are to do it properly.

    As a Ray stated, avoid getting water treatment businesses to test your water. Many are snake oil salespeople who use fraudulent tests to make it seem that you have a problem with your water quality. For water testing, only deal with accredited laboratories.

    From all indications, the problem seems infrequent and might only be an innocuous aesthetic issue that requires annual (or even less frequent) maintenance procedures (eg. shocking/flushing the well). Remember that treatment equipment (eg. filters, softeners, etc.) are costly upfront and require regular maintenance and costs. Only if it is a chronic or health issue, then treatment equipment options should be explored.

    Make sure when you do your bacterial sampling to remove any aerators from your tap, flush the water for about 5 minutes, and do not touch the rim of the sample bottle with your hands etc. Also, don't put the sample bottle cap down or turn it upright. It is very easy to get a false positive, by accidentally introducing bacteria into the sample that wasn't originally in the water.

    Let us know what your lab results are, when you get them. Good luck!
  11. cottonwoodsteve

    cottonwoodsteve Member

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    Loc:
    Northern California
    It could be the color of the dirt ( slit ) and not Iron.
    We have a little of both.
    A clear housing with a string wound filter fron Ace works great. Has a filter change cutoff valve built in.

    Watch about a clorine flush. If not done correctly it can be hard to get all of the clorine out.
    Also a lot of clorine will oxidise the steel pipe and casing and cause even more rust.

    If you install a filter you might be surprised how much crud is in what appears to be clear water.
    If you add a filter see if it can only be on the house. You don't want to clog up the filter because you water the lawn a lot.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    When the utility company is "drilling" to extend a gas pipeline they most likely are using a technology called directional drilling. Rather than open up a trench with an excavator and bury a new line 3 feet deep, they drill a long tunnel at the three foot depth and then pull the new gas line through the little tunnel. The driller can aim the bit to keep the depth and location of the tunnel as required. This shallow utility work will not effect your well which is usually more than 100 feet deep and sometimes several hundred feet deep.

    I have iron in my water. If you have iron bacteria you will find the fluffy junk in your toilet tank. If you have the dissolved iron you will find the worst staining in your dishwasher and in the shower but the toilet tanks will not be fuzzy inside.

    A funny thing with iron is that if you wear sunscreen and get it on your white clothes (collars and socks are bad) then the next time you wash those items, the orange will show up and set like a dye.

    In my new shed that I've almost finished building I plan to remove the iron, filter the water, and maybe even disinfect. It's too bad, our well water tastes and looks great in the glass.
  13. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    Combine this thought with Highbeam's comments about dissolved iron.
    Chlorine helps iron precipitate out of its solution. It then will be able to stain toilet bowls and etc. IOW...iron that was dissolved becomes a particulate. The steel casing may not actually be corroding.

    Oxygenation has similar effect.
    Thus, the clean, tasty, (and I might add, healthful) glass of water...when exposed to enough air, forms the solid iron that can be filtered,... or can stain.
    The down side: until this occurs, a normal particulate filter only partially does the job.

    Iron in domestic water is a pain.

    P.S. I hope I have all these terms correct.
  14. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    My recommendation would be to start with the least expensive solution and work your way up. It is a serious no-no that you do not have any kind of filter in your system. As others have mentioned, a whole-house filter is a good starting point. They can be purchased at your local Homies or Lowes and are a pretty easy DIY job. the sediment filter will protect your appliances (clothes washer, dishwasher, water heater etc) from potentially damaging sediment. the tricky part about whole-house filters is that you have to start with a larger-micron filter to catch the larger particles, and it is helpful to install a second filter with a smaller micron filter to catch the smaller stuff. I tried using a single filter with a small micron cartridge and it worked great....for about a week, then it was hopelessly clogged with large particles. I installed a second filter and it works great...no sediment or iron whatsoever.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Many many homes are served by well water with no filter. Mine is one of them. It is absolutely not a requirement that you have a filter. A good idea for sure.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I was set up like you and I came from the city and didn't know that well water does a great job of clogging tankless coils.. I went through 3 before a plumber suggested I add a whole house filter and that problem went away.. I also had the water tested and it was found to be acidic so a acid neutralizer was also installed.. Down the road I got a new well and was introduced to clear water iron and quickly developed bright orange toilets, sinks and clothing so now I have a fine mesh water softener.. Starting to feel like a chemist here with this natural water lol...

    Ray
  17. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    BTW, (since you brought it up), many city water users will find they have rust staining iron also. Most water companies will send a packet of Rust-Out or similar chemical to clean laundry, if they receive a complaint. They will also flush a hydrant or 2 in the vicinity of the complaint. However, the real problem doesn't go away until they replace or (usually) reline their iron pipes. I have seen iron water pipes so rusted, (it's called tuberculation I believe), that an old 8" pipe only has about a 2" opening to carry flow. Of course this all depends on flow rate, velocity, pipe age, etc.
    The newest pipes are cement lined...or plastic. Plastic pipe has its disadvantages, but rusting ain't one of them.
  18. wetwood

    wetwood Member

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    Our well has high nitrate levels because of all the farming around here. We use it for everything but drinking/cooking, for that we have a reverse osmosis system. when I change the filters, the Sediment pre-filter is always an orange color.

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