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Problem with my Well water

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by bcnu, Oct 24, 2008.

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  1. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    New to a well as have had city water before. Just recently we began to get some color in the water - the toilet looks like it's full of pea when it regenerates. I just drew a container of cold and then warm water and both show a somewhat yellowish tint with the hot more distinct than the cold. It's been a pretty dry Summer and Fall and I'm wondering if that has something to do with it. However, we do seem to have plenty of water. Any thoughts?


    Well is 125' deep and generates 6gpm,

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  2. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    If it comes out of the faucet looking dirty, it's probably just dirt and can be cleaned up with a good filter installed on the line to the house. If it's clear and then turns cloudy after it sits around for a while, it's probably iron and a lot harder to get rid of. Iron won't hurt you, but it isn't the tastiest stuff around.

    It's possible that you have stirred up some sediment in the well due to increased water usage. It may clear up on its own, but you can help it along by leaving your garden hose running for a day or so to flush it out. If it's iron, you will need a softener or other heavy duty means to clean it up. As it is a new house, you might just want to have a professional water analysis done. Many county extension agencies will do this for free.

    Chris
  3. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Sorry to be somewhat unclear (like my water) - the house is 42 years old. There is rust and we recently installed a new softener - the old one wasn't working very well. We use rust buster rock salt. Water comes out discolored but this just started a week or so ago. I'll double check the softener to make sure it's operating correctly. Wish I understood more about hydrology, or whatever branch of science deals with this area. Would lke to have a better understanding of what's happening undergrouns in the aquafer or whatever. Thanks for your reply.
  4. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I am currently in the process of installing a whole house filter at our house. It's quite easy and will likely help you eliminate a lot of the odors, colors and other stuff coming through in your water. Simply install it downstream of your softener and presto - clean water....
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Hi bcnu, we're on a well here too. We use an inline filter we change once a month, it helps...but its still gonna be well water. If you're new to using a well be advised that with some wells you can't be too demanding like doing 5 loads of wash at a time, washing the car, watering the garden that kind of thing.

    In other words if the water gets too low...things can happen underground that change the character of the water.
  6. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

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    The filtering idea is a good one we have to do that in our home in spite of the softener. We also had to have an iron filter installed because of the iron problem tinting the appliances and our clothes. Different well depths in the area haven't helped any one either as the deeper you go the worse it gets. Sometimes though a new (working) softener supplies water that will loosen deposits in an old system but not usually to the level you have described but try flushing the entire system to see if there is achange. Has the softener bypass possibly been turned on so that it's not working? Or the cycling control been set to overtime and depleted your salt supply? The yellow color (instead of orange-ish rust red) color makes me wonder if there isn't something else wrong with the new softener because it should catch and filter out the problem and I would suggest calling the makers of the softener and describe the problem. By all means have the water tested by an independent like the county extension office as mentioned as they have nothing to gain by selling you another gizmo. The "dry" season could have a lot to do with the coloration as your aquifer may be draining or may have changed flow direction due to lack of supply. Talk to a few neighbors and compare well depths and ask them about your problem and while at the extension office ask them if they are aware of any drop in water tables in the area. There is also a geographical map for water tables and flow charts in Mi., where I live, and perhaps your county extension office can tell you where/which office to seek that information from your state. I would also suggest a web search of your state offices of known soil types or contaminates and levels that cause the yellow color you spoke of...Cave2k
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    How recent on the water softner and what kind of plumming pipes you have?
  8. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Sounds like you need to chlorinate your well and your softener may be recharging while you are using water, so unsoftened water is being pulled into your system. Try a little iron out in the salt tank (1/4 cup per bag of salt) It acts like a booster. You also may have too small a discharge hose or too long a run to get the sediment out. That would create the same problem. Don't ask! Also if the softener is not regenerating enough you can get iron buildup. Once a week is minimum depending on your demands. Last is too small a softener to meet the demand. Did you have your water checked to make sure you mated the system to the right size softener? Being on a well you will learn quite a bit about your water supply. Next quiz is on septics!!! :)
  9. Dill

    Dill Feeling the Heat

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    Probably just some extra iron in the water. I'd go along with suggestions on here and also check the element on your water heater.
  10. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    That's unusual unless - you pumped more water out of the well than it can supply, or you recently worked on it got some outside bacteria into it. You might want to pull off the well-cap. Look down to see where the water-head is - i.e. how far down is the top of the water? Usually, you can see it. Then, use some water in the house for a major applicance, and see how quickly and how far it goes down. Also, if you can see the water, try to get a sample and see if it looks the same color when taken directly from the well.

    I've overpumped my well many times when watering animals in the barn. Then, it gets pretty cruddy for a day or so.

    I'm assuming you are in a new (as in different) home and don't know the history of the well water? I say that, because many areas in the northeast get extra sulfur and iron-bacteria in the water during late summer, early fall dry spells. What are your neighbors's wells like?

    In regard to shocking your well with chlorine or something, I wouldn't do it unless you had some sort of temporary "infection" of the well from recently working on it. If the well hasn't been worked on, and somehow got full of non-iron bacteria, it's going to keep happening. Often that comes from an old or leaking septic system somewhere close by. Do you have neighbors near by?

    I'll also add that if you keep getting sand particles in your water, the pump is probably too close to the well bottom and ought to be pulled up 10-15 feet.
  11. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    You can get a water quality test to tell what all is in there. Our well water in MI is yellow-brown, partly from iron but mostly from tannins. I think only a (expensive) tannin filter will remove tannins; we don't bother. But it's not intermittent; it's always that color if I don't do anything to the well. I shock the well now and then (pour a couple gallons of bleach in it, and ideally let it sit for a day) and that clears it up somewhat for a while. The irony is that crystal clear Lake Superior is 50 feet away.
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Maybe there is bridging in the salt tank if the water looks bad after it regenerates.
    Mine got solid as a rock with the pellets for some reason.
    My Culligan man recommends crystals.
    I've had no problem with them, knock on wood.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    stee6043, you have your filter installed downstream of the the softener? The setup that came with my house is like that too but I hadn't thought it was logical, and a matter that the filter was there before the softener, or something like that.
  14. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    I this spring drained and moved my hot water heater due to insulating around it and replacing the temporary flex lines I had it hooked up to and soldered the pipes solid to the heater via dielectric couplers.

    After I did that I crap in my water for a few days and I am on city water. Not sure if this applies to your situation. It did clear up though.
  15. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies. Here's a bit more infor/response to some suggestions.

    Water from tap got ugly brownish a couple days after my most recent post. It cleared up the next day.
    Water in toilets is clearer(happened before I fixed the salt bridge).

    The softener is about 6 months old. A H Depot model that relpaced an old Culligan. Didn't do an inline filter.

    Also replaced pressure tank at same time and water heater is about 3 to 4 years old.

    Pipes - that's another story. I know the pipe from well head to pump, 125', is constricted by iron buildup. My SIL saw that when the pump was replaced 3 years ago(we had renters and SIL was managing the place) The Well guy who repaired it, and was the same one to drill the well in 1966, said iron is common in our area. We have considered pulling pump and replacing that portion of the line to see if we get better water pressure in the house - but that's another story.

    We chlorinate once a month to reduce bacteria/junk that forms on the pump. Well guy said we could even do it twice a month.

    I'll try the iron out in the tank as suggested.

    Did have a salt bridge. Currently using pellets but am going to try crystals.

    Called county to try and get more info on water/wells in our area but no reply so far.

    Thanks again for all the helpful info.
  16. Shipper50

    Shipper50 Minister of Fire

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    If your well is 40 years old as I think I read that right, your a lucky man. I would also suggest putting in an in-line filter before your softener. I had nasty smelling water about a year ago and the well guy felt it was sulfur and I went to ebay and found a company that sells filters to take out the sulfur and sediment and I change it once a month.

    Shipper
  17. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Sorry if this was asked already, I just skimmed this thread, HOWEVER...

    Is there any building/blasting, or in particular, well drilling within a mile or so of your place? This can easily disrupt your well for a time.

    I've always had well water, in several homes, and each was/is different. First thing I'd do is install a sediment filter, one home I had the sediment filter would turn the color of clay every month, I'd let it go for a couple months, then change it out.....always muddy.

    Another home had a grey, gritty, sand that would collect in the filter over time.

    Current home has well, no filter, no problem other than calcium deposits....hard water in South Pa.
  18. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    I had a home that had the sulfur odor in the water. I asked the neighbors, who lived on either side of me, within 200 yards on one side, and 50 yards on the other, if thier water smelled like sulfur. Both said no.

    What I found out was this, my home had a sediment filter, and also an "odor" filter. I found the black carbon "odor" filter, when shot, was CAUSING the sulfur odor. I eliminated using the odor filters and the sulfur odor went away.

    Don't know if this could be the case with you, thought I'd mention it.
  19. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Shipper,
    yes, well was put in in 1966 when house was built. 6gpm at 125' and that's as good as it gets in our area. My wife's parents bought the place in 1980 and we took over in 2005, so I know some about the history but next to nothing about wells. Did u put the filter in yourself? I had a well company out last year to look at putting in a holdjng tank, and they looked at the softener. They wanted $2000 to rebuild the Culligan and $2600 to replace with another make. I spent $600 at H Depot and it's doing a fine job.
  20. Shipper50

    Shipper50 Minister of Fire

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    My house came with an inline filter and it hadn't been changed in years? It was black when I bought the house. I did find out after the smell that I needed a carbon and sediment filter which I found by the case on ebay. Cheaper than Lowes by a buck or more per.

    My softener is a Water Boss that came with the house and it just last month needed a new part after 10 years and it cost me $31 shipped and even I could change the part out and it works fine. I would think if your paying $2000 for a softener rebuild I would look at other softenerss. ;-)

    Shipper
  21. Bubbavh

    Bubbavh Feeling the Heat

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    Have your well tested! The only way to know for sure without spending useless time and money on filters and such.
    Too many variables to know for sure. Was your well driller from the area? If not he may not be sure of what aquifer he should be drilling into!
    Get your water tested and be sure! If you have a filter or water conditioner you want to get a sample that hasn't gone through it.
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