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Well Maintenance

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by basswidow, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    This is my first home with well water. I love how the water has NO smell. When I travel and stay in a municipal system - the chlorine smell is nasty and tastes bad. I can't believe all my life I lived with that.

    My question is this: Is there any maintenace that I need to do for the well system. In my basement - I have a blue tank and separate water softener that I add salt to.

    Occasionally, we'll notice some black sediment in the water. The blue tank has a drain valve (hose bib). I am wondering if I should hook a hose up to it and run it alittle to flush any sediment out of the tank? Probably wouldn't hurt to do the same to the HWH?

    Those familiar with well water living - is there any maintenance you do that I should know about?

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Usually not much maintenance needed unless one needs to bleed the tank occasionally.
  3. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I have never done anything with the well
    however if you do anything with the HWH make sure you turn off the circuit
    if the heating elements are on and there is no water they overheat and explode instantly
    you have to make sure the tank is full before you turn it back on
    flushing the HWH and replacing the anode greatly increase the life span
    especially the anode it is meant to disolve and stop corrosion for several years
    after that the tank will start to corrode
    I've been told if you keep up with the anode a tank will last forever
  4. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    That black crap is sulfur.....Nasty stuff I would want a whole house pre-filter on!
  5. jimbom

    jimbom Combustion Analyzer

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    I would recommend call your county ag agent and ask how to get a sample of the water from your well tested. Or maybe it is the health department in your state. In any case, some agency will test it for free or almost free.
  6. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Only thing I have done to my well water in the 15 years of living in my house is add an in-line filter to catch some sediment that use to come up . . . other than that . . . knock on wood . . . nothing . . . it's very good water . . . whenever I drink Poland Spring water or city water I find myself cringing from the taste . . . since water isn't supposed to have a taste.
  7. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Wells and the pumps, piping, and electrical components that support them usually don't require any maintenance.

    Draining the accumulator (blue) tank and water heaters yearly is always a good idea. Your water heater shouldn't accumulate much as long as the water is softened before it enters it.

    If you or others using the water are sensitive to salt for some reason (e.g. hypertension) you may want to remove the salt your softener probably adds by reverse osmosis or other means. This would only need to be done for what you ingest.

    A particulate filter is good investment on any water system. If you suspect any other types of contamination of the ground water in your area the addition of an activated carbon filter might be useful. Because activated carbon filters are more expensive than particulate filters its best if they are installed in series with the sediment (particulate) filter first.
  8. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    I don't think it is a bad idea to spend the $20 on a bacteria test every year or two. And if you are in an area that has a high concentration of septic systems or agriculture another $20 should get you a nitrate test. Go with an actual lab, I don't trust those things they have at the hardware stores.

    Also, every year or so you should check your pump cycle. Go downstairs with a watch and have someone turn on a faucet full blast. Let it run until you hear the pressure switch turn the pump on, note the time. Note the time again when the pump turns off. And then watch the time until you hear the pump turn on again, then shut off the faucet.

    The times from pump on to pump off should be minutes, not seconds. And the time from pump off to pump on should also be minutes. If these cycles occur less than a minute you probably have a water logged pressure tank and if it is not corrected you may burn out a pump sooner than you ought.

    Other than that, it is best to just keep in mind that the water you're getting out of your well was at the surface nearby not long ago. So the things that go on in your neighborhood are what is most likely to contaminate your well. Not that you should stick your nose into your neighbor's business, but that you should be aware of what is going on in your locality. The tanker truck that slid into the ditch last winter a quarter mile from you is more likely to cause problems in your well than some mine tailings in Canada.
  9. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    I not convinced that this is true. Some of the worst "tasting" water I've had is deionized, or distilled water, which is about as pure as water can get. I suspect that good water is water with the right balance of minerals. And I'm sure there's some minerals that just shouldn't be in our drinking water.
  10. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    First question I would have is it a dug or drilled well? I am assuming it is a drilled well, due to the softener. Well maintenance begins at the well head and casing. Make sure the well cap is securely sealed allowing no intrusion of surface contaminants. Make sure that the soil is graded so that any surface water flows away from the casing and annular space. Also, don't apply any pesticides/herbicides or fertilizers close to the well casing.

    Black sediment can also be iron/manganese bacteria, especially if there is no rotten-egg odour in the water. General maintenance can include shocking the well with chlorine and flushing. That can be done annually if the black sediment is not that noticeable. If the problem is not fixed, you might need a certified well tech to scrub the well casing etc.

    Do you usually notice it if the water hasn't been run for a while?
  11. basswidow

    basswidow Minister of Fire

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    We were told when we bought it was maganese. The house and well is about 5 years old. We only notice it every now and then. Only in the bowl and tub after it drains. No odor - not sulfur. The sediment is not a bother. I was only concerned being a newby to wells - what maintenance needs doing. It's a drilled well.

    I was just wondering if some of that sediment could build up in the tank and also in the HWH and may need to be flushed out. It's a gas HWH - so I will turn it off.

    I don't want to be negligent on maintenance and then have a big expense.

    I never thought about the salt softener causing hypertension.

    Funny, just had my physical today and the Dr. told me to cut back on salt.

    That's a hidden source I'd never consider.
  12. Black Jaque Janaviac

    Black Jaque Janaviac Feeling the Heat

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    Yes. Sometimes the little black specs are just manganese bits. If it is not too numerous it isn't a problem. I'd just keep an eye on how much it builds up in the toilet tank. That will give you some indication of how bad it might be in the pressure tank and water heater.
  13. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    Sometimes a softener is not necessary. I have hard municipal water (groundwater source), but I don' t use a softener. I just run some vinegar in my dishwasher, flush my hotwater tank every so often etc. Hard water is usually better for you, as it supplies minerals your body needs. Try not using your softener, or plumb a pipe that bypasses your softener to your kitchen tap for drinking water purposes.

    As for the manganese bacteria, shock your well and then flush your pipes. That should help with reducing the black sediment in your plumbing and tanks. If you flush properly, you won't have any chlorine left to taste or smell.
  14. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Your "hard" water must not be too hard if you are ok without the softener.

    when I first moved into my house I had to put a softenener in. Well it took me close to a year to get it installed (tons of other projects to do). In that year my washing machine would barely flow, the showers were nasty as well as the toilets and the dishwasher would no longer clean dishes, no matter what "miracle juice" I put in it.
    Also was told expect 5-7 year life span on the boiler and water heater if I contined to run them on the hard water.

    Oh and most of the clothes I had were ruined. Black shirts turned gray and everything was STIFF as a board, like it was dosed in starch.

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