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Well water basics: Important facts about well water and the benefits of a well water filter system
About 13 million households in the continental United States use water from private drinking water wells – that’s roughly 15% of the population. The amount of people using well water can rise to as high as 40% in rural areas like northern New England. Well water is great because it’s pretty much free and there’s lots of it. However, well water can contain bacteria, lead, arsenic, chromium 6, mercury, radon, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – it’s hugely important to have a suitable water filter system in place to protect you from contaminants.
- What is well water?
- Benefits of well water
- Dangers of well water
- Is well water safe?
- Well water testing
- Well water filtration system
- How to shock a well
What is well water?
So what is well water? Well water is water that comes from the ground (also called ground water). Ground water is stored in a threshold beneath the ground’s surface. A well is a structure that is created to tap into and deliver ground water to a home or structure for use. Basically, a hole is dug into the ground and a pump is used to get fresh water from the well to a home for consumption. Wells have been used for decades and are a great way to attain water in almost every region.
On average, a well lasts for 30-50 years, although they can last longer or shorter depending on different circumstances. Well pumps last about ten years.
There are a few advantages and disadvantages of well water.
Benefits of well water
Well water is cheap, and there’s practically an endless supply of it
For some- especially those in rural areas – access to a municipal water supply is unavailable and therefore well water is the only option when it comes to getting water. Not to worry, well water has many advantages. A main advantage of well water is that it is the cheapest way to deliver water to your home or structure. All things considered, well water is much more reasonable than municipal water and provides long-term savings.
Once a well has been dug, it can provide a practically endless supply of water.
With adequate water filtration, well water is perfectly healthy to drink and use.
Dangers of well water
In this section there may seem to be a big focus on the dangers of untreated well water, but keep in mind these dangers are easily fixed with a water filter. Plus, well water is an extremely practical source of water whether you use well water out of necessity or by choice.
Well Water Contamination – well water can contain bacteria, lead, arsenic, chromium 6, mercury, radon, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
A major disadvantage of well water can be the environment in which it is dug. Even though ground water is located deep down, it can still be affected by contamination. If there is high contamination in a location, it is likely that the ground water will be affected too. Well water contamination most often comes from natural sources (not humans, as one might think). For example, some contaminants (like arsenic) can occur naturally at harmful levels in ground water. Learning their well water is contaminated can come as a surprise to many private well owners because there’s no obvious contamination nearby. Often times ground water is a shared resource among wide areas, so issues that affect one well will often affect many others.
You can research known water issues in an area through the EPA and by conducting an independent water test.
Contaminant levels and thresholds for safe water can change over time. For example, a well owner may have tested their water for arsenic a few years ago and their water was “safe.” That same water may now be “unsafe” due to changes from the EPA of what is considered safe. (Specifically with arsenic, the maximum contaminant level (MCL) used to be 50 parts per billion but was changed to 10 parts per billion. This means the same water that was considered “safe” may now be “unsafe”). We cannot emphasize enough that people should get their wells tested on a regular basis.
It’s essential that wells are dug away from septic systems to avoid contamination in case there is a leak or pipe burst. In general, each system should be separated from each other by 100 feet or more.
The most important message is that even if your well water is contaminated, well water filter systems can easily and affordably solve the issue. We’ll discuss well water filters in a later section. Water contamination is an issue that water from a municipal source faces too.
Lead in Well Water – well water is corrosive and can leach lead from pipes
Well water is often corrosive and can leach lead from pipes, soldered joints, and plumbing fixtures. As the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan spotlighted, corrosive water can cause dangerous levels of lead in the water in residents’ homes. Drinking water with lead can affect the heart, kidneys and nerves. The health effects of lead exposure are amplified in children including impaired cognition, behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty.
There’s a lot of well owners that don’t realize that well water can be corrosive and leach lead from pipes. If your plumbing was made before 2014, there’s a chance that lead may leach into your tap water. (The Safe Drinking Water Act 2014 established lead-free standards for home plumbing products). It is highly recommended that if your plumbing is not known to be lead-free, then you should replace it and/or definitely use a water filtration system that features lead removal.
Although there can be a number of disadvantages of well water, these problems are easily and affordably fixed with a well water filter system.
Other Disadvantages of Well Water
Sometimes well water smells and tastes bad
If you’ve spent any time around well water, you may have noticed how unpleasant it can be sometimes. It may smell rank – although not quite the same as sewage- and old wells may stink especially. Well water may also have a different smell and taste once it’s in its storage tank. This odor can make it less than ideal for daily consumption. If well water smells, it can depend on several conditions affecting the water supply in the local area and is by no means universal.
Again, these issues may stem from contamination but are easily solved with a well water filter system.
Well water is affected by the water shelf
Another disadvantage to well water is that it can be affected by the water shelf. The water shelf is the amount of water reserves that the region has. The water shelf depends on rain and other precipitation to replenish the supply. If an area experiences significant drought, it affects the amount of water in the supply. It can affect the water quality too.
Is Well Water Safe?
With a well water filter system, well water is definitely safe to drink and use. Would we recommend drinking or using unfiltered, untreated well water straight from the tap? Nope. Similarly, we wouldn’t recommend drinking unfiltered, untreated water from a public source either. It’s difficult to know what may be in your water at any given time, so it’s important to use a water filtration system whether it’s well water or from a municipal source. Water filtration systems improve the taste and appearance of water, and remove harmful, unseen contaminants and toxins too. We all know that drinking water is important so ensure the well water you are drinking in your home is filtered and healthful.
Well Water Testing
It’s important to test your well water for safety and purity. Private wells are not regulated by the EPA or State Regulators, so homeowners (and potential owners) are responsible for all water quality testing. A comprehensive test should be carried out regularly and include testing for:
- Chromium 6
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- And all other chemicals and contaminants
There is a misconception that having a private well “checked” will reveal water quality issues. Unfortunately, this is not the case. It is highly recommended that as a well owner you should carry comprehensive testing on a regular basis. Basic water screening doesn’t give information about lead, arsenic, chromium 6, mercury, radon, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) unless you test specifically for those chemicals. It’s the well owner’s responsibility to run tests.
If you are in the process of buying a home with well water, don’t buy a home without having the well tested first. If tests have already been carried out, ensure it was recent and comprehensive. Typically, the required water test only checks the systems in the home are not faulty rather checking the safety and purity of the water.
Again, if you own a private well system, it’s hugely important that you conduct routine checks to ensure the purity of the water you drink and use. Even if the water looks clear it can still be contaminated. Plus, contamination levels can change at any time. Just because the water is safe at one check, it does not guarantee that it will continue to be safe. There are well water filters that can purify and disinfect the water, but any water problems need to identified through water testing to ensure the correct well water filter system.
How to test well water
Check with your local environmental health department for recommendations regarding the type and frequency of testing specific to your area. Well water tests will involve taking a water sample from the tap of your home. This water sample is sent to a qualified testing lab which will provide a report of the water results along with what the passing limit for each element is. At Premiere Sales, we have water professionals that can look over the results to help you understand them, and identify what sort of well water filter system is best for your conditions.
How often to test well water
Well owners should test their water at least once per year for bacteria, nitrates, and any other contaminants known to be an issue in the local area. You should test your water more often if:
- The taste, odor, or appearance of your well water changes
- Problems such as a broken well cap, inundation of floodwaters, or a new source of contamination arises
- There’s a history of bacteria contamination with the well
- The septic system has recently failed or malfunctioned
- Infants or elderly are living in the home
- There are recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness among residents and guests
Well Water Filtration System – Ultrafiltration is best suited for tackling water issues associated with well water.
A well water filtration system is a device that removes contaminants and impurities from the water that you drink and use from your private well. Basically, a well water filter makes sure your water is safe. Well water filters are highly recommended to improve the taste, odor, appearance, and health of your water. A well water filter system will protect your household from harmful contaminants that may be in the water.
There’s two main type of well water filtration systems:
- Whole house water filter. A well water filtration system can be installed into your main water line so that all the water that enters your house has been filtered,
- Under sink water filter. You can also install an under sink water filter which filters the water that comes out of that specific tap. This type of filter may also be called a point of use water filter.
Finding the best well water filter system can be an overwhelming task. At Premiere Sales we make it easy. Our knowledgeable water experts will identify well water filters that tackle your water conditions. Please contact us on (760) 525-2724 to chat with a water expert. Or drop us a line in the Contact Us section of our website.
Whole House Water Filter for Well Water
A whole house water filter system is installed along your main water line and purifies all the water used in your house. It’s sometimes referred to as a point of entry (POE) system. A whole house filter system is different from a point of use (POU) system, such as countertop drinking water filters and faucet fixtures. With a whole house water filter for well water, all of the water that enters your home is decontaminated. As a result, all of your faucets including bath, shower, toilets, laundry, etc. will dispense filtered water. A Premiere well water filter prevents over 99.9% of dangerous substances from entering your home. Dangerous substances from your well might include lead, arsenic, chromium 6, mercury, radon, or volatile organic compounds – a Premiere ultrafiltration filter system will take care of these contaminants and deliver clean, pure, water that’s safe, great tasting, and healthy for drinking and using.
All whole house well water filters are not created equal though. When picking the best well water filter for your home, ensure that the system and replacement filters are high quality and built to last. Spending money on a well water filter system unit that does not function correctly or not target your specific water issues is a waste of money and you might be risking your health too.
The breakthrough in well water filtration technology is an ultrafiltration membrane filter system. Well water on its own is non-potable and needs to be purified. An ultrafiltration membrane filter system purifies and disinfects water to produce great-tasting water that is safe to use and drink. Ultrafiltration removes over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and giardia & cryptosporidium. It’s innovative technology lets you flush (clean) the membrane whenever it gets full of contaminants.
Ultraviolet (UV) or ozone purification requires a lot of electricity and although they may kill bacteria, it doesn’t remove bacteria. That means that bacterial remnants are still present in your water.
Unfortunately reverse osmosis isn’t ideal for well water due to low pressure typically associated with well water,
Membrane purification for well water removes bacteria, doesn’t waste water (like reverse osmosis), and the membrane doesn’t need to be replaced as often as filters. To clean the membrane, easily turn a valve to flush it. Don’t keep buying filters that plug when you can flush a membrane.
The best whole house water filter for well water is, without a doubt, the PS-1000 Ultrafiltration Membrane Filter (well water filter system) or if you have lots of sediment or chemicals in the water, the PS-2000S or PS-2000C respectively.
The Premiere ultrafiltration membrane water purification technology to removes bacteria (over 99.9999%), viruses (over 99.99%), and giardia & cryptosporidium (over 99.95%) from your drinking water. It has a continuous, 8 gallon per minute flow rate. There is zero waste water, and it does not require a storage tank or electricity to operate. One of the best features is that to clean the membrane, simply turn a valve to flush it. It’s time to flush the membrane when there is a drop in water pressure coming from the system. With other filter systems, there’s no option to turn a valve to clean the filter – it means you have to buy a new replacement water filter. Save time and money in the long-term with this revolutionary well water filter system.
Under sink water filter for well water
A under sink style of water purification is most often installed under your kitchen sink to provide pure drinking water from a single faucet. We highly recommend the the Premiere PS-PURUF ultrafiltration system. Ultrafiltration is a type of membrane filtration which purifies and disinfects water. A membrane barrier acts like a filter using slight pressure to separate particles like bacteria, viruses, germs, pollen, algae, and organic molecules from the water.
The PS-PURUF is great for well water, and best of all it produces zero waste water (unlike reverse osmosis which wastes a lot of water)! This system removes over 99.9% of bacteria including cysts, viruses, giardia, and cryptosporidium. It delivers pure water on demand – no storage tank required. By not having a storage tank it means that there is no bacteria growth (tanks are notorious for bacteria growth) and also requires significantly less space under your sink.
How to shock a well
When you “shock a well” you add very high levels of bleach into your well system to kill bacteria. During this disinfection process, do not drink or use any water. It’s best to carry out this process when when faucets and toilets will not be in use for at least 1 hour, preferably more.
To shock a well, pour one gallon of bleach down the well head. Go to farthest faucet in your home and run the water until you start to smell bleach. Turn off the faucet. Let the bleach sit in the system for at least an hour. Do not use any taps. After the bleach has sat in the system, turn on the faucet and run water until the bleach smell is gone.
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