We are asked this question every day by homeowners that lived with city water their entire lives and purchased a new home that has either a private well or community well water supply. No need to panic! It will be OK. I always joke that all they need is a water treatment 101 class and they will be ready for living with well water. Maybe I am a little biased, being in the water treatment industry, but I’ve always believed we have a lot more control of the quality of our water with well water then you ever would with city water. With every home, that has well, water testing is done as part of the real estate transaction to determine several things regarding the water.
- Bacteria testing is done to determine if there are any harmful bacteria present in the well water which could be a health concern, such as Coli-form and E-Coli. If present the well must be sanitized, flushed and re-tested until it is determined to be free of bacteria (potable water)
- Testing for Arsenic, Nitrate and Nitrite is also done. If any of these are over their limits (10ppm for Nitrate and Nitrites), (10ppb for arsenic). Some form of water treatment needs to be done to bring the drinking water to acceptable levels before the real estate closing. Other testing for low PH, Radium, Radon, Chlorides and Sodium may also be necessary depending on the state and area the home is in.
- A well inspection is performed to assure the well is sealed properly and there are no potential problems such as a cracked cap. Along with a visual inspection of the water itself. Is the water cloudy, dirty, sediment in the water, does it smell, is it rusty, etc.
Water chemistry from every well can vary greatly. One well may have a high iron content, hydrogen sulfide and be extremely high in hardness while the well next door may be the same depth but the water may have very little iron but high hardness.
Below is a chart that shows hardness levels in water and the degrees of which they can cause problems.
Most of the well water we test in Livingston County, MI will have hard water levels (calcium and magnesium) from 10 to 30 plus grains per gallon of hardness
Recently we installed a new water treatment system for a customer in Brighton Michigan that purchased a new home with a private well supply. They had never been on well water before so part of the water evaluation is showing them the problems hard water scale can cause over the short term and long term if left untreated. Although they mentioned the problems were very evident even though they had only been in the home for one month.
Water test: Hardness 26 gpg, Iron 0ppm, PH 7.4, MG 0ppm, H2S 0ppm, AS 0ppb. 3 people in the home with one more on the way!
When sizing water treatment systems for a home there are many parameters that need to be taken into consideration for the system to work properly and provide twenty plus years of reliable service.
- What is the water chemistry? Iron, Manganese, Hydrogen sulfide, Hardness? A thorough water analysis needs to be done and many times a sample may be sent to a third party lab if there are any signs of iron bacteria or possible arsenic issues.
- Does this water warrant an iron filtration system along with a softener or will just a water softener work fine on this water.
- The system needs be efficient for the household, be able to handle a growing family and busy household. Undersized equipment saves money up front but costs a lot more in the long run with high salt usage, service issues and decreased lifespan of equipment.
- The flow rates (GPM) necessary to efficiently operate the household need to be taken into account for the proper water treatment system application also. Too low flow rates in the house and someone could get scalded in the shower or when more than one person is using water some parts of the home have very little water. Such as when the dishwasher is running and someone wants to take a shower or anyone washing their hands causes a drastic loss of water volume and pressure in the house.
There are many different options for water treatment equipment but only ONE is the best, most efficient option. For this household it was an Evolve Series EVRS 45k capacity water softener
There is a common misconception that water softeners (water treatment equipment) only lasts 10 years or so. If the proper water treatment system is installed the first time it should last 20-30 years.
No need to fear your water! It can be the best water you will ever have, with very little maintenance and provide you the quality of water your family deserves and expects for many years.
Below is more information regarding topics discussed in this blog:
Good day and good water to you!