What are common well water problems? Well, water problems refer to the challenges that come with sinking a well in your home. If you own a well, foul-smelling or discolored water flowing from your tap could fill you with dread. These are indicators that all is not well with your well, and it needs immediate attention.
Over 15 million homes in the US use well water, making it safe to consume for daily home chores. However, a private well owner needs to know a few things about wells to lower safety and health risks and ultimately secure water quality in their home.
Common Well Water Problems
- Dingy Laundry that starts to fade
- Dry skin and hair
- Scale buildup on appliances
- Fecal bacteria illnesses
- Acidic water
- Smelly water
- Corroded pipes
- Heavy metal issues
- Foul tasting water
This article will cover the following topics on well water problems:
- Well water problems and how they affect you and your home.
- Ways to determine if your water pump is faulty.
- Tips to minimize common well water problems in your home.
- Water quality problems.
Common Well Water Problems
Hard water is defined by the amount of calcium and magnesium dissolved in water. Hence, water containing high levels of the two minerals is considered hard water in layman’s terms.
Common Signs of Hard Water
Did you know that 90 percent of homes in the US have hard water running through their taps? Here are the common signs of hard water you need to check in your home.
No Suds – You will quickly notice hard water when washing your hands as you will fail to notice bubbles around your hands. Consequently, soap is not adequately rinsed, making your skin scaly.
Dingy Laundry – You are likely to find soap scum stuck to fabric and gradual discoloring. Besides, towels get scratchy, irritating your skin.
Clogged Drainage – Hard water tends to leave mineral deposits in pipes. Building up such deposits will eventually cause perpetual clogging.
Appliance Issues – If you use hard water, mineral deposits will occur in your water heaters and dishwashers, lowering their efficiency and reducing their lifespan.
Consequences of Hard Water
Hard water is something you know about by now. But what exactly are its side effects?
White Stains on Plumbing Fixtures – The accumulation of calcium from hard water causes this effect on fixtures and appliances. Coffee makers, washing machines, and dishwashers are likely to show this effect firsthand.
Dry Skin and Hair -Since hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, taking a shower will leave your hair feeling slimy and skin dry.
Faded Fabric – You will notice your clothes fading at a phenomenal rate, thanks to washing with hard water.
Solutions to Hard Water
Hard water is not an essential health concern in your home, but it can cause extensive damage if left unchecked.
Boil “Temporary” Hard Water – Temporary hard water contains a low level of calcium and magnesium. Boiling water will dissolve the minerals, making it soft and safe for consumption.
Use Hard Water Cleaning Aid to Get Rid of Soap Scum – minerals that make water hard often react with soap, creating scum. It is a solid white buildup you find on water appliances and fixtures.
Washing Soda in Laundry – Washing soda is one of the best ways of treating hard water for washing purposes. Carbonic acid in the washing soda softens both permanent and temporary water, making it easy to wash your clothes.
It is associated with the practice of intentional addition to public water systems to prevent tooth decay. However, fluoride can be harmful when it gets into water systems from natural resources, such as runoff or underground water and industrial emissions.
Common Signs of Excess Fluoride in Water
Excessive consumption of fluoride causes a rare condition called fluorosis. Besides, it accumulates in teeth, causing them to have patches of yellow or brown stains. The effects of fluoride affect the physical condition of teeth enamel and make cavities to be more resistant. As such, it is essential to test your water for excess fluoride and ensure you have clean water.
How to Deal with Excess Fluoride in Water
Reverse osmosis filtration is a simple and effective way of removing excess fluoride in drinking water. The system removes over 90 percent of excess fluoride in drinking water, making it safe for consumption. Besides, you can easily install the system in your home to purify drinking water.
Turbidity is a term used to refer to the clarity levels of water. High turbidity implies the water is not clear. It is caused by the presence of suspended solid particles in water, thereby affecting its appearance.
Common Signs of Turbidity
Murky waters are all the signs you need to check the turbidity of water. It affects the quality of water by lowering its usefulness in homes. Besides, you will notice water flowing from your storage tank having low pressure and frequent clogging of pipes.
Negative Effects of Turbidity
Loss of Aesthetic Quality – Water with high turbidity levels, especially in streams, dams, and lakes, loses its aesthetic value significantly as it appears dirty. As a result, recreational and farming activities are affected and consequent loss of aquatic life.
Solutions to Remove Turbidity
Cloth Filtration – It is a simple and effective way of removing solid particles in water. The method favors small households as you can only perform it in small quantities.
Sand Filtration – Running turbid water through sand helps in clearing the solid particles. It is a pre-treatment method suitable for removing the water for laundry uses and farming, but you are not advised to drink such water.
Settling and Decantation – The Method requires letting the water settle for 24 hours, so particles settle at the bottom of the containers. The next step is decanting the water into a second container.
Fecal bacteria refer to organisms present in water mainly from the feces of warm-blooded animals. However, the bacterium is not likely to cause sickness, but proves disease-causing pathogens in water.
Common Signs of Fecal Bacteria
Sadly, you cannot physically check the presence of fecal bacteria in drinking water. It needs to get tested in a lab. However, if you consume water contaminated with fecal bacteria, you are likely to experience frequent cramps and stomach pains, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Solutions to Fecal Bacteria in Drinking Water
Frequent Testing – Here is the first step in dealing with fecal bacteria. If the lab results indicate you have traces of the organisms in your water, it’s time to trace the source of contamination.
Boiling Drinking Water – Make it part of your lifestyle to drink boiled water as you can physically see the bacteria. Fecal bacteria die under high temperatures, hence the need to boil your drinking water.
Appropriate Disposing of Human and Animal Waste – If you are using well water, ensure you have water-tight systems to dispose of your waste to prevent contamination.
Acidity in water refers to water with a PH of less than seven. Acidic water is good for your health, but high acid levels come with lots of antimicrobial effects. Rainwater, soil microbes, and certain rocks contribute to increasing the acid levels in the water.
Common Signs of Acidic Water
It is difficult to determine the level of acidity in water physically. However, notice the following signs around your home, your water is acidic if there are:
- Greenish or blue stains in your bathtub, sink, or toilet
- Greenish pigments between tiles in your shower
- Leaking fixtures and faucets are often eroded
- Leaking pipes
Solutions of Acidic Water
Acid Filters – This is a device installed in the water systems of your house to make the water more alkaline.
Magnesium oxide – Alternatively, you can add magnesium oxide in your reservoir tank to neutralize acidity in the water.
Soda Ash – Adding soda ash is yet another simple solution to treating acidic water. Since soda ash has a PH level of more than seven, adding it to acidic water will correct the problem.
Hydrogen sulfide causes water to have the smell of rotten eggs. The mineral dissolves into water over time, and it’s released into underground water.
Common Signs of Hydrogen Sulfide
Foul Smell – The presence of hydrogen sulfide causes water to have the smell of a rotten egg. Besides, the contaminated water has an awful taste.
Corroded Pipes – Hydrogen sulfide often raises the acid levels of water, making it eat away your pipes. Besides, it will tarnish the color of your copper and silver utensils.
Black and Yellow Stains in the Bathroom – If you notice stubborn yellow stains in your bathroom tiles, it indicates hydrogen sulfide in your water.
Solutions for Hydrogen Sulfide
Boil Drinking Water – boiling will get rid of the impurity and grant you safe drinking water. Under high temperatures, hydrogen sulfide dissolves, making your water safe for consumption.
Install a Water Purification System in Your Home – installing a water purifying system is a long-term solution to the problem and guarantees clean water and integrity of your plumbing fixtures.
Drinking water is contaminated by heavy metals, such as nickel, zinc, and mercury. Such metals in water pose a huge health risk as they lead to high cancer and blood pressure cases.
Common Signs of Heavy Metals
You cannot physically determine the presence of heavy metals in water, but you can see the effects of heavy metals in drinking water. The level of contamination determines symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. These include:
- Tingling of your feet and hands
- Abdominal pains
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting and general body weakness
Solution to Heavy Metals
Filtration is one of the most viable and effective ways to remove heavy metals in drinking water. Install a water filtration system capable of getting rid of heavy metals to guarantee the safety of your loved ones.
Heavy Metal Detox – if you suspect your drinking water is contaminated with heavy metal, regularly detox your body to keep your body healthy.
Iron and Manganese
The presence of iron and manganese in water gives it a foul odor, color, and taste. Iron offers your laundry, dishes, and utensils to have a reddish-brown stain that is quite irritating. However, you can remove the stains by washing them with detergents.
Common signs of Iron and Manganese
Foul Taste and Odor – The first sign your water is contaminated by iron and manganese is when it has a metallic taste and odor. Iron reacts with oxygen in water, leading to a foul taste and smell.
Brown Particles Settling in your Drinking Glass – If you notice the presence of some brown particles at the bottom of your drinking water, it’s a sign that your water is contaminated.
Reddish Brown Stains in Your Sink, Laundry, and Utensils – The stains result from iron reacting with oxygen in the water. Every time you see the red-brown stains, know your water is contaminated, and you need to watch out.
Consequences and Negative Effects of Iron and Manganese in Water
Lowering flavor in Food and Water – Food cooked is likely to have a funny metallic taste. Besides, it causes a reaction with tea, coffee, and other alcoholic beverages and produces a black sludge.
Stained Utensils and Laundry – Continuous washing of utensils and laundry with contaminated water causes stubborn brown stains.
Clogging of Pipes – Water contaminated with iron and magnesium leaves sediments that accumulate in water pipes and eventually cause blockage.
Solutions to Iron and Manganese in Water
Add Water Softeners – You can treat the problem by adding a water softener if iron and manganese levels are manageable.
Oxidizing Filters – use of oxidized filters in your filtration helps eliminate the two metals and any accumulated particles.
Addition of Polyphosphate – The method only works when dealing with low levels of dissolved iron and magnesium. Besides, you need to consult a specialist before adding polyphosphate to your water tanks.
How to tell if a Well Pump is Bad?
Unfortunately, there are not many signs used to check if a well pump is bad. However, here is how to tell if your system is faulty:
- Pressure fluctuations at home
- Strange noises when pumping
- High electricity bills
- Splitting faucets
Causes of Pump Problems
Contaminated Water – the first culprit to causing problems with your pump is contaminated water. Dirty water, iron, and magnesium, among other contaminants, are used by experts in checking how to tell if a well is bad.
Overheating – Check the manufacturer’s guide on using the pump to avoid overworking, which leads to overheating. Regular overheating leads to reduced efficiency of pumps, contributing to failure.
Solutions to Water Pump Problems
Avoid Overloading – When installing pipework for your pump, ensure you use the correct pipe size to avoid overloading, as you are likely to have problems in the future.
Check water quality – be careful with the quality of water passing through the pump, as it will determine how long your pump lasts. Besides, it is the gateway to how to tell if a well is bad.
Well is Pumping Air
When you notice your system is pumping air, it is a sign of several underlying problems. It could be low water volumes in the well or leaking pipes, among other issues. Besides, the first sign of your pump thrusting air indicates your well is bad.
Causes of Well Pumping Air
Low water volume – When the water level drops for whatever reason, a pump fails to meet the required water pressure, and pumping air becomes inevitable.
Dirty Water – Dirty water in your well could mean doom for you as it causes your pump to get faulty. The effect is pumping the air as pipes get clogged and fail to carry the required water volumes.
Solutions for well Pumping Air
Check valve – It is essential to regularly check the integrity of your pump valve to eliminate air leaks that could be caused by low water pressure and clogging.
Water Levels – If the water level falls below the pipe connected to your pump, then it’s inevitable you will pump air. Thus, you need to check for water levels regularly.
Check Your Hot Water System – Heating water creates tiny pockets of water, which need to be regularly checked to avoid air pumping.
The Well is Pumping Sand or Large Amounts of Sediment
Your pump could be pumping sand or residues, and it could be a sign it’s very powerful, or your well is dirty. Besides, you need to check the problem as it could cause rapid deterioration of pump valves and accumulation of sand in your lines.
New Well Installation – Drilling a well requires contractors to access deep layers of soil and rock. The process releases a lot of particles in the water and could contribute to the problem.
Damaged well – The problem is common with new wells where installed pipes shift. Besides, if an old well experiences the problem, then it means the bedrock has underlying issues.
You only have one solution when dealing with pumps pumping sand and sediments, regularly service the well. It is the only precautionary measure you can take to ensure clean water flows from your pump.
Water Pressure is Low – Pressure Tank Symptoms
If you experience reduced water pressure from your tank, check the pump or stuck valve. Besides, in some cases, it is caused by clogged pipes due to iron bacteria and the accumulation of sediments that affect the free flow of water.
Clean Water Pipes and the Tank Regularly – Habitually clean well pipes to ensure they carry the necessary water volumes. Besides, it helps in avoiding most bad pressure tank symptoms by unclogging blocked pipes.
Monitor the Quality of Your Well – The greatest culprit to lowering water pressure in your tank is low quality from the well. Hence, you need to ensure the water is always clean to avoid bad pressure tank symptoms.
Increased Electricity Bills
When you notice a rise in your electricity bills, it is an indication you have a problem with your pump. Inefficient pumps will consume more power to get water from the wells. It is right to say a rise in your electricity bills is an apparent indication that the well pump is not operating optimally.
Solutions to Increased Electricity Bills
You have one solution to a rise in power bills; regularly maintain your pump and pipes. It is the only way you can keep the bill from rising. Besides, remember to service your pump to ensure it’s performing at its optimum levels. Have in mind well pump operation largely determines the performance of your pump.
Has Water Quality Changed?
A change in the quality of water from a well is not a common occurrence, but it can be caused by the following:
- Changes in bedrock
- Accumulated sediments in water pump pipes
Regular maintenance of your well and plumbing works is the leading way of keeping your healthy water clean. Additionally, check for any dumped waste in your surrounding as that could eventually find its way to your well and alter the quality.
Dissolved Gasses or Bubbles and Air in Well Water
It is not unusual for well owners to notice bubbles in water from their well. The bubbles can occur naturally due to common reactions when water mixes with underground gases. Besides, the bubbles can be caused by methane, which indicates decomposed organic matter in your surroundings.
Changes in water pressure and temperature could also be a leading cause of the problem. Finally, the bubbles can also be caused by mechanical issues with your pump and plumbing works.
Aeration – It is a simple way of mixing pumped water with clean water to remove dissolved gases. It can remove methane and other dissolved gases from your healthy water.
Install Water Filters – You can install filters in your home to eliminate dissolved gasses in the water and guarantee the safety of your water.
A sudden change in water pressure could cause a faucet to spit. Such pressure changes indicate there is air trapped in your plumbing system. Besides, you could hear a banging noise in the walls when using water, which is a sign your faucets may start spitting soon.
Check for Potential Obstructions – Get rid of all the accumulated dirt in your pipes as it could lead to spitting faucets due to fluctuating water pressure.
Use Water Filters – Filters help in eliminating sediments, thereby ensuring water pressure remains unchanged.
How to Minimize Well Water Problems from Happening
You can protect the quality of water supply from your well by managing activities around the water source. Households need to keep all contaminants away from sinkholes to ensure nothing finds its way to their water.
Here are specific tips to keep your well safe.
- Create a slope around your well to keep runoff water from entering the well
- Mount a well cap to keep off unauthorized access to the well
- Keep a clear record of all your maintenance procedures
- Regularly hire a specialist to check the health of your well
- Never dispose of chemicals in a pit or dry well as it will create a potential problem in the future.
Sinking a well could bring to an end water supply problems, but you need to work on other issues that come with a well. For instance, you will need to maintain your pump regularly to avoid problems building up that could cut your water supply short. Besides, you must adhere to all maintenance procedures your contractor recommends to keep your water flow consistent.
On the other hand, you need to regularly check on the quality of your water, such as hard water level and the presence of hard metals, among other contaminants. Also, avoid dumping chemicals around your home as they will eventually find their way to the well. Keep note that keeping your well functional is a series of activities, and you cannot ignore any procedure.
Be proactive in maintaining your well and checking for new technologies that help you keep your well clean.