The Ultimate Guide To Well Water Filtration Systems For Your Home
Finding the best well water filtration systems is no easy feat, but is definitely worth looking up if you’re not sourcing your water from the stored municipal source, or if you’re generally concerned with the purity of your water.
Well water, which depends on several conditions affecting the water supply in the locality, may have a different smell and taste once it’s in its storage tank, making it less than ideal for daily consumption.
Just being around well water lets you realize how horrid it can be. The rank smell is not quite the same as sewage, but can turn anyone’s stomach, especially the stench that comes from old wells.
According to The University of Minnesota, clear well water can still contain bacteria in large amounts. These bacteria are responsible for the horrid smell that emanates from the well. They can be very hard to eliminate.
However, filtering well water will readily solve that problem, and essentially save you money in the long run if you choose this method of providing water for your home, over buying bottled water or sourcing it from a cooler supply company.
How To Purify Well Water
If your well water is from a private source, it may be necessary to first make use of a well water test kit before you can determine the best whole house water filtration system for well water. Several test kits involve checking the parasite or heavy metal content of the water, as well as bacteria or mold. One of the most complete tests is the Watercheck well water test kit, which tests up to 83 possible contaminants and factors; it will quickly help you choose well water treatment systems that will remove these substances and make your water safe and potable.
To choose proper whole house water purification systems for well water, it may be necessary to customize your well water filter system based on the results of those tests. Here are some common contaminants and how they are often treated:
Unknown contaminants which cause a bad taste or smell
Well water may smell off because of local factors which affect the nearest source of water. Water filters can treat these conditions by using granular activated carbon in combination with a chlorinator for the bacteria. Carbon neutralizes unpleasant tastes and odors.Though the water may be a bit cloudy for the first two weeks after changing the filter, this does not affect water potability and can be removed by running the water for a few seconds before pouring out some for consumption.
Bacteria, amoebae and parasites
Bacterial contamination is a more persistent problem even in clean well water, and especially so if there is a risk from nearby sewage and waste leakage. Not all bacteria cause an offensive taste and odor, but these are still harmful to one’s health—thankfully there are many water filters which effectively kill bacteria and other parasites for safe consumption.Whole house well water filter reviews indicate that adding a chlorinator to the filtration set-up also serves the same function, but will then require removal of chlorine, usually through your installed reverse osmosis filters
A common metal contaminant, lead is tasteless, odorless, and usually contaminates water because of old, rusted municipal pipes. Nevertheless, for health reasons, lead should be avoided. There are lead filters that can be installed directly under sinks, assuring removal from your drinking water.
Sand and iron may be common sediments which affect the water as visible particles in your glass, and can collect even in the screens of your faucet aerator or at the bottom of a drinking glass. These are easily removed with sediment filters for well water to remove the particles and protect your health, your faucets and appliances. Iron can affect the hardness of drinking water, hence it is necessary to choose the best water softener for well water to remove it.Some set-ups encourage a double sediment filter: one to catch larger particles like small pebbles or grit, and a second one for finer material.
Do You Want Individual Set-Ups or A Single Whole House Well Water Filtration System?
Many filters can be easily installed individually in kitchen and bathroom sinks to remove any undesirable substances. However, it is possible to opt for whole house well water filters instead, which involve putting together individual filters for contaminants—the aforementioned carbon filter, a chlorinator, a particle filter—into one unified, seamless model.These are typically attached to the pressurized holding tank for well water underneath your home. A whole house filtration system for well water is also often called the point-of-entry system.
On the other hand, if you do not have time for such a complex, though rewarding, well water whole house filter, you can always choose to place the major filters with the said tank, but add an individual well water sediment filter for particles per tap. These are called point-of-use systems, and the NSF accounts for a range in these devices, from faucet mount filters, to refrigerator systems for ice and drinking water, to personal water bottles.
The problem with point-of-use systems is that you will have to individually measure and fix these filters to fit your faucets and taps perfectly to ensure cleanliness, which can be quite time-consuming.
Is Water Softness Really That Important?
Whole house water treatment systems for well water don’t necessarily have to change water hardness or softness. However, the high mineral content of hard water may create unwanted mineral deposits in your faucets, tub and toilet, becoming a nuisance. Hard water is still potable, but it is advisable that you use filters with cation exchange resin to soften that water and prevent long-term appliance and boiler damage, and provide you with the best whole house water filter for well water possible.
According to the NSF, the cation exchange resin filter is regenerated with sodium chloride or potassium choloride, and removes the excess calcium or magnesium that would cause that water hardness. Alternatively, if you’re only concerned with the mineral deposits in your bathroom, you can opt for a well water shower filter attached to the shower head. These shower filters also reduce chlorine content.
Regular maintainance of the resin filter regeneration, as with all parts of well water filtration systems for whole house use, is a must. There are essentially no cons to installing a resin filter in this instance; if your well water is just that hard, whole house water filters for well water that soften the incoming water will protect your home items and pipes for longer use without replacement and minimal maintenance.
Reverse Osmosis Filters For Your House
Whole house water filter systems for well water should also include reverse osmosis technology. This essentially makes use of a thin membrane filter which forces a solvent from a region of high solute concentration to a region of low solute concentration by applying pressure in excess of the osmotic pressure. This method is commonly used to separate pure water from salt water, and can be combined with the other filters to produce clean, sediment and salt-free drinking water.This filter works best in combination with an activated carbon filter to remove sediment, as the large particles alone in regular well water may degrade a reverse osmosis filter’s thin membrane. The fineness of the pores in many commercially-available reverse osmosis filters enables even the use of collected storm water in the home after proper treatment, so it is an option worth looking into despite the increased energy cost of having one.
Aeration Filters: Cost-Friendly And Good For The Environment
A well water aerator system is also worth looking into as a green solution to your well water cleanliness problems. The Pure Water Gazette points out that if you’re concerned about dissolved gases in your water from a nearby farm or plant, or even just from a natural local source, a well water aerator tank can remove dissolved radon, methane and carbon dioxide which may make your water smell or taste unpleasant.Aeration can also remove dissolved iron and manganese through precipitation. It is also effective at removing many common industrial solvents.
Aeration involves the process of passing air through water, and subsequently venting that air out. The air acts to force the dissolved gases or contaminating compounds to be released from the water, essentially ensuring that those contaminants released from the water are vented out along with the air.This step works differently when applied to iron and manganese, as an aerator for well water will precipitate these dissolved elements with the air. This can then be filtered out to get rid of the resulting iron and manganese particles. Aeration raises the pH level of water, making it less acidic and safer for human consumption.There are three usual aeration systems that are commercially available: spray aerators, bubble aerators and packaged tower aerators. Here’s what makes each system different:
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1. Spray Aerator
With this device, water enters through the top of the aeration unit and exits through spray heads in the form of a very fine mist. The treated, clean water collects in a tank with vents located below the spray heads. The contaminants do not make it to the tank—they are vented outside.A negative point is that this method will require the vents to be situated somewhere sufficiently distanced from other people and pets, as well as the wind direction, to avoid exposing people to the released substances.
2. Bubble Aerator
A diffused-bubble aerator makes use of multiple chambers and a diffuser through which the air blows in—similar to the mechanism in the spray aerator. As the air is blown in, bubbles form, which float from one chamber to another, carrying the contaminating substances to the vent system, and gradually releasing it to the outside environment.
The downside with this method is that there are some instances where this device floods —fortunately many bubble aerators come with warning systems.
3. Packed Tower Aerator
This makes use of a tower that can go up to ten feet in height, filled with packing material up to 3 inches in size. This material can either be pieces of ceramic or plastic. Water falls from the top of the tower, and air is blown in from the bottom of the tower opposite to the water flow, transferring the contaminants to the air by making it rise to the top of the tower, which will then lead to it being vented out of the home.One factor to consider in purchasing a packed tower aerator is that finer pieces of packing material will result in more efficient contaminant removal, but will increase electricity costs because of the air pumping.
With All These Filters, Would Adding An Ultraviolet Lamp Really Make A Difference?
Some consultants are increasingly recommending the use of ultraviolet germicidal irradiation for water filtration systems even in ordinary homes. Commonly used in medical sanitation, UV lamps purify water without the use of chemicals by killing microbes. They are comparatively lower in cost. Maintenance only requires changing the filter cartridge that comes with it from time to time, as well as the annual replacement of the lamp.
Some people choose to use this instead to avoid contaminating their immediate surroundings with chlorine, which is being increasingly regulated by environmental protection agencies everywhere as a waste product. It also does not make the water smell or taste foul, unlike chlorine or using other chemicals to purify water.
An ultraviolet lamp is an option even in point-of-use systems, as you can readily source a lamp specifically for the use of a drinking tap, making it a more feasible solution for those who need to purify their well water on a tight budget. Attaching it to a point-of-use system also allows you to easily regulate the flow of water from the source to the exit point, which will allow you to avoid the con below.
The con to using only a UV lamp is that the well water needs to be strictly regulated. If the flow rate is too high, the water will pass through the lamp without sufficient exposure to UV rays to kill microbes. However, if the flow rate is too low, heat may build up on the system and damage the UV lamp.
Suggested Set-Up For Well Water Filtration At Home
Whole house well water filter systems should ideally integrate a variety of filters based on your well water test results. Here’s a basic breakdown of what should be included in a point-of-entry system based on what’s been mentioned above:
- First, a sediment filter to trap and separate large particles like sand and rust
- A chlorinator if you’re extra concerned about bacterial content
- An activated carbon filter which will then remove the unpleasant taste and smell of chlorine, as well as other organic contaminants in the well water
- A resin filter to regulate water softness
- A reverse osmosis filter to remove salt and other brackishness in the water
Optionally, an ultraviolet lamp will ensure that if there are other microbes which escape your reverse osmosis filter, they will be eliminated by these strong rays—so you may choose to integrate this instead and ditch the other systems. Such a set-up would look something like this:
- First, a sediment filter
- Next, the resin filter to make the water softer
- An ultraviolet lamp
- Finally, a reverse osmosis filter
Yes, perhaps you may think that point-of-use systems are ultimately less fiddly and require less planning to execute in the home—and they usually are, if you’re sourcing water from a tap in an urban area or from a municipal source. But if you’re getting your water from a well, it will save you trouble in the long run to choose whole house filters for well water and deal with only one point of entry to enjoy clean water throughout the entire home.
Based on whole house well water filter systems reviews on ecologist James McMahon’s website, it really may be better to opt for either of the template systems above if you have a high percentage of dissolved solids in your water source. Reverse osmosis in particular is highly recommended as saltwater contamination is a very real problem in coastal areas.
A possible downside of choosing to go with any system that integrates these filters is that because a reverse osmosis process relies on increased pressure, your electricity bill may go up.
Worth the Trouble
All of this is a small price to pay compared to the frustration you’ll face from removing bacteria, unwanted mineral deposits and dangerous substances from hard water or going to the hospital because you drank unsafe water.
Whatever system you choose to integrate in your home, proper storage of the filtered, decontaminated water is necessary, as once the chlorinated water has been degassed or the water is no longer exposed to ultraviolet rays, recontamination is possible if it is not placed in a sanitary environment.
Once you follow these tips, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to integrate a well-made filtration system for your well water.