City Girl in the country with a well...

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by luvnaz, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC
    Hi,

    I've been browsing this very informative forum since I started getting a lot of iron drawn up from our well. This is the first well my fiance and I have owned. We moved in a month ago and the water was clear and only made my white clothes a little dingy so I started using Oxiclean and Borax.

    Then on Friday 10/30/09 water coming from the taps was very very red. After some reading and advice from a friend I hooked up a hose to the well pressure tank and ran the iron out all weekend (there is no hookup for a hose at the well cover itself or I would have connected it there). I also flushed my hot water tank several times before that.

    Now the water still has some color, but it isn't as bad as it was ;)

    I had a really nice well repair man come out Monday and take a sample and check out my system. He said the mechanics of the well are fine. :D

    Yesterday he gave me the results of the water test.

    1ppm iron (he thought it would be more considering how colorful the water was!)

    5 hardness (he suggested a water softener)

    6.7 PH (which is acceptable I suppose)

    We have a GE Watersmart whole house water filter connected after the well pressure tank before it goes into the house. We have another connected to the water heater. The one after the well pressure tank has never worked since we moved in a month ago so we've had to bypass it.

    He suggested chlorinating and disinfecting the plumbing (as did my realtor) with pool grade chlorine. He suggested a water softener and greensand filter (which we can't afford right now!).

    We are thinking of replacing the broken GE Watersmart connected after the well pressure tank with a new one and a new filter for the filter at the water heater. And our water/ice dispenser has a PUR filter built into the new refrigerator.

    The previous owners seemed to do OK with this. My neighbor said her water was colored this weekend too. So she changed her filter and it is fine now.

    Does anyone have any other advice for us based on the water test we had done?

    Thanks in advance! Mary
  2. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Your water is slightly acidic and over time will damage metal components of the plumbing system, including copper pipe. Unless you have a totally plastic piping system I would strongly suggest that you treat the water to neutralize the acid. A backwashing calcite filter (acid neutralizing (AN) filter) can be purchased on the internet for $450 to $700 depending on the size (flow capacity). An AN filter, if installed, will also remove virtually all of the oxidized iron (the iron which is red when it comes out of the tap) in your water and may be all you would need for the iron problem. If you still have an iron problem after removing the oxidized iron then you probably also have dissolved iron that a quality softener would remove if installed after the AN filter.

    AN filters do raise the hardness a bit--given your mildly acidic water your hardness would probably increase 1-2 grains. Softeners are typically installed when an AN filter is installed. Softeners are also availble from internet suppliers and cost about the same as AN filters.
  3. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Since the neighbor had the same problem, at the same time, something could have caused that like blasting etc. in the area.

    You can not filter dissolved (ferrous) iron with the filters you have, ferrous iron will go right through the filters like sugar dissolved in water would.

    You and the neighbor could have had a rust build up in the plumbing from the pump or foot valve in the well break loose going to the fixtures in the house.

    Or you both could have IRB and some broke loose but, that usually is a slug of dirty water and it quits soon.

    Do you have any clear to black slime at and/or under the water line in toilet tanks?

    Is there ever an odor in the water? If so, hot only, both hot and cold or cold only?

    As Bob says you could use an AN filter but your water isn't very acidic. Or you could use a softener only if you don't have enough IRB to cause one a problem. I would suggest one with a Clack WS-1 control valve.
  4. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC
    Hi, thanks for your replies and advice.

    No, there is no black slime in the toliet tanks and no odor. Just the red discoloration.

    My neighbor and I have seperate wells, but I'm sure they go to the same spring or water source. It has been raining a little so perhaps that is what caused the increase in iron in the water.

    My first thought was that some chunk of iron fell in because when the red water started it was A LOT!! Then I hooked up the hose to the well pressure tank and ran it all weekend for about 12 hours or more. But I know it is coating the inside of my pipes (all plastic) so I want to clorinate them like the well repair man said to do.

    So a AN filter would be the way to take the iron out?

    Will the iron stain our teeth? It's staining our white clothes pretty bad and I don't know what to use to get that out either! The Oxiclean is not working.

    Thank you, Mary
  5. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Any oxidized iron in your water--the red that you see immediately when you run water from the faucet--can be mechanically filtered. An AN filter is sand sized chips of calcium carbonate that will do a pretty good job of mechanically filtering the oxidized iron while also raising the pH of your water so that it is not acidic. From your answer about slime and odor you apparently don't have iron reducing bacteria (not harmful but aesthetically not desirable). You may also have "clear water iron". This is dissolved iron and a mechanical filter won't remove it but a softener will. A softener will also do some mechanical filtering but they are not usually recommended to be used for that purpose and given the quantities of iron you report it could well be desirable to specially equip a softener if it were to be used alone in your circumstances. Gary is much more experienced that I and also sells softeners. I defer to his judgement whether a softner alone would be appropriate for your situation.

    As to the discoloration on clothes "IRON OUT" will probably remove the discoloration. It is also called "Super Iron Out" and is typically available in hardware stores (Lowe's/Home Depot) and Walmart. It can also be used to clean iron stained plumbing fixtures.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Mary, are you sure there is no clear slime at and/or below the water line in the toilet tanks? You have to look AND feel for it in all toilets with a finger tip and then the palm of a hand below the water line after flushing before the water comes up again. It can be any color from clear to black, orange/reddish/brown is very common. You're looking for any slimy, snotty, slippery stuff.

    There's never been an odor to the water right?
  7. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    How deep is the well?
  8. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC
    No odor what so ever. And there is no slime, I just double checked it. No black, clear, red slime or snot stuff just red iron stuff. Today the water is pretty clear actually :)
  9. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC
    It's 125 ft deep and the pump is pulling 25 gpm so the tag says. We have great water pressure. Could even be too good!
  10. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC
    Thanks I'll get some Super Iron Out. Looked for it at Walmart, they didn't have it. I'll look at Lowe's or Home Depot next.

    When we moved in I bleached the toilets and sinks and used a pumice stone and lots and lots of elbow grease!

    Does iron stain the teeth? I've spent hundreds bleaching my teeth so far and don't want to spend more!
  11. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    I've never heard of iron causing teeth a problem but you could swallow fast.

    Iron Out etc. is usually found in the detergent department.
  12. Bob999

    Bob999 In the Trades

    Messages:
    448
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Stores in different areas stock things differently. In our area Iron out is carried in the hardware/plumbing area of Walmart. In Lowes and Home Depot it is carried with cleaning supplies.
  13. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Is your well casing above ground....
  14. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC
    Yes, the well casing is above ground.
  15. H2o

    H2o Previous member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    America
    You may have clear water iron and the holding tank could be the cause of the discolored water. Iron can build up in holding tanks and dump the build up as the system cycles. You can check this by running a hose off the tank, wait till the pump turns on, kink the end of the hose for the 30 seconds, and then un kink it. If you notice the water getting discolored after taking the kink out, then there is a lot of iron built up in the tank. To get rid of it keep cycling the system with the garden hose. I do it a lot on the systems i service and the water eventualy clears.

    As far as water treatment i would go with an acid neutralizer and a water softener. The ph level can fluctuate through out the year and the calcite is an excellent filter media. The softener will give you nice soft water and will strip out any iron or manganese in the water as well.

    Try to find someone in your area that is WQA Certified! Hiring one means that you are getting professional advice and being local means prompt service. Check the WQA website for someone certified in your area.

    http://www.wqa.org/members.cfm?custom_crumb=1&title=Find a Water Professional

    Good Luck,

    H2o
  16. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Or, on the other hand, you can buy online and install it yourself or hire a plumber for a few hundred to do it with your substantial savings; in some cases $2000 or more for the same thing, and it may be better quality.

    I suggest equipment with a Clack WS-1 control valve on both the filter and softener.

    The Clack WS-1 is industry standard, nonproprietary off the shelf stock equipment that you can get service and parts for from local or online dealers.

    It is the easiest and fastest to repair with the lowest priced parts and anyone with a pair of Channel Lock type pliers and a small common screw driver can replace all of its 5 replaceable parts and have their water back on in 30 minutes or less. Even if they have never done anything like that in their life before.

    So decide if you want to be dependent on a local dealer or if you want to be a totally independent DIYer.
  17. luvnaz

    luvnaz New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Timberlake, NC

    Thank you for the advice. I think this is the way to go and will have to do some shopping!

    Thanks to everyone for all your help and advice! :D

    Mary
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