Where Should the Whole House Filter Go?

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog' started by ddmoit, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. ddmoit

    ddmoit New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    SE Tennessee
    Great forum guys!

    I have a private well with a jet pump and a pressure tank. I would like to install a whole house filter to eliminate some iron sediment. Overall, the water quality seems fine. It's drinkable without a filter, but I use an undersink filter for drinking water anyway. My issue is with rust colored sediment. It's usually invisible, except when I have the main valve shut off for plumbing work. When I turn the water back on, I get orange water for about a minute. Then it clears up. I know there is always a little rust in the water because it starts to show in the plastic soap dispenser of our washing machine.

    Where should I install the filter. My thought is to put it between the pump and the pressure tank. Comments? Suggestions?

    - Dan
  2. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Ddmoit,
    you never want to put any kind of filter between the pump and the tank. It needs to be installed on the discharge of the tank.

    SAM
  3. ddmoit

    ddmoit New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    SE Tennessee
    Thanks Sam. I'm glad I asked. My thought was that I would like to protect my tank from the sediment as well. I guess I can't.
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Sammyhydro11, tell us why it shouldn't go between the pump and tank.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,843
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    filter

    One reason is because the pump switch is on the tank, so if the filter gets restricted, the water will be delay between the pump and the tank, increasing the pressure on the feed pipe and the filter. In the worst case the filter would stop the flow and then the pump would run constantly at its maximum pressure, but the house would not have any water. In any case the filter will introduce a restriction and cause the pump to operate at a higher pressure.
  6. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Why would want to put anything in front of that pump that is going to restrict the flow.

    SAM
  7. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    You may disagree, but in my opinion those so called "Whole House Filters" are a joke. First of all, it will not remove your iron even though it will probably turn gold. And all you will be doing is making the manufacturer of those cartridges very wealthy.

    If you need to remove iron, you need and iron filter. A water softener will remove most of the iron in most cases, but I prefer to let an iron filter do the iron removal and the softener do what it was designed to do. Soften water. A real iron filter will stand about 4.5' tall and be at least 9" in diameter along with a potassium feeder along side. In order to remove clear water iron, you must first oxidize it. This process will not take place in the WHF.

    bob...
  8. sammyhydro11

    sammyhydro11 Previous member

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I agree with speedbump. You need a cation exchange reisn to properly remove that iron depending on what type of iron you have and the amount in the water. A whole house filter will do nothing but trap that iron. Eventualy it will get to a point where it will start to break through at higher iron level than what it entered in at. Any pro will tell you to get a full water analysis before recommending any type of treatment method. That's what you need to do first.

    SAM
  9. ddmoit

    ddmoit New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    SE Tennessee
    Thanks for all the info, guys. I didn't even know there were special filters for iron. I think I need to have a pro have a look at my system. I don't think my water is particularly high in iron, but I do think that I may have some galvanized pipe that's flaking the stuff off. I may just have to suck it up and have the pipes replaced - or switch to city water.
  10. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    It's a good idea to call a pro. Galvanized pipe don't rust and the rust off a black iron pipe wouldn't be enough for you to notice. You have iron in your water.

    bob...
  11. ddmoit

    ddmoit New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    SE Tennessee
    I know galvanized pipe is not supposed to rust, but my pipe has been there for over 40 years (house built in 1961 - I've owned it for less than a year.) Beyond the pressure tank, everything is copper.

    I replaced my pressure tank about 3 months ago.

    I still don't understand why I get a burst of iron whenever I turn the water off at the pressure tank outlet to service my plumbing.
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    The galvanized coating is long gone and the pipe is rusting. That is why your seeing the burst of rust.
  13. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    When you service a system you usually get a high velocity flow, either when you drain the pressure to zero, or when you start it up. That shakes loose a little of the rust in the system. Also, mechanical disturbance of the pipe will shake some loose. When you start up the system again, that loose rust is seen in the water.

    You probably have very low iron if you don't have a problem in normal use. Don't mess with a special filter until you get a complete water test, preferably from someone who isn't trying to sell you a treatment system.
  14. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    My wife and I live 60-or-so miles southeast of you, and we have the same kind of problem you are asking about. Our water is fine to drink straight from the well, yet we do prefer not having to deal with the stains it can leave ... and in our case, we cannot afford an iron filter.

    For a variety of reasons (including wanting filtered water in the house pressure tank), what I have done is to install two pressure tanks. Our pressure switch is between the pump and the first tank, then our filters are between the two tanks, and we have a check valve between the filters and the second tank so the house always has at least one tankful of water pressure no matter what might be going on with the pump or filters (such as when we are changing either or both filters).

    pump - switch - tank1 - valve - 2filters - checkvalve - tank2 - watersoftener - house

    Using standard 10" and relatively inexpensive (string or yarn) cartridges (no carbon block necessary, as we are not dealing with chlorine), we have a 5 micron cartridge in our first filter housing and a .5 (1/2) micron cartridge in the second. We do use the "rust remover" salt in our softener, I do understand an iron filter would be better, and we do still occasionally have a slight sulfur odor. But, we now get no more turbidity (sediment) or staining, and that is just what we wanted!
  15. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Pressure tanks do not need protection from dirty water or invisible dirt in water. Or iron, H2S or manganese etc..

    Drain and flush them once a year when you check the precharge air pressure to be 1-2 psi less than the cut-in setting and your tank will last much longer than not.

    Disposable cartridge filters were never meant to be used on a "whole house" basis; only point of use at an appliance like in a restaurant etc.. The best naked eyes can not see particles less than 50-45 microns and most people use 5 and less micron cartridges! So why filter out such fine particles that no one can see? Then they plug up much easier and cause pressure losses that kill softener resin. Then the water heater suffers hardness scale formation and eventual premature failure but in the mean time the hair, skin and laundry she who you love and admire and must obey suffer and SHE has had it with YOU son...

    Also, soluble iron, manganese etc. (like sugar in iced tea - a soluble), go right through them to continue to cause staining and other problems.

    You should get a water analysis and then a correctly sized softener that can handle your amount of iron and manganese if any, or a separate iron filter (both should use a Clack WS-1 control valve). I don't like manganese greensand (sorry Bob) due to the need for potassium permanganate. I use a specially built softener on up to 5 ppm of iron and have been for the past 20 years with great success.
  16. ddmoit

    ddmoit New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    SE Tennessee
    I'm told that my well is 88' deep. I assume that the whole length is galvanized pipe that is 40+ years old.

    Would anyone care to make a (big) ball park estimate of what it might cost me to have the well re-piped? I'm 3/4 of a mile from Lake Michigan, and my soil is sandy for probably most of that 88'.
  17. vaplumber

    vaplumber Guest

    You dont want any thing between the pump and the tank. First your adding a restriction. No filter will flow what the pump can produce. Second if the filter starts to clog, then you got trouble. Add the filter after the tank. On one hand I agree with all about treatment, and forget the filter, on the other hand, Ive seen some simple filters make a big improvement.
  18. ddmoit

    ddmoit New Member

    Messages:
    52
    Location:
    SE Tennessee
    Thanks, vaplumber.

    I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I will definitely not be putting a filter between the pump and the pressure tank based on the feedback from this board.

    I'm just about convinced that I have rusting galvanized pipes. I'm not sure what to do about it. For under $1,500, I can hook up to city water and abandon the well. I kind of like being "off the grid" so to speak though. I'd prefer to keep this well going if I can. I believe the water quality and quantity are good. My means of getting it is the problem.
  19. speedbump

    speedbump Previous member

    Messages:
    4,540
    Location:
    Riverview, Fl.
    You must be somewhere near Silver Lake Dunes. My old Dune Buggy stomping grounds.

    I doubt you will find anyone to work on that old well as far as repiping. You will need to get a new well drilled. I don't know what they are charging there these days. I moved from Michigan 25 years ago.

    No problem Gary, I just know what works here and for some reason softeners with the iron removal goodies won't take out all the iron here. I have no idea why, but believe me I have tried to use just softners for hardness and iron and had nothing but complaints, from the wife too when I experimented with her blonde hair.

    bob...
  20. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    Wow man... I hate to disagree with you on that... The galvanized coating only slows down the rust. I've pulled out lots and lots of pipe over 20-30 years old that were nothing but rust with very little galvanizing left on them. For me... I'd never put metal pipe in the ground unless specified by the customer.
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