Seeking treatment advice for well water
I recently purchased a 107-year old home with a well, and have had the water tested but want some advice on what we can use to treat the problems. We have had two people come test the water, but both rep their own specific companies that they try to sell, and we want a more objective opinion or to hear from people with experience with certain products. Thank you in advance for your help!
Filters or Softeners HAGUE SOFTENER
Before or after pressure tank AFTER
Type of filter NONE
Bypass available YES
Water Used For?
House Use YES
Number of baths ONE
Number of People TWO
Iron and sulfer in water
Bacteria: Not Present
Hardness: 8 gpg before softener
1 gpg after softener
Iron: 1 before softener
.5 after softener
There is an existing water softener by Hague but I do not know the age of the unit and not sure if it needs replaced or not. It is treating some of the iron but not all, so we're not sure if it needs replaced or if there is something else we can add to treat the rest of the iron issue. We also need something to treat the sulfur smell. Culligan came out and offered either a sulfur filter for $350 + filters replaced as needed, or their Iron Soft Plus system for $3500 which would replace everything we have and supposedly treat all our issues. We also had Kinetico come out but their solutions were 2-3x the price of the Culligan system, which really isn't in the budget right now. I have found a lot of different systems on-line as well (Hague, PuriTeam, EcoWater, Ecodyne at Lowe's, Aquasana, Aquatell, and US Water Systems) but have no idea how to begin telling what will work and what won't. Just looking for some un-biased advice!
We previously received the following advice:
[INDENT]Before buying anything I'd try a little self-remediation. You may have a fair amount of iron sediment in your system. Fully open the cold, hard water valve just before the water softener and turn off the power to your well pump. When the water stops flowing turn on the pump power for a minute. Repeat this as many times as necessary to flush the sediment from the system (watch out for splashing, this water can be blood red).
Chlorinate the well well. I double up (at least) on the recommended chlorine dose by using 10% pool shock. This helps precipitate the iron and treat the sulfur bacteria.
Cooking the water heater at 160+°F is most important. With it cooking vent the pressure relief and all of the house pipes to flush them as well. When I do this I cook the water heater overnight, making sure it is clean first. In the morning run the furthest hot water faucet full out until the outlet water measures 160°F, then turn it back to little more than a trickle and repeat this for all the remaining hot water faucets in the house. Let them trickle until the outlet water drops to 140°F and turn them off, allowing the water heater to return to 160°F. Do this as many times as necessary until you stop getting discolored water when you first open them full. This works wonders on the sulfur smell!
Now you run the water softener, then the cold water pipes, to flush chlorine through them as well. When you finally flush the chlorine out it's a good idea to run the softener again, this time with Iron Out in the brine tank.
This will undoubtedly work for you... the only question is whether the results will last a year or more, or just a few months.[/INDENT]
We tried the above recommendations, and here is where we currently stand:
We cooked the water heater as recommended, and chlorinated the well. We have not noticed any change in the sulfur smell, but we initially noticed a lot more brown coloring in the water, which was hardly noticeable before attempting treatment (maybe this was due to sediment breakup from the chlorination?). I was running the cold water to clean paint brushes in the sink, and the water was noticeably brown in color, so we then ran the cold water in the tub which was very brown but seemed to lessen as it ran. We turned the cold off and the hot on, which still stunk to high heaven, and then switched back to cold, which came out even darker brown than before, and seemed to lessen as it ran, and after a week we don't seem to have much of a trace of iron in the water (as before) and no longer smell the chlorine. We have also just turned the hot-water baseboard heat back on for the cold weather, and the water stunk coming out of that as well when we were letting the air bubbles out of the system.
We're wondering what to do next... we've heard a lot that the heating element in the hot water tank can be to blame, is it worth considering switching out to a tankless? We have to be in the house in a month and the water issues are the only thing keeping us from moving in, and we're not sure who to call locally for advice who will be able to help (without trying to sell us anything), so any advice you can offer would be extremely helpful, thank you so much!
Re: Seeking treatment advice for well water
If you want a true water test don't get it from a company thats trying to sell you something. Either hire an independant soil and water tester or take the test yourself and take it to the nearest health department that does in house testing. Also if you take the sample make sure you put it on ice as soon as it is taken. A water sample WILL spoil if your not careful when its hot out. (spoils just like a package of bologna left in your car seat)
I have some questions for you.
1) Your well is 107 years old right? So it has steel casing. Has it ever had a plastic liner installed?
2) What kind of water pipe is the pump hooked to in the well? If its galvanized, I suggest switching to pvc.
3) What kind of water pipes go to the house? Is the house plumbed in steel? If so, it won't matter what kind of filters you put on, you won't get rid of the rust. Also, switch to pvc, copper, of pex.
4) Do any of your neighbor's water smell of sulfur. If not, The smell is being introduced into the water after the well.
5) Is your pressure tank a bladder style tank? If it is, how old is it? If its very old (and I mean 7 years or older) Is the bladder still good? If the bladder has a pinhole, It will be leaking internally. When they leak internally the water gets on top of the bladder and becomes stagnated. Then it will leach stagnated water back and forth everytime you use water and this stagnated water is a common cause of water supplies suddenly getting "sulfur smells". Even though when the well was originally drilled there was no sulfur.