The Basics About
Well Water Filtration Systems
This page is a brief overview on Well Water Filtration Systems, also referred to as a home well water system or water well treatment systems.
Treating well water is a vast subject, one could easily dedicate an entire web site to the subject alone. There's many reasons why well water servicing a home may require water treatment of one kind or another.
Simple Well Water Filtration Systems
Some applications for treating well water are elementary and require little knowledge of complicated water quality issues, the water chemistry analysis for your well may indicate that the raw well water is fine with the exception of maybe some hardness. The grains per gallon of hardness is determined by the amount of Calcium/Magnesium in the water which can cause water staining, scaling etc. We can do a few calculations and will quickly know how hard the water is and the problems to be expected. The hardness of your water may be naturally soft to extremely hard. Most hard water is easy to treat and will likely require a properly sized water softener system containing a high grade of water conditioner resin monitored by a basic electronic control. An electronic valve will offer lots of flexibility with generally many years of good service.
You may reside in an area where everyone has hard water and that's the limit of the water quality issues, even some municipal can have hardness issues with their water casing many residents to use a water softener system. Hard water alone is probably the best problem to have as it's generally quick, easy and relatively inexpensive to resolve.
More Advanced Well Water Filtration Systems....
Unfortunately though it's not always as easy as having a local plumber install a water softener. On Vancouver Island, British Columbia we work with many different types of water quality issues, wells within a few feet of each other can differ considerably quality.
Not only does problem water required excellent water chemistry knowledge but we must also have extensive water treatment design and application experience. As experts we need too able to comprehend many other indicators that may not readily show up on water analysis report and would likely remain unnoticed by an untrained eye.
All of this partly explains why there are so few people qualified to offer water well inspections in many areas as there's often just too much to know and with lot's of potential liability as a result. It would be difficult to go onto a property for sale and make the decisions that may be required when doing an inspection without a good number of years of experience in this field. I have found that having extensive Real Estate experience very important if not necessary to safely represent and purchaser or vendor.
It's also the same with designing Water Well Filtration Systems, a home well water system needs to be designed according your water chemistry analysis, problem well water can be tricky to treat effectively over the long term.
Well Water Filtration Systems Can Be The Problem!
Far to often I have walked into a basement or pump-house full water treatment equipment that was poorly installed to say the least... I'll tell you, I often can't believe what I'm looking at! The home owner acts as proud as a new father when he presents the water system to me and announces that he paid $10,000, 7 years ago!
To me the water system just looks like an overpriced mess, sometimes overgrown with cobwebs and covered in rat droppings, I may not be easily convinced that the treatment system is working effectively. Remember to never allow final invoices of Well Water Treatment Systems to fool you.
Many well water filtration systems have not seen much maintenance for quite a few years, actually sometimes since the water treatment system was installed to be accurate. Home well water systems are like anything else they require servicing from time to time. Perhaps the homeowner was not informed or the person that installed the system has never contacted the owner again, sometimes people just don't want to spend the money on servicing... whatever the reason the system can be in a terrible state of repair or completely fouled-up.The water treatment system may have been just inadequate from the time of installation and deteriorated over time and and sometimes quickly. Often homeowners continue to call their installer soon after the installation... but eventually they just gave up because they couldn't get anyone to show up or ever return a call.
Sometimes It's Best To Start Over...
There may be little you can do to improve poorly designed Well Water Filtration Systems, sometimes I can easily improve the situation with little expense other times I may suggest that the homeowner really needs to start over with a new system.
Home purchasers are often sold on the fact that there is perhaps a 5-10 year old home water filter system installed so they naturally assume that their water quality is going to be great. Boy can they ever get a surprise especially if they've just moved from a water source of good quality!
Remember it's assumptions that will get you into trouble when you are buying or selling Real Estate... don't assume anything.
Not having the home water filter system inspected along with the well and pressure system can be a costly mistake, it's usually worth every penny that a good inspection will cost.
Fouled Well Water Filtration Systems Are Not Healthy!
If a home water filter system never performed very well when it was newly installed then over a period of time it can get pretty filthy and can actually make the treated water much worse than the untreated raw water directly from the well. I've seen some systems so fouled that I'll decide to put the treatment system into the by-pass mode... I'll call the homeowner a few days later, often to hear that their water quality has improved since my last visit... they may even say they feel their water treatment system is working much better. I explain that I've done nothing more than by-pass their home water filter system so that they're now running straight off their well without any treatment at all. Well water treatment systems can also cause a water bacteria sample to be reported as contaminated as the systems are often the perfect breeding ground for a contamination issue, we can really end up with some very high Standard Plate Count (filthy, slimy water is another name for that one)... it may not be the well at all but a contaminated home water treatment system.
Not All Well Water Filtration Systems Are
Built To The Same Quality... Far From It!
Most plumbers purchase their supplies from local plumbing wholesalers. Plumbing wholesalers usually offer standard mass produced well water filtration systems, many plumbers do install water treatment equipment. Generally though it will be basic generic equipment (not customized for your water, basic manual controls, and will likely contain inexpensive media... the stuff that actually treats the water. Plumbing wholesalers need to move a lot of this equipment in large volume to make it worthwhile as that's what a wholesaler does... the higher their volume the less they pay to the manufacturer as they purchase such a large supply. Wholesalers also like to keep things very simple, they don't want to become overwhelmed with technical issues and especially water treatment questions. They're not in the business of educating plumbers in water treatment and groundwater technology. Well water filtration systems should never be treated like they are basic hot water tank installations.... it's far more complicated.Most water treatment specialists don't purchase water treatment equipment from plumbing wholesalers, we work with completely different types of suppliers who are also specialists in the water treatment industry and it's their business to service treatment specialists.
Plumbing and water well filtration systems are two very different industries, if you have problem water you may want to call a well known water treatment specialist in your area not your friend who has been a plumber for the last 20 years. There are exceptions but generally this is a good rule of thumb.
Do A Little Homework Up Front....
If you're going to do business with someone regarding water well filtration systems ask for a few good references and call them on the telephone, most people will rave about good work and service, they'll be happy to help you either way. Your home well water system is an investment in your home - you definitely want it done properly the first time... don't become someone's water treatment experiment. Speak with a few people within the industry, you'll know when you meet someone who really understands what they're doing they'll generally be miles ahead in knowledge.
As a specialist with many clients I'm very specific about having everything done properly, my groundwater services usually run with the property for many years... if the home sells I'll then service the new homeowner and teach them how to take care of their home well water system. I feel that if the job is done right and maintained then most Well Water Filtration Systems will operate beautifully for a lot of years with little grief to the homeowner. Service calls are sometimes required as they're part of the business and things do break, we can certainly have a problem once in awhile with a new installation too... I may have a little extra tweaking to do and need to make an extra trip or two but fundamentally my systems are designed to work, that's what important.
Well Water Treatment Systems that are not well designed or correctly installed are very costly and time consuming which is fine if the water treatment professional warranties it. If the home water filter system is not warrantied against defect for at least a year (problems will usually show up during the first few months) you may not be a happy homeowner, the system might not work to well but you may end up with a few empty promises and $200.00 service invoices on an ongoing basis. Ask about warranties as you don't want to be nickeled and dimed to death with senseless service calls. Asking the all right questions now and getting a little education is really important, look for someone that truly knows what they are doing.
The intention of this site is not to offer legal advice but general information based on my 15 years of experience working in the field. If you have any questions please feel free to Email Colleen