4 Tips for Living in A Home With Well Water

When living outside of the bustling urban centers on rural land or in the mountains, it is most likely that your home is attached to a well water system instead of the municipal sewer system. Often it is because the well is easier to tap into than to run a sewer line all the way out into the boonies.

Using a well is actually very common for millions of Americans and has some very tangible benefits

  • Well water is completely safe to drink when properly maintained
  • It is cheaper and easier to tap into a well for homes outside the main urban areas

If you have a home with well water or are considering buying a home on a well here are the top 4 things to pay attention to with this kind of water system.

Get your well water tested annually

It is important to note that the government doesn't require annual testing for well water quality. However, you should test it on a regular basis to protect the health of those in your household. Because wells are underground, they are much more susceptible to contamination from underground contaminants that you don’t want to drink, bathe in, or clean with.

Tests are easy to get and are actually pretty affordable. These tests look for bacteria, nitrates, metals, manganese, water hardness, and sulfides. Most hardware stores have DIY kits that you can buy. Just take a sample of the water from your well and send it to a lab to get tested. The lab will send back the results and guidelines for any fixes that may need to happen. Alternatively, you can hire a professional well tester. The process of collecting a sample and sending it to a lab is the same, but you have peace of mind about working with an experienced professional.

It’s good to test it every year, at least. But if you notice a change in color, taste, or smell, get it tested ASAP, since these are major indicators of changes. Also, if you live in an area prone to floods or large amounts of rain at a time, you may want to test your well water more frequently to make sure that sediment or chemicals aren’t seeping into the well.

Inspect your systems every year, too

It’s great if your well water is safe, but it’s also just as important to get that water pumped into your house safely and effectively. Hiring a professional to inspect your well pump and pump systems is definitely recommended here. Well system replacements can get expensive quickly, especially if a full system replacement is required. They will look for damage or irregularities that could lead to contamination or breakdowns. In addition, they will inspect any purification systems such as UV lights, lasers, or chemical filtration treatments.

Prevent hard water stains

If you live or have lived in a home with hard water, you may be familiar with orange iron stains or mineral water spots on dishes, clothes, sinks, toilets, or drains. While these are not a health concern, they are difficult to remove if they are not dealt with quickly. If your home does not have a water softener, it is recommended to get one, but more on that below. If you don't have a water softener, there are ways to help reduce stains on everyday use items.

  • Regularly clean sinks and toilets to prevent buildup
  • Wipe down showers and tubs after every use
  • Soak your clothes in vinegar before washing
  • Pour a cup of vinegar into the bottom of your dishwasher before running a cycle to help clean and prevent hard water staining.

Overall, having a water softener installed makes it a lot easier to reduce or even eliminate hard water buildup and stains.

Check your water softener

When you hear the term “water hardness”, it is referring to the levels of minerals in the water. Hard water has a high mineral content, while soft water has a low mineral content. Soft water is preferred, but there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with using hard water for cooking, bathing, and washing as long as it doesn't contain heavy metals or toxic minerals. However, hard water has side effects on your home’s hardware. These include:

  • Mineral buildup around faucets and drains in sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets
  • Spots and stains on dishes and glass
  • Slow drains
  • Pipe corrosion
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Texture difference in laundry
  • Increased load on appliances, necessitating more frequent repairs and/or replacement

To combat this, homes with wells use water softeners to neutralize the heavy minerals in hard water. When using water softeners, be sure to monitor the salt levels in the brine tank. If the salt levels get low, they can be added manually whenever necessary.

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