By Rehan Iqbal
If you’re setting up a well water treatment system, you have a lot to consider. Unlike municipal water, it’s up to you to make sure your water is safe to drink. Contamination problems are different from well to well, and there’s often more than one solution for each problem. We’re here to answer your questions, and help you find the best water treatment options for your home.
Top Rated Well Water Softeners
- 1Water Filter & Pelican Water Softener Alternative Combo System - Salt Free
- 2SoftPro® Elite Salt-Free Water Softener / Saltless - No Salt Conditioner
- 3Springwell Well Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener Combo
- 4FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener
- 5Rhino® Well Water with UV - Salt Free
- 6Fleck 5600 Econominder Mechanically Metered Water Softener - Salt Based
- 7SpringWell Well Water Filter and Water Softener - Salt Based
- 8Matrixx Whole House Iron & Sulfur Eradication and Softening Combo - Salt Based
- 9Crystal Quest Whole House Water Softener System - Salt Based
Here’s everything you need to know about setting up a home filtration system. We cover choosing a softener for well water, adding components to make a complete water filtration system, and avoiding common problems, like salt bridges, scale buildup and bad tasting water. We’ve also looked at water softener reviews and specifications to compile a list of the best options for complete well water treatment systems.
The Best Water Treatment Options
We think these 9 water treatment packages offer the best value, reliability and performance. They cover a wide range of use cases, from low cost softening to complex systems that can deal with the most polluted water.
1. Water Filter & Pelican Water Softener Alternative Combo System - Salt Free
With the ability to soften water with a hardness as high as 75 GPG, this Pelican water softener lets you get the convenience of a salt-free system while dealing with water that normally requires an ion exchange system. Together with the included carbon filter, this system has most of what you need to deal with well water sanitation.
Pentair packages this system with a sediment pre-filter, a carbon filter and a salt-free water softener. The softener comes in two sizes. The PSE1800-P is made for homes with one to three bathrooms. It has an 8 GPM rated service rate and a one inch inlet. The PSE2000-P is sized for 4 to 6 bathroom homes. It has a 12 GPM service flow rate and a one inch inlet.
The sediment prefilter removes particles as small as 5 microns. From there, the water passes through the carbon filter to remove chemical contaminates. Finally, the water passes through the softener, which is designed to handle a maximum hardness of 75 GPG or 1,282 PPM.
This system is compatible with water with a pH between 7 and 11. Iron, manganese, sulfur and tannins should be removed before water reaches the fitter.
The prefilter cartridge should be replaced every 6-9 months. The carbon filter needs to be replaced every 5 years, or after filtering 650,885 gallons (PSE1800-P) or 1,301,770 gallons (PSE2000-P.) The carbon filter has to be pre-soaked for 72 hours before installation. Water may appear gray until the excess carbon is flushed out.
The warranty on the carbon filters is the same as their recommended replacement intervals. Tanks, valves and electronics are covered for 5 years, while everything else is covered for one year.
2. SoftPro® Elite Salt-Free Water Softener / Saltless - No Salt Conditioner
If your water is high in heavy metals, you should take a look at SoftPro’s salt-free conditioner systems. They’re one of the few options on the market to offer metal-filtering sponges, which require less maintenance than catalytic carbon filters. This water softener has a tank filled with 5 liters of 10% cross linked resin.
It supports a maximum flow rate of 12 GPM, and uses ¾ inch fittings. This conditioner only works with water with a hardness up to 17 GPG. SoftPro also includes a neoprene jacket for the resin tank. This absorbs condensation water and lets it evaporate before it has a chance to puddle on the floor.
One problem people encounter when switching from an ion exchange water softener to a salt free system is the lack of heavy metal filtering. SoftPro offers the option of fitting this kit with a KDF-55 filter. Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) media reacts with chlorine, heavy metals and bacteria, deactivating them. Keep in mind that it doesn’t work on other pathogens.
You’ll also want to add the UV light filter, if you have a problem with microbes. Reverse osmosis and catalytic carbon filters are also available. If you order the catalytic carbon filter, the standard 5 micron carbon filter will be replaced by a sediment filter. SoftPro also offers flexible quick disconnect hoses, so you don’t need to build hard lines to the inlet and outlet.
The expected service life of this water conditioner is 6 years. There is no warranty on the media. However, there is a limited lifetime warranty on the valve and the tanks.
3. Springwell Well Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener Combo
Want the convenience of a salt free water softener and need to remove iron? This SpringWell filter package has everything you need.
Springwell offers this system with the same tanks as their FutureSoft package. The FS1 has a tank that measures 6 x 35 inches, and has a service flow rate of 12 GPM, making it suitable for homes with one to three bathrooms. The FS4 is 9 x 48 inches, has a flow rate of 15 GPM, so it can keep up with 4 to 6 bathrooms.
If you have more bathrooms, choose the FS+. It measures 13 x 54 inches, and has a 20 GPM flow rate. The head adds four inches of height to these filter tanks. These filters can handle water with a hardness up to 81 GPG. The head is Bluetooth compatible, letting you make adjustments to your treatment system from your phone.
These water softeners come with an iron filter. This filter uses an air bubble to oxidize iron, sulfur and manganese. These contaminates are trapped in a sand bed, which is backwashed automatically. The WS1 filter has a flow rate of 12 GPM, and can handle up to four bathrooms. If you need more capacity, get the WS4. It has a flow rate of 20 GPM.
You can package your Springwell iron filter and water softener combo with a UV water purifier and a reverse osmosis filter system. They don’t offer a quick disconnect kit, but they do have videos and installation instructions, if you want to install the system yourself.
Tanks are covered with a 10 year warranty, while electronic heads are guaranteed for 7 years.
4. FutureSoft® Salt-Free Water Softener
SpringWell’s FutureSoft is pushing the limits of salt free technology with a tank that can handle water with a hardness up to 81 GPG. That capacity is available in a range of tank sizes that work with any home, big or small.
Futuresoft offers four sizes of water softener systems. The FS1 has a tank that measures 6 x 35 inches, and has a service flow rate of 12 GPM. It’s suited to homes with one to three bathrooms.
The FS4 is 9 x 48 inches, has a flow rate of 15 GPM, and is recommended for homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms. The FS+ measures 13 x 54 inches, has a 20 GPM flow rate, and is intended for homes with 7 or more bathrooms. The head adds four inches of height to these filter tanks. The company recommends pairing their system with an iron filter, if you’re using it to filter well water.
The FS4 is 9 x 48 inches, has a flow rate of 15 GPM, and is recommended for homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms. The FS+ measures 13 x 54 inches, has a 20 GPM flow rate, and is intended for homes with 7 or more bathrooms. The head adds four inches of height to these filter tanks. The company recommends pairing their system with an iron filter, if you’re using it to filter well water.
The water softener kit comes with a 5 micron sediment filter cartridge that lasts between 6 and 9 months. The optional easy installation kit includes flexible hoses with Clack connectors. This lets you connect the softener to your plumbing without needing pipe and joints, simplifying installation. This water softener can be packaged with a UV filter, reverse osmosis filter and a whole house carbon filter. This lets you order a single system that can deal with pathogens and heavy metals.
SpringWell offers a lifetime warranty on tanks and valves, and a 10 year warranty on retention tanks and mineral tanks. The system also has a 6 month money back guarantee, but shipping charges aren’t refundable, and SpringWell may charge a 25% restocking fee.
5. Rhino® Well Water with UV
Why does the Rhino well water system look different from other well water treatment solutions? Instead of using single tanks, Rhino uses an upflow-based filtering system. Water is forced up through the top tank then down into the bottom tank before exiting. They say this design increases contact time and reduces channeling, improving the filter’s performance over its lifetime.
The standard Rhino system is just the carbon filter. This can be combined with a conditioner, UV filter, or both together. A sediment filter comes standard on all versions of this water treatment system. Both the water conditioner and the activated carbon filter use upflow tanks, while the rest of the system uses standard downflow designs. Maximum flow rate is just 7 GPM, so this system won’t work for large homes.
The Pro-Grade installation kit uses better components than the stock installation pieces, and it includes a bypass loop for easier maintenance.
Aquasana says the Rhino owners can expect the conditioner to last for 500,000 gallons or 5 years, while the carbon filter will last 6 years, and the UV bulbs will last one year. This filter system is covered by a 90 day return policy. If you decide to return your Rhino water treatment system, you have to pay for shipping. The installation kit is covered for one year, while the rest of the filter system is guaranteed for 500,000 gallons or 5 years.
6. Fleck 5600 Econominder Mechanically Metered Water Softener
The 5600 Ecominder isn’t the most advanced water softener out there, but that’s the point. This salt-based softener uses proven technology, so the price is low, and its reliability is well documented.
Fleck makes several versions of this softener with grain capacities between 24,000 and 64,000. All 5 tank sizes are available with ¾ or 1 inch connections.
This lets you buy just enough capacity to handle your water quality and usage. The largest tank can handle a hardness of 31-40 GPG in a 3-4 person household, and has a 20 GPM service flow rate. While you probably aren’t thinking of interior decorating when you buy a water treatment system, Fleck does let you choose between white, black and blue tanks.
The tank meter is flow-based, so it regenerates based on water used. However, it has no digital control. While it lacks flexibility, this is an inexpensive, proven design. It also means this system doesn’t require electricity, making installation easier while ensuring regular operation, even after a power outage. The softener tank comes with 8% cross linked resin, which requires more frequent recharges than the best performing 10% resin systems. This softener can be packaged with a catalytic carbon filter and a reverse osmosis filter.
The quick disconnect kit uses flexible hoses, so you don’t need to build a pipe system to connect to your main water line. However, this kit isn’t compatible with PVC pipes.
The 5000 has a 5 year warranty on the control valve, and a 10 year warranty on the tanks.
7. SpringWell Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener
Do you need an iron filter, and prefer the filtering abilities of an ion exchange water softener? The Springwell well water filter and salt based water softener package has the same options as their salt free system, but with a true water softener.
Springwell offers this ion exchange system in two sizes. The SS1 is their 1-3 bathroom model. It comes with a 9 x 48 inch tank and has a flow rate of 11 GPM. The SS4 is their 4-6 bathroom model. It uses a 10 x 54 inch tank and has a service flow rate of 13 GPM. Both models come with an 18 x 33 inch round brine tank.
The control head adds another 11 inches to the height of the tank. It has a programmable controller with Bluetooth, so you can make adjustments from your phone using an app.
The iron filter uses an air bubble to oxidize iron, sulfur and manganese. These contaminates are trapped in a sand bed, which is backwashed automatically. The filter is offered in two tank sizes. The WS1 has a flow rate of 12 GPM, and can handle up to four bathrooms. The WS4 has a flow rate of 20 GPM, so it can handle the largest homes. The company says this filter shouldn’t be used with water that has biological contaminates. Springwell offers this filter system with optional UV filters and reverse osmosis purifiers.
While you’ll get most of what you need for installation, you need to provide your own pipe and hoses for the inlet and outlet connections. SpringWell offers videos and instructions for installation, if you want to do it yourself.
The product warranty covers the tanks for 10 years, and the controller for 7 years.
8. Matrixx Whole House Iron & Sulfur Eradication and Softening Combo For Well Water - Salt Based
This Matrixx water treatment package is the most complete system we’ve found. It includes several filters, creating an all-in-one solution that treats iron, hard water minerals and chemical contaminates. For most wells, this is everything you need to have clean, safe water.
This starts with a peroxide injection system that oxidizes iron, forcing it out of suspension. From there, the water passes through the inFusion catalytic carbon filter to remove contaminates. Next, particles are removed by a 5 micron sediment filter, and the water enters the softener.
This water softener uses ion exchange, and comes with a 240 lb. brine tank. The valve controller works with an app, letting you program it from your phone or tablet using a Bluetooth connection. The tank uses the company’s Vortech design, which forces water to spin through the filter instead of flowing straight down. This increases water/media contact, reducing water pressure loss and salt usage. The tank uses 10% cross-linked resin, which further improves softener efficiency.
A UV filter is available, if you need to kill bacteria and other pathogens. There are only two things missing from this system. You may want to add a spin down sediment filter to remove large particles before they can clog up the rest of the system. Matrixx also doesn’t offer a reverse osmosis filter option.
This kit is available in versions rated for 10, 15 and 20 GPM. Matrixx guarantees the valves and electronics for 10 years, while the tanks come with a lifetime warranty.
9. Crystal Quest Whole House Water Softener System- Salt Based
Looking for something a little more sophisticated than the Fleck 5600 Ecominder water softener? This Crystal Quest system is a great starting point for building your system, thanks to a range of tank sizes and an electronic metered controller. This system comes with a 20 inch sediment cartridge filter, an ion exchange tank, a brine tank and a 20 inch solid carbon filter. It uses a Fleck 5600SXT automatic backwash controller.
This metered, programmable controller lets you set your desired recharge time, running it as needed based on water usage. The controller has a battery backup that lasts two days, and uses non-volatile memory that saves your settings, even if you have an extended blackout.
Crystal Quest makes these whole house water softeners in three sizes. The one cubic foot tank can process up to 9 GPM, the 1.5 cubic foot tank handles up to 11 GPM, and the 2 cubic foot model can handle 11 to 13 GPM. The CQ WSR 1000 resin used in the tank works with water that has a pH between 6 and 10, which is a wider range than most competing systems.
The Crystal Quest whole house softener system is available with ¾ and one inch connections. No matter which connectors you pick, the internal valves are one inch in diameter. The tank comes with a 10 year warranty, while the valve controller is covered for 5 years.
Questions About Well Water Treatment System
Can’t I Just Filter Out Contaminates?
No. The finest sediment filters strain out particles as small as one micron. Microbes, minerals and chemicals are smaller than a micron, so they have no problem passing through these filters. Other methods must be used to remove them from your water. That means using oxidation and softeners for well water minerals, carbon filters for sub-micron particles, and UV or oxidizers for pathogens.
Why is the Percentage of Crosslinks Important in Water Softeners?
The most common type of media used in salt-based softeners is styrene crosslinked with divinyl benzene (S/DVB.) The S/DVB ties the styrene molecules together. As the water softener is used, these links break, and the styrene washes away. This lowers the capacity of the water softener, requiring more frequent recharges. The more crosslinks there are, the longer the resin will last. Going from a 7% crosslinked resin to a 10% crosslinked resin increases capacity by about 15%. In two tanks with equal amounts of resin, the 10% resin tank will last longer. Alternatively, you can run a smaller tank with 10% resin and get the same performance as a large 7% tank.
Keep in mind that the service flow rate is the most important factor when choosing a water softener. If the softener can’t process water fast enough, you will end up with hard water, no matter what’s in the tank.
What Does It Mean When a Water Softener is IAPMO Certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 44?
NSF/ANSI Standard 44 is a performance standard for salt-based water softeners. To meet this standard, water softeners for well water have to meet the following criteria:
Standard 44 also has two optional testing criteria:
IAPMO stands for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. This group of inspectors works on the universal codes used to ensure safety in plumbing equipment. That means a softener that is IAPMO Certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 44 meets the minimum requirements established for residential plumbing equipment. In other words, you don’t want to buy an ion exchange softener without this certification.
What are Grains?
A grain is a unit that measures the hard water mineral content in your water. Most well water filtration systems rate their capacity in grains per gallon, but your water test will probably list hardness in mg/L. One grain of hardness per gallon is equal to 17.1 mg/L.
How Do I Find My Home’s Water Flow Rate?
Filter equipment can largely be divided into standard homes, which have two to four people, and large homes, which have 5 or more people. However, to get a more accurate picture of your water usage, you need to match the rated flow rate of the equipment to the water outlets in your home. This flow rate is stated in Gallons Per Minute (GPM.) Here’s the average flow rate of common faucets and appliances.
Kitchen faucet: 2 to 3 GPM
Shower: 1.5 to 3 GPM
Dishwasher: 2 to 4 GPM
Washing machine: 3 to 5 GPM
Bathtub: 4 to 8 GPM
Sprinkler heads: 2 to 2.5 GPM each
Keep in mind that it’s unlikely that you will have all of your taps and appliances running at the same time. You’re also limited by the size of the pipes in your home. A ¾ inch main line pipe flows up to 13.5 GPM, while a one inch pipe flows up to 21 GPM.
If you exceed the GPM that your home plumbing supports, the flow rate will drop across all water outlets. If your flow rate exceeds the capacity of the water softener, there won’t be enough time for minerals to be removed, so you’ll still have hard water.
What’s the Difference Between Salt Based Water Softeners and Salt Free Water Softeners?
Salt-based softeners use ion exchange. The filter media has spots that sodium ions bond to. When hard water passes through the media tank, the calcium and magnesium ions swap places with the sodium ions, removing the hardness minerals from the water. Eventually, all the salt is replaced with calcium and magnesium minerals, so the filter needs to be regenerated. The brine tank mixes salt and water together, then pushes this brine into the media tank. The sodium in the brine swaps places with the hard water ions on the media. This saturated brine is then flushed out through a drain.
Excess salt in the brine doesn’t bond with the media, so it ends up in the flush water. This makes it an environmental hazard. In some areas, ion exchange well water filtration systems are banned to protect groundwater, soil and waterways from sodium and chloride contamination.
Salt free water conditioners use template assisted crystallization to turn hard water minerals into a form that’s safe for pipes. The calcium and magnesium ions latch onto spaces in the water softener resin. As more of these ions pass by, they hook onto the seed ions, forming magnesium carbonate and calcium carbonate crystals. Eventually, the crystals get so large that they flake off. The result isn’t actually softened water. The pH and mineral content stays the same, but the crystallized minerals don’t form limescale or soap scum.
How Does Using a Salt-Free Conditioner Differ from a Salt-Based Water Softener?
Salt-free conditioners technically don’t soften water. Instead, they join hard water mineral molecules together to form crystals that won’t create limescale or interfere with soap. That means they don’t need to recharge, and there’s no salt tank to fill. You won’t need to buy salt, but you will need to replace the tank media about every 5 years. Conditioners don’t change the mineral content of water, so it won’t feel slippery after installation. The water will test positive for dissolved minerals, since they’re still in the water.
The reaction that crystallizes hard water minerals also produces microscopic bubbles that will scrub limescale off of your pipes. If your home’s plumbing was used without a water softener, this scale will increase your water hardness for a while. If you have an older home that has never had a water treatment system, you could be dealing with increased hard water stains around faucets for up to three months. Most manufacturers recommend flushing water heaters after the first month of use to remove loosened mineral deposits. This descaling won’t damage your appliances.
While ion exchange removes heavy metals, conditioners only work on hardening minerals. If you have heavy metals in your water, you need to add a catalytic carbon filter to your water treatment system.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Well Water Treatment System?
Professional installation for a house water filtration system usually costs somewhere between $1,000-$4,000. This price range for water softener installation varies depending on how many pieces of equipment you need to purify your water, as well as the design of your plumbing setup.
If you’re replacing old equipment, most of the fittings are already in place, cutting installation costs significantly. If you’re only adding a water softener tank, this may be a job you can tackle yourself, since you just need to replace a section of pipe with the connectors to and from the softener tank.
How Do I Maintain My Water Softener?
Salt free softeners are virtually maintenance free. However, the media in the resin bed will eventually wear out. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the media every 5 years.
A dual tank water softener needs salt for the brine tank. This tank must be at least ¼ full, while still having a few inches of space at the top of the tank. If you have a correctly-sizes system, you will typically need to add salt about once per month. Occasionally, a salt bridge will form inside the tank, blocking the flow of water. These bridges form when evaporated salt sits in the tank too long between cycles. This can be broken up with a broom handle.
Do I Need a Whole House Water Filter for Well Water?
Most problems with well water aren’t limited to consuming it. Sediment clogs pipes, hard water leaves deposits that will clog your plumbing system and appliances, and many chemicals leave residues and unpleasant odors. It’s much easier to install a whole house system, rather than trying to filter untreated water when you need to use it for drinking or cooking.
Do You Need a Sediment Filter for Well Water?
Yes. Water in aquifers is constantly eroding rock and soil. Without filtration, these large particles will quickly clog other parts of your water treatment system.
How Do You Filter Sand Out of Well Water?
Large particles, like sand, can be removed from well water using sediment filters. Since this is one of the largest contaminates in well water, most sand can be removed with a spin down filter.
The finest sand has a grain size of about 60 microns, while most spin down filters are set up to screen out contaminates as small as 100 to 40 microns. These filters let the sand fall out of suspension, so it won’t get trapped in finer screening filters. This extends the life of your sediment filtration system.
What is the Best Way to Filter Well Water for Drinking?
If you want the best tasting water possible, you need a reverse osmosis filter and a carbon filter. Fortunately, most reverse osmosis systems have built-in carbon filters. Reverse osmosis filters remove salt, while the carbon filters remove a variety of chemicals that can ruin the taste of your water.
Do I Need a UV Filter for Well Water?
If you have bacteria in your water, and you don’t have a chlorine or hydrogen peroxide injector in your water treatment system, you should use a UV filter. The light from this filter breaks up DNA, killing all pathogens.
Keep in mind that a UV filter by itself isn’t effective at killing pathogens. These filters only work on clear water. It must pass through a 5 micron filter to remove any sediment that may block the light. Tannins also interfere with light, but they don’t always block it. You may be able to use a higher capacity UV filter to compensate for tannins, or remove them with an activated carbon filter.
How Much Does it Cost to Filter Well Water?
The cost of a whole house filtration system depends on your location and the steps you need to take to treat your water. On average, most home systems cost somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000. Professional installation typically adds another $1,000 to $4,000, depending on the complexity of your system.
Can You Filter Sulfur Out of Well Water?
Yes, but in some cases, you may not need a sulfur filter. Is sulfur in all of your water, or just your hot water? If you only get the sulfur smell from hot water, it’s probably coming from the anode in your hot water heater. Testing is easy. Usually, there’s a bypass valve next to the hot water heater. Use this bypass to fill a bucket. If you don’t smell sulfur from this water, but you smell it when you turn a hot tap on, it’s the water heater. Replacing the anode will solve the problem.
If you only notice the sulfur smell from one tap, the water is reacting with something trapped in the drain. Pour a little bleach into the drain, and let it sit overnight. This should kill whatever is causing the smell.
If you’ve determined the sulfur is inside your well water, you need to get an iron filter. No matter the method used, the oxidation process used in iron filters also works to remove sulfur.
What Does a Carbon Filter Do for Well Water?
Carbon filters use adsorbtion to filter water. Instead of using a screen, like a sediment filter, activated carbon has a massive amount of surface area that atoms and molecules will stick to. This allows them to remove contaminates that can slip by other filters, including phosphates, pesticides, lithium, and even pharmaceuticals.
Activated catalytic carbon has a treated surface that attracts ions, removing them from the water. These include heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, chlorine, THMs and haloacetic acids.
How Do You Filter Rusty Well Water? Can you Filter Iron Out of Well Water?
Iron comes in two forms. Rust is iron oxide, or ferric iron, which is what gives water a red color. Ferrous iron is usually reddish black, and is held in suspension in the water. However, it can turn into ferric iron when exposed to oxygen. Iron-loving bacteria turn ferrous iron into ferric iron, which leaves a red scum on top of the water.
If you want to get rid of rust, you need to address all types of iron in your water. This starts with a sediment filter, which removes large flakes of rust. Next, the ferric iron needs to be turned into ferrous iron using an oxidizer. Air-based systems spray water through an air bubble, while ozone-based systems spray the water through ozone. You can also use hydrogen peroxide or chlorine as oxidating agents. In the right concentrations and with enough time, these chemicals will convert the ferric iron into ferrous oxide. This iron can be filtered out of the water. Iron filtering systems usually have a carbon filter to remove any remaining oxidizing agents.
Ion exchange water softeners can remove up to 0.5 PPM of ferrous iron, but this requires increased salt use, and the softener has to be treated with special iron removing chemicals when recharged.
What Happens if You Don’t Change Well Water Filters?
Failure leads to different problems, depending on the type of filter.
Sediment filters will clog, stopping the flow of water.
If ion exchange water softeners aren’t treated with brine, they will stop absorbing hard water minerals. The media in salt free iron conditioners lasts for years. However, it will eventually break down, so it won’t be able to convert hard water minerals into crystals.
Carbon filters will stop filtering contaminants. Eventually, the carbon will break apart, releasing trapped contaminates into the water.
Can You Filter Arsenic Out of Well Water?
Arsenic leaches into ground water from surrounding rocks, so there’s no good way to eliminate it from your well. There are two types of arsenic, arsenic 3 (arsenite) and arsenic 5 (arsenate.) The EPA says arsenic levels of 10 PPM or less are safe, but less arsenic is always better. If you have detectable arsenic in your water, you need to use filters to remove both arsenic 3 and arsenic 5.
Arsenic 5 breaks down through oxidation. Chlorine and hydrogen peroxide systems that treat iron contamination also work on this type of arsenic. However, air and ozone filters aren’t strong enough to oxidize this chemical. Ion exchange water softeners remove arsenic 3. Reverse osmosis filters remove both types of arsenic.
Where Do You Put a Sediment Filter for Well Water?
The sediment filter should always be the first part of your well water filtration system. By removing large particles from the water as soon as they enters your home, you’re less likely to have clogs in other parts of your filtration system. The sections of your sediment filter system should be ordered from largest particles to smallest.
How Do You Filter Manganese Out of Well Water?
Iron removal systems also remove manganese, because both metals will fall out of suspension if they’re oxidized. These systems use air, ozone, chlorine or hydrogen peroxide to oxidize metals and filter them out of the water.
How Do You Filter Nitrates from Well Water?
There are two techniques you can use to remove nitrates from your water: ion exchange and reverse osmosis.
Ion exchange is the most effective method for removing nitrates. This is the same method used by salt-based water softeners to remove magnesium and calcium ions from water. As the water passes through the filter, the nitrates swap places with salt bonded to the filter media.
If you don’t need a dedicated water softener for well water, or you can’t use an ion exchange system due to restrictions on salt runoff, you need a reverse osmosis filter. This filter uses pressure to force water through a membrane, removing salt and contaminates. These filters remove 83 to 92% of nitrates in water. The capacity of these filters is limited, so they’re used only for drinking water sources, not the entire house.
How Do You Filter Bacteria from Well Water?
These organisms are small enough that most of them can’t be removed by filters. Instead, you need to disinfect your water to get rid of them. You have two choices for disinfection in a well water treatment system: UV light and chlorine.
We all know that UV light exposure can damage our skin. It’s also harmful to bacteria, cysts and viruses. A UV filtration system passes the water through a chamber flooded with UVC light. This light breaks down DNA, killing pathogens. This is the most common type of disinfectant used in well water treatment systems. The water must be clear for the light to penetrate, so this is usually one of the last steps in a water treatment system.
Chlorine is a strong oxidizing agent. If you have a spike in bacterial contamination, you may need to use chlorine shock treatment to kill off these microbes. This involves adding a large amount of chlorine directly to the well via the well cap and circulating the water. Chlorine injection can be used to kill pathogens and remove iron. This chemical is a powerful oxidant, which breaks down the cellular structure of pathogens.
What Micron Filter Should I Use for Well Water?
Smaller is better, but you need to balance size against contamination. If you have sand or silt in your water, a spin-down filter can remove larger particles before they reach smaller filters. A 5 micron filter clears out enough debris for UV filters to be effective, while a one micron filter will decrease clogging in the rest of your water treatment system.
How Do You Filter Salty Well Water?
The only practical way to remove salt from well water is with a reverse osmosis filter. In osmosis, if you separate clean water and salty water with a permeable barrier, the clean water will flow through the barrier, until the water on both sides has the same salinity. Reverse osmosis uses pressure on the salty side. This forces water on that side through the barrier, leaving the salt behind. This process requires expensive filters and a lot of pressure, so home systems only treat drinking water sources. Usually, the filter is hooked up to a small tap mounted on the kitchen sink and the feed line for the ice maker. All other water used in the house will still be salty.
Do I Need a Chlorine Filter for Well Water?
It’s unlikely that well water will contain chlorine. However, you may need to use this chemical to disinfect water or remove iron. Treatment systems that use chlorine typically come with a catalytic carbon filter. This post filtration treatment removes any leftover chemicals from the water before it reaches your taps.
Unlike city water treatment systems, UV filters are usually the preferred method for killing bacteria in well water. That’s because there are only a few feet between your house water filter and your faucets. Municipal systems use chlorine, because it stays active during the water’s journey from the treatment facility to your pipes, killing pathogens along the way.
Why Does My Well Water Filter Turn Black?
In most cases, this is from carbon filters. Even in solid carbon filters, there are some loose particles that will make their way out of the filter housing. If you have a whole house carbon filter, don’t be surprised if you see these particles show up in your tap water for a while after you install a new cartridge. This doesn’t make the water unsafe to use or drink.
Black water may also be caused by manganese or iron dissolved in the water. Manganese looks blue black, while iron looks brown and black. Manganese is bad for your health, and especially bad for infants. If you’re dealing with well water with iron contamination, your biggest problem will be bad tasting water, unless it encourages bacterial growth. In either case, if you notice a change in your water’s color, you should get a water test, and modify your filtration system accordingly.
Can You Drink Well Water Without a Filter?
Well water isn’t regulated, so there’s nothing stopping you from digging a hole in the ground and drinking whatever comes out. However, there’s a good chance that water contains organisms that can make you sick almost immediately, as well as chemicals and heavy metals that will cause long term health problems. If your filtration system is compromised, you’re better off using bottled water for drinking and cooking until you can have the system repaired.
Can You Filter Lead Out of Well Water?
Yes. There are two ways to remove lead from water: ion exchange and catalytic carbon. Salt-based water softener systems use ion exchange, which replaces lead ions with sodium ions. Lead also sticks to the filter surface in catalytic carbon filters. Unlike standard activated carbon filters, catalytic carbon has a treated surface that makes it better at absorbing metals. If you decide to use this type of filter, look for one that meets ANSI/NSF Standard 53. This tests the filter’s ability to remove lead.
How Do I Filter My Well Water for Hydroponics?
Ideally, your water should be as pure as possible. Any minerals left in the water are taking up spaces that could be carrying the minerals your plants need to thrive. For the best results, you need a water softener and a reverse osmosis filter. This removes minerals and balances pH, making adjustments to acidity and nutrients a lot simpler. The charts and information provided by nutrient manufacturers are based on using reverse osmosis (RO) water.
If plants need calcium and magnesium, why remove them from water? The minerals that make up hard water aren’t bioavailable to plants, and can clog pathways needed to absorb these nutrients. These large molecules can be broken down over time with the right growing conditions. However, it’s much easier to use liquid fertilizers, which have bioavailable nutrients. Hard water minerals also change the water’s pH, so you have to add more phosphoric or nitric acid to compensate.
How Do You Filter Coliform Bacteria in Well Water?
Colliform bacteria aren’t always harmful. However, they’re used as an indicator of bacterial growth. If your water has detectable colliform bacteria, it has the perfect conditions to grow harmful pathogens.
Before you spend money on a permanent filtration system, there are a few things you should check. Sometimes, the easiest solution is to address the issue causing this contamination. Often, a well casing may not be high enough to block runoff water from the ground, or the cap may not be sealing tightly. Likewise, openings in a spring box may allow animals to get inside, contaminating the water. Fixing these issues should cut down on bacterial growth. Sometimes, bacteria growth is temporary, due to flooding that allowed contaminated water to mix with groundwater. This can usually be dealt with using shock chlorination. By adding chlorine directly to the well, it kills off this new bacterial growth.
Once those issues are checked, you can look into a bacteria treatment system. Bacteria are too small to be filtered out, but they can be killed off before they cause harm.
Ultraviolet light is effective at killing coliform bacteria as long as there are fewer than 1,000 colonies per 100 mL of water, and fecal coliform bacteria as long as there are fewer than 100 colonies per 100 mL. UV light only works on clear water, so it’s usually placed near the end of your water treatment system. For maximum effectiveness, you need to use a 5 micron or smaller sediment filter and remove any tannins in your water.
Chlorine is effective at treating all water, as long as the system is set up correctly. The reactions that kill bacteria and oxidize other substances in the water use up the chlorine, which is known as “chlorine demand.” The right amount of chlorine needs to be added to kill bacteria and oxidize metals. A carbon filter can remove any left over chemicals, so your water won’t taste like it came out of a swimming pool.
What about ozone? It’s used to kill bacteria in industrial settings, and it’s also used to remove iron and manganese. However, a household ozone filter system isn’t powerful enough to reliably kill bacteria.
How Do You Filter Heavy Metals Out of Well Water?
There are two ways to remove heavy metals from your well water: ion exchange and carbon filtration.
The ion exchange process used in salt-based softening systems also works on heavy metals. The metals bond to the resin beads in the tank, swapping places with sodium ions.
Activated carbon uses its surface area to pick up contaminates. However, standard filters aren’t effective on heavy metals. Instead, you’ll want a catalytic carbon filter. This treated carbon attracts negative ions, which helps it pick up heavy metals. As they pass through the filter, the metals stick to the surface of the carbon, while the water passes through.
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