Water Well and Pump Repair/Well Water

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QUESTION: Hi,

I have two questions regarding the well water for our house:

1) We have a whole house water filtration system that was in place when I bought the house.  Historically I'd change the filters every 3-5 months without any issues.  However, lately I'm having to do it more frequently as I'm getting a silty clay build up on them that is actually clogging the filter and impacting the water pressure/flow through the house.  What would cause the sudden change and how concerned should I be?  I'm worried this may impact the life of the pump at some point or worse yet, mean I have bigger problems that may require a new well or casing.  Any help is appreciated!

2) We've had our water tested a number of times and each time it's been fine.  However, if the water sits in a glass over night, an oily film will appear.  Is this normal or cause for concern?

ANSWER: What you and the Bib Box stores call a whole house filter is really a one faucet filter and even used in the correct way is simply false security.  They won't remove anything harmful to you.

The silt problem could be a well problem.  Holes in the casing from age, could be the hole below the casing caved in some.  Who knows?  The only way to be sure is to have a camera lowered the casing.  This is very expensive.

If it were mine, I would get rid of the cartridge filters and get a REAL filter that looks very much like a water softener.  With a large enough tank that it can trap a lot more than that 10' filter can and can also be backwashed instead of being replaced all the time.  It could be filled with silica sand and backwashed bi annually or yearly (depending on the severity) either manually or automatically with a backwash only filter head.

bob...

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for all the information / help!

For simplicity I did not mention the full water system we have in place.  Our water has a low PH which was causing the copper pipes to rust.  We installed a 'Neutralizer', which sounds very similar to what you describe above (i.e. it's a large tank filled with silica that can be backwashed).  

The well water comes into the tank inside the house, then into the neutralizer, then to cartridge, and finally into a softener that was needed as a result of the neutralizer increasing the hardness of our water.

Anyway, the cartridge filter is filling with clay/silt after it has already passed through the neutralizer.  Unless I'm not clear on your recommendation, I don't know that it would help.

Given what you've said, I'm now even more concerned of the clay/silt build-up in the cartridge.  Also, I wonder if the low PH of our well water (which is presumably the same as any water around the casing) has caused it to rust away.

Any additional thoughts / suggestions?  Roughly speaking how much does the well camera cost?

Answer
"For simplicity I did not mention the full water system we have in place.  Our water has a low PH which was causing the copper pipes to rust.  We installed a 'Neutralizer', which sounds very similar to what you describe above (i.e. it's a large tank filled with silica that can be backwashed)."  

The low PH will eat the copper pipes.  Copper doesn't rust.  It just starts getting pin holes.  The PH neutralizer shouldn't be filled with silica sand.  It should be filled with a product called Calcite.  There are other names out there, but they do the same, they add hardness to the water which raises the PH.  This product is sacrificial which tells me that it's now empty and that's why the clay is getting through.  You should check the unit and see if it has any Calcite left.  Sometimes using a flash light looking up and down, you can see the level.  My guess is that it's empty.  The Calcite filter shouldn't be used as a filter either.  It should have a filter in front of it to catch the clay.  That's where the silica sand comes in.

"Also, I wonder if the low PH of our well water (which is presumably the same as any water around the casing) has caused it to rust away."

If the water around the casing has a low PH; it can eat your casing if it's metal.  Here where I am we have shallow wells around 20' deep.  The PH in these wells is 5.5.  This eats casing.  The deeper wells that were drilled 30 to 60 years ago are mostly all abandoned because of the holes eaten through the casing in that 20' area.

If you do find that the Calcite filter is empty and you fill it back up, put a filter in front of it, not behind it.

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