A modern residential well offers many years of water supply to your home with minimal servicing. Because of this, most homeowners don’t give much thought to their water well until they start experiencing issues.
It’s important to be aware of the most common well water issues you might experience over the years, so you’ll know how to properly troubleshoot them and prevent an even bigger problem at hand.
- Sputtering Faucets
Have you ever experienced turning on your kitchen faucet, and, then, feeling or hearing a spurt of air before it releases short bursts of water? This is caused by too much air accumulating in your water pipes.
A sputtering faucet can be annoying. However, when it happens occasionally, then it’s not a major problem. It only becomes one if it happens every time you turn on a faucet and interferes with the water flow.
This well water problem can be caused by several things, from a failing valve to a damaged drop pipe connecting the well to your home. Drop pipes are usually made of plastic PVC or iron pipes that may become corroded, broken, or develop cracks over time, causing air to be sucked in.
In a worst-case scenario, it’s possible that your water table may drop to the point below or at the well pump, causing the pump to draw in the air during the pump cycle. In this case, you’ll need to lower your well pump as well.
Due to the complexity of possible causes for this kind of water well problem, it’s often recommended to have it looked at by an expert provider of well pump repair services in your area.
- Water Pressure
If you can’t generate water from your well, it may be because of low water pressure. Low water pressure has several causes, including a stuck check valve, failing well pump, leaking or failing of pressure tank, or partially closed or a bad ball valve.
Most commonly, however, the high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium can cause hard water, which, in turn, causes clogging in pipes. In some cases, iron bacteria may also clog up the pipe nipple, leading to the pressure switch sensing pressure incorrectly.
If your well water tests high for these minerals or iron bacteria that start to clog your pipes, you can simply clean the well with a special solution that’s designed to remove buildup of minerals, scale, and slime to restore it to a better condition.
In addition, the water pressure of most well systems is often set to turn on at 30 PSI and off at 50 PSI. For today’s home appliances, this pressure may be too low, which causes the low water volume. Fortunately, it’s often possible to increase the pressure.
You can set your pump to turn on at 40-50 PSI and go off at 60-70 PSI, which offers enough water pressure in your home. The pressure switch may be adjusted to accommodate the higher pressure, assuming that your well and pump can operate at a higher pressure, without difficulty. Also, the air pressure inside the pressure tank should be adjusted if you’re changing the pressure switch.
- Acidic Water
Acid rainfall, plant life decomposition, and runoff from mining operations can reduce your well water’s pH levels below seven pH, making your water acidic.
The most common symptoms of acidic water include:
- Metallic, bitter-tasting water
- Rust stains in your tubs and sinks
- Corroded fixtures and faucets
- Pinhole leaks in your plumbing
- Sometimes cloudy water
If left untreated, acidic water can corrode your plumbing over time, increasing the risk of burst pipes and leaks. It may also cause corrosion, leaching lead from your old plumbing solder and into your drinking water, which causes several serious and irreversible physical and neurological health problems, particularly in kids.
You have several solutions for acidic water. You can install a soda ash injection or acid-neutralizing filter into your well to raise the water’s pH level. In some cases, you can also consider replacing the metal pipes with NSF-certified plastic components to prevent corrosion.
- Sand Or Sediment In Water
If you start seeing sand or a large number of sediments in your glass of water, then it’s a sign that your water well is filling with silt or sand or silting in.
In general, a well pump is installed at least 10 to 20 feet above the floor of the well. When the well pump is turned on, the water level in the well can drop to a lower level. If the pump is near the floor of the well, sediment and sand can be sucked in.
Another cause for a well pumping sand and sediment is a degraded or damaged well screen, which allows sand and sediment in from the gravel pack surrounding the well screen.
The presence of sand within your well pump can quickly wear out your pump valves. In any case, the sudden presence of sand in your water isn’t a good sign and, thus, should be fixed immediately.
You can install a mesh filter screen with an automatic purge valve or sand and sediment trappers to resolve the issue.
- Well Pump Short Cycling
Another common problem is when your well pump runs a continuous cycle. There are various causes for this issue, including a faulty check valve. It prevents the tank from releasing water back down to the well after building water pressure. If the check valve fails, the water flows back down to the well, causing the pressure switch to start pumping again. This can cause your well pump to operate every few minutes, 24 hours a day. Simply replacing the check valve should solve the issue.
Another cause is corrosion damage to well water casing, screen, or liner, which creates holes. These holes allow undesirable water and sediments into the well. Consider looking for leaking iron filters, toilet flush valves, reverse osmosis systems, and other malfunctioning backwashing filter systems. Like with the check valve, you can just replace these components to solve the problem.
Well water is truly a lifesaver if you don’t like the chlorine taste of city water or just want to save up on costs. With that said, being responsible for the water you use, means you need to know and understand common issues associated with water wells and how to resolve them quickly to restore your water supply and prevent bigger problems in the future.