64oz.org may earn commission for purchases made through the links posted on this page.

How to Clean Well Water

by Jennifer Bellini

Marketing expert, Business guru

> 2 min read


Well water can be a significant money-saver for people in rural or suburban areas, especially those with expensive municipal water rates. Although it has its limits in terms of quantity and water pressure, it’s a great option if your area’s water table is high enough.

However, almost all areas have some kind of minerals or contaminants in the water. Many minerals in water are harmless or even helpful, but you need to carefully control the quantities present in the water you drink and wash with. Educating yourself about common water quality issues and filtration options is the first step in improving your family’s quality of life.

HERE ARE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE ABOUT WATER:

Common Well Water Problems

Well water commonly contains high percentages of iron, magnesium, calcium, and other minerals. Although small amounts of minerals are natural and may even improve the taste of your water, large amounts can cause health problems.

Even if you don’t detect these problems right away, they may eventually show up in your home and apparel. Hard water can create rust stains in your bathtubs and sinks and may even cause your clothes to fade faster.

It’s best to get your water professionally tested even before you get a well built. However, you’ll need to do ongoing testing to ensure no new problems appear, especially if there are nearby construction sites or industrial plants. A huge number of contaminants can seep into the groundwater from improperly discarded chemicals and other waste.

When assessing your water problems and needs, keep in mind that boiling water does not necessarily remedy all water problems, including pH and chemicals problems. Chemicals with a boiling point above water’s boiling point (212 F°) may remain in the water even after you boil it, so you might have to use bottled water for both drinking and cooking unless you treat and filter it properly.

Filter Types

It’s important to understand the types of filters and their strengths and limitations. Some filters rely heavily on chemical reactions to improve the water quality, while others rely more on physical filters. Physical filters will be better at removing large quantities of sediment from well water.

Sediment filters focus on small particles but will leave many chemicals and minerals intact. These filters are an absolute must for well water, regardless of your region, to ensure that your water is safe to drink and your other filters can work effectively without getting clogged.

Soft water systems specialize in removing minerals and are common in a huge range of households. They tend to last for a long time but occasionally need salt added to keep them running properly.

Activated carbon filters are great at getting chemicals out of water without modifying the pH or stripping healthy minerals from well water. They remove chlorine taste and odor as well, so they’re a trusted option for some municipal water users as well. These filters are available in both block and granular form, but their capacities and results are similar.

Reverse osmosis is more expensive, but each filter has a longer lifespan and produces purer water. However, this water is also filtered of healthy minerals and may lower the pH slightly. Because the filtration system is so slow, it requires a pressurized water tank, which may drain quickly if you use a lot of water at once.

Alkaline water ionizers adjust the water’s pH level, and they partner well with reverse osmosis filtration. It also produces antioxidants in the water that may have health benefits. However, they cannot be used on their own to filter sediments or chemicals.

The right combination of filters and cleaning processes for you will depend on the water in your area. For example, you might not need reverse osmosis if your well water is of great quality and your water tastes fine without it. However, you should get your water tested at least once per year for bacteria and other contaminants and modify your filtration or the water source entirely if needed.

Best Filtration for Small and Large Homes

Every filtration system has a maximum gallons per minute (GPM) rate, which dictates how much water it can filter at a time. A refrigerator filter can usually filter less than a gallon of water per minute, while a basic household water filter attached to your main water line may be able to filter 10 GPM or more.

Take a good look at your home’s water needs before deciding on a filter. Each filter should specify its recommended usage and GPM. You may find that your main water supply only needs a basic soft water filter, while the water line to your kitchen needs a more in-depth filter to make your water more palatable and easy to cook with.

As a general rule, sediment filters can maintain a high GPM flow as long as they are properly maintained. Activated carbon filters will have slightly lower flow rates, but reverse osmosis and other specialized filters may struggle to keep up with using. 

Many homeowners choose to have a separate under-sink filter that has a higher level of filtration. This means you won’t waste unnecessarily high filtration for taste and pH on laundry and showering and keeps flow levels higher for those purposes. It could also save you money on overall filtration costs.

Taste Considerations

Keep in mind that your water may still have a slight aftertaste even if it has been filtered and is perfectly safe to drink. Trace amounts of healthy minerals can affect the taste of your water in ways you and your family aren’t used to.

You may need additional advanced filtration like reverse osmosis to remove any hints of mineral flavors from your water. Even if your basic filtration makes the water taste fine for several months or years, your water taste might eventually change, requiring new filters.


Trusting Your Local Water

Always consult with local health and land management authorities before digging a well. Just because your neighbors have wells doesn’t mean that your well will provide enough water or be free of contaminants. Plus, basic home filtration might not be able to remove serious contaminants like heavy metals.

However, you should be able to manage your well water filtration on your own with regular testing and filter changes. Keep an eye out for color, taste, or smell changes, and don’t hesitate to boil your water and call an expert for more testing if needed. With some basic precautions, you’ll be able to keep your family healthy with a smaller utility bill than before.

Jennifer Bellini

About the Author

Jennifer Bellini is a business guru who’s spent most of her life working in her home state of Wisconsin where she still lives with her family. Her experience lends itself best to sussing out the unique problems a business may face with their water quality. She is also our lead market analyst and is the driving force behind site growth.