Does anyone have tips on living with well water? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-12-2007, 10:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, for the first time as an adult, I'm about to move into a house with well water. So this might seem ignorant but I've never had to deal with it before. Can someone chime in with any tips?

When do you use bottled vs tap? Any tips for cleaning? Softening? I'll ask about diapers in another forum...

OK, I literally know nothing about it right now. I know I can read up on it but aside from the mechanics of well water, I'm hoping some moms can help me use it the right way or when not to use it.

Thanks for your help -- I'm completely ignorant on this topic!
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:39 AM
 
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When do you use bottled vs tap? Any tips for cleaning? Softening? I'll ask about diapers in another forum...

OK, I literally know nothing about it right now. I know I can read up on it but aside from the mechanics of well water, I'm hoping some moms can help me use it the right way or when not to use it.
We have a well for 10+ years. Our well is very deep and the water tastes great! We even had another well dug last year to add to our low yield.

First of all, have you had your well tested for pollutants and bacteria? If not, you need to do this. Your local well-drilling companies can give you the names of water-testing labs. Cost will vary depending on what is being tested. The lab will supply the containers for some things (bacteria count), for others you can just use a clean jar.

Once you know your well is safe, you're a go for any use you need.

Oh, you DO need to know what your gpm is (gallons per minute). This will have an effect on how much water you can use in a set period of time (so you don't run the well dry with water use such as sprinklers & washer & bathing all at the same time!). ALso, do you have cistern/reservoir or storage tank?

We drink ours straight from the tap (I'd never BUY water when we have a perfectly safe and delicious water source at our sink!). We have a filter but only because it filters-out the sediment that all wells produce! We use it for washing inside and out, and for irrigation.

We do have a water softener in our home (because of the mineral content in our well water). It is attached to the system for our clothes washer, the kitchen and bathroom sinks and tub & shower.

It is great knowing our water is straight up from the ground and not touched by the public water supply (and the chlorine and flouride they add - yech!).
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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I grew up with well water. Since I was a kid, I really don't know about all the softners, etc. But it was/is the best tasting water- ever.

modern-mama to DS (5.16.05) and DD (9.11.08) and one more (GIRL!) coming in December
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Old 03-13-2007, 02:01 AM
 
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We have well water, and you don't want to drink it. It is ok to cook with as long as it boils first, but it smells and tastes pretty bad from the tap. We have a water cooler with refillable jugs that I fill at the grocery store.
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Old 03-13-2007, 03:54 AM
 
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it really depends on your water.

Growing up, we had great water. Straight from the well! Oh so good! No maintainance just drink.

Here the water sucks sucks sucks! We have to soften the crap out of it just to keep it running clear and i am scared to wash my whites in it incase they turn yellow or orange cause of the high iron content.
We DO NOT drink it and rarely cook with it. In fact we installed a 1000 gallon water tank and just have water brough out to us for everything.

When we first moved here I had no idea just how bad the water was. My DS (6) was showering and after only 10 minutes came out as orange as a carrot! OMG! We had to go swimming just to get him back to normal color!

Have your water tested! That is my advice
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Old 03-13-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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I think one of the biggest things you may not think of if you've never had well water is to know that if your power goes out, so does your water. I grew up that way, and it still surprises me that we have water if the power goes out, but I know it works the other way too. My mom always would fill the bathtub with water if we thought it likely the power would go out, then we could use that water for flushing toilets and washing hands. we also always kept some water in jars to drink if the power went out.

Getting your water tested is great advice, also be aware that how deep and where your well is dug will make a difference in your water quality. What you need and choose to do will likely not be the same as anyone on this board and even talking to neighbors might not tell you much about you well and what to expect. My parents had an awful well when they first moved to their house, it was full of sediment and frequently would run dry. They had a much deeper well dug and now they deal with iron in the water, but no sediment and its never dried up for even a short time. One of dh's neighbors tried 12 times before they found a well with decent water flow for their needs. When you dig a well what you are going to get is always a gamble.

Mama to three - DD : 1/03, DS 2/06, and DS 6/09.
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Old 03-13-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cheenya View Post
I think one of the biggest things you may not think of if you've never had well water is to know that if your power goes out, so does your water. I grew up that way, and it still surprises me that we have water if the power goes out, but I know it works the other way too.
You never quite get used to it, do you? I'm still surprised that we can flush our toilets when the power goes out. We had lovely well-water on Long Island where I grew up. Never needed a water softener and my hair is never as lovely as when it's washed with well water.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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We've got well water.
I agree with the others, remember that you lose water when you lose power. Whenever we get a big storm, I fill up a few buckets to flush the toilets with, and to drink. We also are getting a generator because we've also got an electric stove so we are hosed when the power goes out for a long period.
I believe water testing was part of the home inspection here. The sellers had to pay for it, if I remember correctly. We also had it tested by an independent place that we chose, at our expense.
If the water quality isn't good, or it's mineral heavy, it can be a real pain in the butt, because it effects laundry, stains the toilets and the tub.

Our water had a naturally acidic ph, and it was eating the copper from the pipes, causing blue stains to build up in the toilets and shower. I'd clean the tub and the blue would be visible 2 days later. The water tasted like pennies.
But otherwise, it tested ok.
We got a water neutralizer (basically runs the water through calcium carbonate) and a sediment filter to filter out large particles. The company comes in once a a year, cleans it out, and refills it. You can also do it yourself if you want.
I drink the tap water and it tastes good. Worth it imo, otherwise I'd be spending the money on bottled water.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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The house we live in now has a 1500 gallon storage tank.

the well only produces 7 GPM.

Even with the power off we get water due to gravity feeding from the storage tank.

This water is hard and really should have a water softener on it it save the appliances and my dishes pots and pans. We don't own this house though.

So IMO knowing the GPM and the having the well tested is IMO important.

I personally would never want a well that has iron in it. I grew up with a good well but in 1982 an earthquake came along and ever since then the well has had nasty iron. Yellow clothes, yellow everything.
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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Every well is different. I would recommend getting your water tested to check for bacteria, etc. Here our county health dept. does it for a small fee. Once you find out if it is safe to drink or not, there are still a lot of other factors that go into what you can use it for. Hopefully you will have great water, but you might not. A lot of well water is har (contains a lot of minerals). You can buy a water softener that filters out some of the sediment. Most softeners use salt to filter the minerals & it even replaces some of them with salt, so it changes the taste of your water. If you have huge amounts of iron in your water, this may still not be enough to allow you to wash whites in your water. It may still have an orange tinge to it. Hard water is harder to clean with. Soap doesn't rinse off as well, so clothes will eventually build up a gray tint to them. I use vinegar in the laundry rinse to help eleviate that. Our dishwasher isn't as effective either, but you learn to live with it. You can also get reverse osmosis filters that filter even more bad stuff out, including chlorine. Well water can still have chlorine in it. Sometimes if you have an artesian well (when you hit so much water that it runs constantly) you will have nasty water because it keeps the sediment churned up constantly. The taste of well water doesn't bother me unless it has a lot of sulphur in it. That is what makes it smell like rotten eggs. I would determine the state of the water before I looked into purchasing any filters. The type filter you need will depend on the makeup of your water. Most people can filter their water to a point where it can be used for everything including drinking. But if you have never had well water before it may be harder to get used to it. Good luck.
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:30 PM
 
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Yes, get it tested! Our well water has arsenic in it. We live by the Madison River which originates bubbling out of the ground in Yellowstone. We can't drink it or cook with it. We're just moving in and I think we'll use the water next door (where hubby works) which is treated by reverse osmosis. Not sure what it will do to my clothes yet.
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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Yeah, the iron is awful. Luckily we don't have that issue.
My bil has it in a nearby town though. They can't drink their well water and their whites are always yellow, even with the stuff you add to the water to prevent it. If you swim in their pool, the white liner of your bathing suit turns dark yellow.
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:41 PM
 
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How funny...I've always had well water except for a few years in college. What tips; ie. how is city water any different?

Yep, when you expect power outages, fill the tub and fill some buckets.

Definitely get your water tested.
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Old 03-15-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mgilleran@earth-co View Post
I use vinegar in the laundry rinse to help eleviate that.
Definitely!
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