Well Trouble

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Beth C, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Beth C

    Beth C Guest

    I'm new here. Done a lot of reading, but not posting. I'm impressed with the amount of information there is on here. Unfortunately, I could not find an answer to my problem. So maybe someone else has had to deal with our predicament and can help. Our well went out a couple of days ago. We called a well person out and after checking the above ground parts, they pulled out the pump. I was then informed that the well was about 50 years old and "not up to par" (short casing). There were feeder roots in the well. It is about 100 feet deep. I was then asked if the water smelled or tasted bad or was "dirty". Which it doesn't and isn't. The pump is only six years old and there was a short in one of the wires.They rewired it and were able to get it back in the well. Works fine. It was recomended that we seriously think about putting in a new well at the cost of a pretty penny. :eek: So to my questions...#1 Would you do as recommended and put in a "up to par" well or continue to use this one? #2 We haven't lived here a year, but in that time, all our whites are now kinda biege, :( ( I use bleach). The well guy said we have alot of iron in the water. Any solutions on getting them white again or at least putting a stop to it? My sons are running out of white t-shirts! :waa: Thanks!
     
  2. South of Forty

    South of Forty Active Member

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    I have an old well at my home place. Have a lot of iron in the water there. I also have a softner which removes a lot of the iron. If it comes to adding a softner or putting a new well down youre shooting craps. A new well may run into the same problems that the old well has as far as hard or ironized water. The cost of a new wel or a good iron reducing softner in my area is about the same and most likely the same in your area as well. Might as well try getting a sample of your water to several softner sellers and let them explain what they can or can not do with your water to clean it up - most wont charge you to test the water- Sears will do it also- and how much it will cost opposed to drilling a new well.
     

  3. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I agree with 'south of forty'. A new well into the same aquifer will give you the same water.
    have your water analyzed,
    take your time,
    keep your hand on your wallet,
    Len.
    ps:don't buy white clothes? <grin>
     
  4. nappy

    nappy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Beth,

    I can't help you on the well part of your questions, except that we also have iron in our very hard water. We put in a softener which took care of the hardness and most of the iron. If a faucet drips, we still get a rust stain in the sink. But the laundry problems, yellowing of white clothes and difficult stain removal, has improved greatly since the softener was put in. Let me tell you what I did, which was quite by accident, to whiten clothes. To one gallon of white vinegar in a bucket add 2 capsful of liquid Calgon and let clothes soak for a short time. Don't add any water to this mixture. Sometimes you can see the yellow coming out as soon as it is put in it. Some chemical products are are available to take the "Iron Out" but they have strong fumes.

    Speaking of softened water, we kept the cold water at the kitchen sink and the outside spigot for animals and gardens unsoftened.

    Hope this will help somewhat,

    Nappy
     
  5. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    South of Forty is pretty accurate. I'd take my time and seriously think about the whole thing, after I got my water tested. If it were unsafe, which I doubt, then I guess I'd be thinking about a new well. Don't forget, the guys that fix well problems are the same guys that drill wells. Wanna guess which pays more :D
     
  6. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    as to bringing your well to code i would contact a reputable well driller .they can weld on morfe casing at the top to raise the casing if cracked you may need to reline the well . it will not help with the iron. i diagree that drilling a new well will give you the same water our neighbours had an iron well drilled hunred feet over and hit another vein of pure water .still cheaper to treat the water you have and deal with the casing .rememer that the water u drink has to be clean!
     
  7. Beth C

    Beth C Guest

    Thanks for the info guys. Like I said, we have lived here 9 months and none of us have had any stomach problems that might be caused by yucky water so I'm pretty sure the water is safe but I will have it tested just to make sure. I'll also check into a softner. Makes sense that if a new well was dug, it would hit the same aquifer.

    Nappy, the vinegar and calgon wash, do I do that before, after or instead of washing regularly? Does it help already stained clothes?

    Fordmajor, can you expand on the "replacing the casing"? So I don't sound totally ignorant when checking into this. I was told our's was short that's why we had roots. Cost comparision, it seems logical that it would be cheaper.

    Never had a well before, so your info will help keep me from getting hornswoggled by someone trying to make a quick buck. Thanks again! :)
     
  8. Cygnet

    Cygnet Guest

    Test the water. If it tests safe, you're fine. Keep testing yearly. If in doubt, use it for household use but don't drink it.

    I'm on a terrible well -- extremely salty (table salt to the point where you can taste it). It's also thermal, coming out of the ground at about 70 degrees. Yep, there's a lot of volcanism in the area.

    I don't drink the water. It's not that hard, or expensive, to buy bottled water for drinking by the case. I get whatever's on sale at the grocery store.

    If you do need well work, ask around about who's good. Get two or three names, check with the better business bureau to verify no problems, then solicit bids for the work. Get everything in writing. And make sure you use a licensed and bonded contractor.

    Well drillers ... *grrr* some of them are just out to make a quick buck ... my well is actually shared with several other families. Well went out last year, one time, and I didn't get a chance to look at it before the family that manages to well finances called the well guy. Turned out there was a large bug in a solenoid, fried to a fair crisp.

    Well guy removed a bug and charged a $75 trip fee and enough labor to total $120. For removing a bug. And he lives in the area, about three miles away, so I don't know where he got $75 for the trip fee.

    AND he didn't replace the solenoid, so when the charred solenoid stuck at 6 AM on a rainy morning at feeding time for the zoo, guess who was out there with a file, rasping off the fried bug guts from the contact points so she could have water?

    Leva

     
  9. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    ................Beth, I would first of all consult with a Well established driller and solicit his opinion(s). You may have a very potable , fresh water zone at say 150 feet of depth. Now, there, also maybe "Other" water zones ABOVE your drinkable water at 150 feet. These water producing layers MAYBE the culprit that is contributing the waterwith the Iron to your well. There is a very simple explanation for the mechanism that allows the Bad water to corrupt the Good water. It is called "Commuting" which means the Bad water flows around the Outside of your casing and is pulled by Down by gravity and Co-mingles (mixes) with the drinkable water. This, is NOT supposed to happen!! When the well was initially drilled the Driller was supposed to seal these Unwanted water zones OFF by pouring Portland cement and Peagrvel down , around the Outside of the casing and it will Mix with the water and "Supposedly" stop this hard water from flowing. This is a Hit or Miss deal and doesn't Always work.
    ...............Most states require accurate records to be kept of each water and OIL well that has been drilled. So, you should beable to determine the name of the Person who drilled your well, hopefully. Most well drillers who have become established "Know" who probably drilled your well and who does good work and who continually screws things up , but you may have a hard time getting them to "Rat" on their fellow incompetent well drillers........Cavet Emptor......fordy.. :eek: :)
     
  10. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Sorry for your well problems.... I think you have had some good advice about checking around your area and getting recommendations for a reputable firm to work on your well. I am no expert here but I am thinking that you don't necessarily need a "water softner" to make your water more drinkable? I believe(if I understand the technology...yeah, right!LOL)that there are systems that will remove "iron bacteria" and other dissolved impurities that are not "softeners"? Hopefully someone more knowledgable can help with this.

    RE your laundry..I have many years of experience with this part! LOL Chlorine bleach will re act with iron and make your cloths yellow. Don't use it if you have iron in your water. Use other products for whitening like "BIZ"(powder) or non-chlorine bleaches. BIZ works well for me so that's what I use. I soak my dh's whites in it before washing. I find the calgon and vinegar works too..it's just individual preferences.

    Re buying drinking water. I prefer to drink water of my own..that's been tested and you know what's in it. I guess it's silly but I don't trust bottled water at all! Chances are it comes from your local rivers or whatever anyway, and I just feel it's silly to pay for bottled water when you don't have to if your well is testing out safe to drink. Of course it goes without saying that if your water is not safe to drink, that's another tune altogether.

    Have you guys been following the suit over in England about the makers of the bottled water that's taken from the Thames? Interesting.

    Good luck with your well, that is a hard thing to deal with. LQ
     
  11. River

    River Well-Known Member

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    Beth C,

    If it was my well, I would try it for a while, now. You have little to lose and a lot to gain. It appears evident your problem was the power to the pump, not the well.

    As for the iron: we use a product Culligan sells called an "Iron Curtain." It provides the extra oxygen the iron needs to precipitate out, and a flushable filter to filter it out. It uses an air pump -- no chemicals. This is not a potassium permangenate filter. The Iron Curtain works very well for us, although our problem is hydrogen sulfide, not iron. Nonetheless, we are very pleased with it.

    A softener is not made to deal with iron. Some iron will be removed because it picks up some oxygen "somewhere," then is filtered in the softener's filter. If your water is hard, by all means, put in a softener, but if it is not hard, consider the Iron Curtain.

    Oh, at another house with hard water and iron, we were able to help things along by using "Iron Out" sprinkled in with the salt in the softener. We had a Kinetico softener, and it worked great.

    Good luck!

    River
     
  12. nappy

    nappy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Beth, I put the yellowed ("supposed-to-be-white") clothes into the Calgon/vinegar mixture before regular washing. Then wring them out - any leftover mixture could be reused), place into washer and wash as usual. Isn't it odd how only white cotton clothes seem to be affected by iron in the water? I do believe as others do that your water should be tested as to minerals, bacteria, and hardness. In my state you can contact the health department for bottles to send in for testing. If I remember correctly, it was less than $20 to do tests but that was a few years ago. We also had our water tested at Sears and Home Depot to make sure the tests were fair before buying a softener. Hubby was able to install it himself without any problems. Water in wells change over time so occasional testing is important no matter how good it tastes. Hope it works out for you.

    Nappy
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Regarding the iron problem.....what materials are the casing, the down pipe in the well, the water storage tank, and the in the wall plumbing in the house? These items are tremendous contributors of iron if they are galvanized metal with age on them.
     
  14. Beth C

    Beth C Guest

    Thanks again guys! I can deal with the iron as long as the water is safe which I'll have tested and if it is, we'll continue to use the well but will check into improving it. I didn't know I was making the clothes worse by using bleach, thanks for the heads up!

    Fordy... The well was dug 50 years ago, and we live out in the boonies so I think it would be safe to assume it was put in the easiest way possible. I was told about the peagravel and cement from the well guy. Fordmajor said something about replacing the present casing (short) with new casing and (maybe?) peagravel and cement. I am hoping to get more details on that. Alot of improvements have been made in the way they are put in to keep the uglies out. Thanks again!

    Nappy... Thanks for the 411. I'll give it a try! :D

    Agmantoo...I don't know what the casing is made of but the down pipe is pvc and the house was built in 91 so the pipes to the house, (which I haven't climbed under the house to see) are probably not too out of date but I'll have the youngn' help me take a gander at them. Thanks!
     
  15. Some places (like my part of southern Minnesota) just plain has hard water. Lots of hardness, and lots of iron. The 'typical' cheap water softener won't handle this. you will need to spend some bucks on a better system to really make a difference.

    Here at the farmhouse we use rainwater collected from the roof for all washing & well water for the toilets, drinking, watering, & the livestock.

    --->Paul
     
  16. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    by short do you mean the casing is under ground? a plumber friend is exdending the casing above ground too meet code and prevent contamination by welding more casing onto the well. putting in new casing worked for our neigbours well but that was 30 years ago and might not be to code .ask around from local long time residents to get a feel for an honest plumber . will try and post more later just busy coping with melt and lambs