Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yum, Rust!

My house has well water. For years I've been on city-water, which typically has less "flavor". After developing a taste for no taste in my water, it's been an adjustment being on well-water again. The slight taste I can live with. Heck, it's only tastes a little bit like minerals. My biggest issue with it has been the rust in the water. To be honest, I don't know if this is rust from the well line, rust from the water table, or from where, but it's there none-the-less. The most telling sign of it has been in the new toilet I installed. The first time I really noticed it I almost accused one of the kids of not flushing after a whiz. The water just looked yellow-ish. The longer it sat, the more it turned color. I also noticed some slight staining streaks in the toilet bowl. No, not those streaks - I know what (who) made those. These are the streaks which come from around the water inlet holes around the top of the bowl. NOT IN MY NEW TOILET, says I. I figured that short of a high-end full filtering system, I can at best hope to get the rust and other minerals down to a manageable level. I looked at a number of filter systems, and decided to see if I could avoid spending big bucks. Some of those filter systems cost a few thousand dollars! Menards carries a cartridge-type system for about $40.00, with replacement cartridges costing around $12.00. Worth a shot. Here's what I got: a stand-alone filter with the connections for 3/4" copper.

Installation wasn't too tough, although the instructions are only written for people doing new plumbing. There really should have been mention in the instructions stating that if you are splicing this into existing plumbing, that you may need to get creative in order to get the filter connections on. I had to cut another 6" section out and then re-install it. Not a huge deal, but it did mean another run to the local ACE Hardware. Once installed, I bled the lines of air and it now filters all water before the water gets to the water softener. I am not filtering any water which goes out to the front or rear hose bib. I'm hoping to get about 3 months of use out of the filter before it needs changing, but that time will be determined by how much crap I really have in the water lines. The handle at the top allows me to shut off the water to the house or to bypass the filter as needed. The crappy pipe fitting in this picture was not done by me. I did other crappy pipe fitting which I'm not posting pictures of.

Does it work? Surprisingly, it works better than I had expected it to. There is still a little taste to the water which doesn't surprise me. What did surprise me is how much rust it's trapped after only two days. Now I wasn't getting a glass full of rust each time I had some water, as I expect it was mostly caught by the water softener. In fact, every time I looked in the wash sink in the basement (where the water softener purges into) there was always a lot of rust-water splashed inside it. Today, it was far less than I had previously seen. Hopefully this means that my water softener is now having to work a lot less, too. That water softener is one of my next projects, by the way. I want to disconnect it and lay it down so I can flush it out - something which has probably never been done.

Click on the following pic for a larger size. You can actually see the rust! (sorry about the crappy photo quality. By the way, when it was new, the filter was completely black except for the nylon mesh around it.)


Smudgemo said...

Well water? Maybe you should get one of those test kits to make sure there isn't anything in the water the kids should avoid.

Since aquifers can be big, someone a ways away could have polluted without you knowing.

I hate the whole bottled-water thing, but there are some pretty nice filters available for drinking water.

Muskego Jeff said...

I talked to a couple of the neighbors shortly after moving in about the water. They both just laughed and said it looks crappy, but has been tested and is fine. As I get into the renovations on the full bathroom and the kitchen, I'm going to add additional filters by the sinks to help make sure that any water we drink is a little cleaner (and a little less smelly).