Living with Well Water: What to Expect

For people who are living in rural areas, wells are the most common way to bring potable running water into the home. However, some people are not used to the many differences between well water and county provided water; some of them might come as a shock. Well water is free aside from the initial digging and occasional maintenance, and many women find that their hair is much softer and easier to manage when they go from chlorinated water to well water; therefore, there are many benefits that come with the somewhat shocking properties of well water.

Drastic Difference In Smell

Depending on the home’s location, well water could have an off odor, vastly different from the pungent smell of chlorine. This odor is most commonly associated with rotten eggs; this is simply elemental sulfur, and is harmless. If the odor is more metallic, it may have an excess of metal, such as iron. Any other smelly odors could be bacterial growth, which needs to be eliminated quickly through well shocking. Well water should be tested regularly to detect any water quality issues.

Freezing During Cold Winters

If the well equipment is located in a crawl space or in an outdoor well house, there is a risk for freezing equipment. In order to prevent freezing, ensure that buried lines are never exposed, that all equipment is well insulated, and that exposed lines are insulated with pipe insulation or heat tape. Always leave water dripping when outdoor temperatures drop into or below the low 20’s, as this will keep water moving through the pump, well, water lines, and pressure tank.

Hard Water Stains and Buildups

Unfortunately, hard water tends to leave stains and scale or mineral buildup. Calcium and lime may build up on shower heads and faucets, while iron might leave an orange tinged stain in sinks and tubs. Dishes will likely have spotting or cloudy residues, which is generally calcium or lime residue. Be sure to remove buildup from these fixtures frequently to maintain water flow and to prevent erratic spraying.

Well water may take some time to adjust to. Those who are new to well water shouldn’t be alarmed by some of its harmless, elemental properties.