5 Ways Your Home Tells You It’s Time to Test Your Well Water

Across America, more than 43 million people rely on water from private water wells. While most people have heard that they should test their water regularly, only half have tested their water in the last ten years. Only one in ten has tested their water in the last twelve months. 

While writing “water testing” on the same date on your calendar every year is preferable, there are several ways your home will give you irrefutable proof that an immediate water test is needed. 

Go ahead and keep that recommended annual schedule for testing your well water, but if you forget or let the schedule slip, monitor your home for the signs below as a reminder to order an immediate water test. They could show up on your sinks, bathtubs, toilets or appliances or in reduced water pressure or water leaks.

Signs You Need to Test Your Water Right Away

As soon as you see any of these signs, a fast water test and correction of the problem can minimize damage to your plumbing fixtures. 

  • Blue-green stains on plumbing fixtures: It’s likely that your water is acidic which causes it to leach metals out of your pipes. This can add iron, copper, lead and zinc to your water. Small amounts of iron, copper or zinc are not harmful to health but higher amounts can result in liver or kidney damage. Any amount of lead in water is dangerous. Exposure to lead can cause nervous system damage, hearing problems, intellectual problems, and blood disorders. A neutralizing filter can correct the pH of your well water. 
  • Brown or red stains: This water contains dissolved iron. These stains may be seen indoors on plumbing fixtures or outside on walls that are sprayed by irrigation systems. Iron in well water can provide nutrients for iron bacteria to grow in your well. These bacteria are not known to cause illness but the slimy material they produce can clog pipes and pumps. Over time, the dissolved iron itself can clog appliances, pumps and sprinklers. To eliminate iron from your well water, it is important to work with a water treatment specialist as there are three different types of iron and each one requires a different type of filtering system. 
  • Crusty deposits: Excessive amounts of magnesium and calcium in water cause crusty whitish buildup on faucets and pipes. Unfortunately, the same deposits will build up inside pipes, reducing water pressure and damaging appliances. These minerals enter your well water from natural deposits in the rock around your home. Large parts of the Central and Western United States, from Texas to North Dakota, plus the Great Lakes area, have very hard water. A water-softening system removes these excess minerals. 
  • Reduced water pressure: While this can occur from a buildup of minerals in pipes, it can also result from increasing sediment in the well. Eliminating sediment could require repairing the well itself. Aging pumps can begin to bring up more sediment, or the pump may need to be raised up from the bottom of the well. If sediment is a chronic problem in your region, a sediment filter can remove it. 
  • Leaky plumbing: If your home has metal pipes, corrosive water will eat away at them over time. Finally, pinhole leaks can develop. You could get tiny leaks in multiple areas. The leaks could be so small that they look like mineral deposits on the outside of these pipes or at the connection between water pipes and a hot water heater. Or the leaks could be worse, soaking cabinets or other structures. You can prevent further corrosion with a neutralizing filter but copper pipes prone to this corrosion should be replaced with PVC pipes when possible. 

Annual Water Testing Keeps You Ahead of This Damage

By testing your water annually, you can usually stay ahead of this damage to plumbing fixtures, pumps, appliances or water pipes. Whenever you notice these signs developing between tests, it’s time for a professional analysis of your water. The Basic Water Test from ETR Labs checks for pH, sediment, iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, zinc and many other substances you don’t want in your water. Click here to order this test today.