Why Are Your Water Filters Clogging So Fast?

Anyone who has installed a water treatment or filtration system knows that their system requires regular maintenance. Some systems need to have filters replaced on a set schedule. Water softeners need to have salt added. Sediment filters must be removed, cleaned and replaced.

Once you learn the schedule and procedure for maintaining your filters or treatment systems, sticking to this schedule becomes a rote habit that protects both your investment and your water quality. 

But what if your filters are clogging faster than usual? What can cause this problem? And are there any solutions for an annoying increase in the frequency of cleaning or replacing filters?

5 Common Reasons Clogs Become More Frequent

  1. Problem: Sediment filters are being clogged with minerals like magnesium, calcium or rust.
    Solution: Check the pH of your water. More acidic water will cause faster clogging and damage to appliances and pipes. A neutralizing filter can be added to the system to move the pH closer to neutral. Also note the age of the well because old wells typically produce more sediment.
  2. Problem: Algae and bacteria multiply rapidly and clog filters before replacement is due.
    Solution: The well must be thoroughly disinfected. If biomass has developed, the well must be professionally cleaned as well as disinfected. A well with a severe bacteria or algae problem may require multiple rounds of disinfection. 
  3. Problem: Heavy rains, snow melt or flood waters have infiltrated a well and introduced dirt, sand or silt that has clogged the filter.
    Solution: Inspect the well cap to make sure it is in good repair and snugly closes off the well. Also, make sure that any openings for electrical connections are sealed. The well cap should be at least 12 inches off the ground. Eighteen inches is better. A proper well cap is your best defense against future infiltration. Of course, a well that has been infiltrated in this way must be disinfected before being used. 
  4. Problem: Your well cap is in good repair but dirt continues to clog your filter.
    Solution: First, check the age of the well. An older well will typically cause more sediment to enter the water supply. Then request an inspection of your well. Damage to the casing can cause sediment to enter your well water. You may also need to repair your pump; for example, a well screen may need to be replaced. It’s also possible that changes to the bedrock are causing sediment to enter your well water. Consider adding a sediment filter to your system if the problem persists. 
  5. Problem: High water usage means that filters are being used up more quickly.
    Solution: Contact your filtration company and go over your water usage, the number of residents in the household and any other changes that affect water use. It may simply be that your household now requires a larger filtration system. 

Regular Water Tests Are Part of Proper Well Maintenance

In most cases, finding the solution for rapid water filter clogs necessitates knowing exactly what contaminants are in your water. Getting a test of your well water done at least once a year will provide you with detailed information about any of these contaminants that could be using up your filters prematurely. 

If you have not tested your water recently (or if you have never tested it), then a comprehensive test is the best way to start. Thereafter, a basic water test annually will keep you informed of any changes.

Of course, if you notice a change in water quality or taste, if your filters start clogging quickly again, or if there are illnesses in the household, then it’s time to run another test. 

Always note the date of your water tests on your calendar and set a reminder for yourself to order a new test in a year. Proper well and filter maintenance are vital parts of keeping your water quality high.

ETR Laboratories offers just about every water test you could possibly need, with fast turnaround and caring service after you get your test results. Call us when you get your report if you need to know what action to take to remedy any problems that show up in your test results. We are happy to help. Check out our water tests now.