Help, My Well Water Filter Gets Dirty Fast!

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Depending on the type you have, well water filters usually have a lifespan of 3-12 months before they need to be replaced.

But if well water filter keeps getting dirty way before the recommended replacement period, it may indicate other underlying problems.

Don’t panic! Let’s go through the common causes for this and what to do.

Key Takeaways

  • In general, well water filters will get dirty no matter what.
  • Most last for 3 to 12 months before needing replacement.
  • If a filter gets dirty way before the recommended replacement period, this may indicate underlying problems such as well construction issues, inadequate well maintenance, plumbing issues, or wrong filter size.

What Causes a Well Water Filter to Get Dirty Fast?

It’s well understood that high sediment levels and other contaminants can make your well water filter reach the end of its lifespan faster than usual. But what causes your water to have a high concentration of sediment in the first place?

brown whole house water filter

Here are a few reasons why your well water filter may be getting dirty fast:

Well Construction Issues

Older wells are more likely to have problems with sediment because they may not have been built properly. If your well was constructed without a seal at the bottom, sediment could easily enter the water supply.

Additionally, rainwater can seep in and carry dirt and other particles into the well if the casing isn’t extended high enough above ground.

The well screen may have also degraded over time, allowing sediment to pass through more easily.

Inadequate Well Maintenance

If you don’t regularly maintain your well, it can fall into disrepair and start to allow sediment and other contaminants into the water. It’s important to have your well inspected by a professional every few years to ensure everything is in working order.

Plumbing Problems

If your home has older pipes, they may be corroding and leaching debris into the water. This occurrence is especially common if your water has high iron content. You’ll need to consult with a plumber to see if this is the case and get your pipes replaced.

If your well uses a submersible pump, the pump can become encrusted with sediment over time. This can happen if the water level in the well drops too low, exposing the pump to air and allowing sediment to settle on it.

Another cause could be that the pump is installed too low in the well, allowing sediment to accumulate around it.

Filter Too Small for the Pump Flow Rate

If your well pump is too powerful for your water filter, it can cause sediment to bypass the filter and enter your home’s water supply. This is because the high flow rate of water moving through the filter will create a pressure difference that allows sediment to bypass the media.

Weather Conditions

During periods of drought, water levels in wells can drop significantly. This exposes more of the well casing, allowing sediment and other contaminants to enter the water. It’s important to monitor your well during dry spells and have it inspected by a professional if you notice any changes.

Heavy rain can also affect your well water quality. Floodwaters can carry all sorts of contaminants that could end up in your well water. If you suspect that floodwaters have contaminated your water, it’s important to have it tested and treated by a professional.

High Water Usage

If you find you’re replacing well water filters more frequently, it could be because your home uses a lot of water. A family of four that does a lot of laundry and dishes will put more strain on the system than a single person living alone.

If this is the case, you may simply need to find a larger filtration system or form habits to save water.

How to Solve a Dirty Well Water Filter

Before attempting any solution, it’s best to get the opinion of a well professional first. Well water often comes with issues you typically would not encounter in city water.

Having said that, here are some solutions that can address your dirty well water filter.

Flush Out Your Water Filter System

One way to try and clean your well water filter is by flushing it out with high-pressure water. This will remove any sediment or dirt that might be clogging up the system. You can do this yourself if you have a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle. Just attach the hose to the inlet valve and open it up for a few minutes.

If you don’t have a high-pressure nozzle, you can also take the filter cartridge out and clean it with a hose. Be sure to put the cartridge back in properly so it can continue doing its job.

This solution may not fix the problem in many cases and it’s only really suited for sediment-type filters, but it’s a good way to start. It’s especially helpful after you’ve done construction work near your well.

Have Your Well Repaired

If you suspect your well has structural issues like collapse or screen degradation, contact a well contractor to have it checked and repaired. It’s not a good idea to try and fix these problems yourself unless you have expert knowledge on how wells work.

Well with Well Cap

Get Your Water Tested

If the quality of your well water is the problem, the first thing to do is to get your well water tested. This will help you identify whether you need to adjust your filtration system or find a more comprehensive solution.

There are many types of water tests available, but you should generally have your water tested for bacteria, heavy metals, nitrates, dissolved solids, and pH levels.

You can either hire a professional to test your water or purchase a water testing kit and do it yourself. We recommend doing the former.

If you have any questions about dirty well water filters please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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