We often talk to customers about their water treatment needs then recommend equipment and a treatment process but the water treatment is only a part of your water distribution system. There are several components in your plumbing system from the well pump to the faucets. Water treatment equipment and plumbing system require routine maintenance to operate or perform properly.
You have done a water test, purchased new equipment and are now removing contaminants in the water source but did you flush the plumbing system?
Typically a water treatment system installation on a new home doesn’t require much ancillary maintenance. However, if you installed a water treatment system on an existing well there is a good chance that the plumbing system (piping, water heater, well, well pump and tank) is holding contaminants that are not being addressed by the water treatment system. The water treatment system will treat “new” water introduced to the plumbing system but does not treat build up in the system. Here are some good practices for well water treatment/plumbing systems;
If you have a private well it is a good practice to chlorinate the well and plumbing system once a year to ensure that you are destroying bacteria and other contaminant build up. Often times a new treatment system is installed and is working great then suddenly a smell or discoloration appears in the water stream a few weeks later. This is due to build up in the plumbing system after the newly installed treatment system. Contaminants like bacteria can grow from a dead spot in the pipe back to the new treatment system and cause and odor or other issues. After installing a water treatment system you should always chlorinate the well and the plumbing system to ensure you are starting at “ground zero”. Once the entire system has been chlorinated and the new system is working properly, the bacteria should not come back.
Regardless of the situation a well should be chlorinated once a year, especially if there is a known bacteria problem. In cases where there is known bacteria a treatment process should be in place to prevent it from reaching the plumbing system such as ultraviolet light or ozone. You can get a well chlorination kit here;
Most well systems use a pressure tank for volume and ballast. This pressure tank can have contaminants buildup inside because it is prior to most water treatment systems. This tank should be flushed once a quarter to ensure that buildup doesn’t make its way to the water treatment system. Most pressure tanks have a flush valve on the tank tee manifold. A garden hose can be attached to this valve and ran to a drain. One a quarter you will open this valve and flush the pressure tank until the water runs clear. This will help maintain the entire system as well as the pressure tank.
Sediment filters should be changed on an “as needed” basis. Sometimes sediment levels in the water stream will dictate the frequency. Typically all sediment filters should be replaced once a year or cleaned once a year. The indicating factor would be a pressure or flow loss in the home. Typically we install pressure gauges before and after sediment filters to monitor this pressure. Most filters will cause a slight pressure drop when they are new (3-7 PSI) but when they begin to get clogged the pressure drop increases. Once the pressure drop (difference from the inlet and outlet pressure readings) reaches 12 PSI, the filter should be changed. If you have bacteria or if you want an added sense of security you can add an anti-microbial sediment filter to your system. The need for these filters is really based on the contaminants and the treatment equipment. Here is a link to those filters;
Chemical Injection Points
When injecting chemicals for treatment, there may be buildup or crystals on the injections point depending on the chemical being injected. This is most common with chlorine injection. The injector should be removed once a quarter and cleaned to ensure the injector doesn’t become clogged. If the injector is clogged a leak may occur but more importantly the chemical will not be injected in the water stream. This is also common in soda ash injections.
Chemical Storage Tanks
Chemical storage tanks typically don’t require much maintenance. It really depends on the chemical being stored. Soda Ash may require periodic mixing to ensure it stays in solution.
The other concern is that the chemical being stored can lose concentration if not used in a timely manner. Once you have a trend on chemical usage, you shouldn’t store more chemical than you can use in 6-8 months. Chemical that loses strength may not be affectively treating the water. Always try to use the chemical in a timely manner.
Ultraviolet light works great for destroying bacteria but maintenance is crucial for UV to continue to work properly. UV works of the principle of intense light passing through the water. The bulbs usually last about 9000 hours (1 year) and the intensity decreases and they are no longer affectively destroying the bacteria. However, changing the bulb may not be enough. Most UV systems have a quartz (glass test tube) sleeve that isolates the water from the UV bulb. If this glass is coated with a contaminant it can reduce the light that makes it to the water stream. It is recommenced that in applications where there is potential staining (iron, hardness, manganese, tannins) that these quartz sleeves should be removed and cleaned with alcohol to ensure they are able to pass the light without restriction. You can us a flashlight to check them but it is better to remove and clean them regardless. Also and important tip is that you use rubber gloves with touching the quartz sleeve and light bulb to keep oils from your skin off the surfaces. Oils can cause problems especially with the bulb.
A water heater (unless it is tank-less) can store contaminants and buildup and should be flushed every 4-12 months depending on the application. Build up in this tank can cause smells and other issues. Typically there is a flush valve on most water heaters that will accept a garden hose. Flush the water heater until the water runs clear.
Water Treatment System
The water treatment system maintenance will depend on the type of system you purchase. A US Water Systems representative can help you with a maintenance plan for the water treatment equipment but the aforementioned items are something that everyone should practice.
It is recommended that annual testing be done to ensure the water treatment equipment is working properly. Here is a good annual water test;
pH levels and bacteria should be checked annually. These are time sensitive tests and should be performed locally. These should be done once a year in every well water application. Even if you don’t have bacteria today, you may have it next year.
Also, pay attention to the environment around you. If you have a lot of fields that are now being farmed close to you then you may want to periodically check for nitrates in the water. If there is a livestock farm nearby you should be doing bacteria testing. If there has been some major construction there could be an issue with ground water and surface water. Be on the lookout for changes in your area.
I hope these tips help you. If you have any questions or concerns, just give us a call at 1-800-608-8792