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What are Well-Water Filters?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Well-water filters are filters which treat well water before it reaches the tap, removing impurities, sediment, and pathogens. Use of a filter on well water is designed to ensure that the water is pure and safe to drink, and to improve the flavor of the water. Home supply stores sometimes sell well water filters, as do plumbing suppliers, and they can also be ordered directly through specialty companies.

When people use an artesian well as a source of water, their water is generally safe to drink, since it comes from an impermeable pocket under the Earth's crust, making impurities unlikely. Wells in permeable areas of the water table, however, are subject to contamination from runoff, septic leach fields, and a variety of other sources. Well-water filters can remove many of the potential contaminants from the water, rendering it safe to drink.

In addition to removing some bacteria and viruses, a well-water filter can also trap sediment, which can make water look unsightly, in addition to adding a bad taste. Sand, rust, and dirt can all get into well water, filling it with sediments which are not necessarily harmful, but are potentially unpleasant to drink. Sediment filtration is also good for the plumbing, as it reduces buildups and blockages caused by sediment, and eliminates sediment staining of sinks, toilets, showers, and clothing.

It is possible to install well-water filters in several different locations. Some people install them directly at the pump, filtering the water as soon as it is brought to the surface. Well-water filters can also be placed at the inlet to the home, filtering drinking water while leaving irrigation water untouched. People may also choose to selectively filter individual taps, as for instance in the case of concerns about bacteria in the water which could cause sickness if the water was left unfiltered.

Before installing well-water filters, it is a good idea to test the water to see whether or not it needs to be filtered, and if so, for what. Some public health departments offer free well water testing, in the interest of public safety, while in other cases, it may be necessary to send a sample to a lab for testing. Once the water has been tested, the resulting list of contaminants and sediments can be used when shopping for a well-water filter. For example, if rust is a concern, seeking out a well-water filter which advertises rust filtration is important. Periodic retesting of filtered water is also recommended, to monitor the effectiveness of the filter.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By aLFredo — On Sep 15, 2011

The house my husband and I live in now is the first house I have ever been in that has not had water hook-up so we have well water.

We found something else interesting about well water filters. If your water pressure is lower than usual, it might be time to change the well water filtration filters!

We moved into this house and could not believe at how low of a pressure the water came out, so we called a plumber with well water experience and were excited when he thought it would be an easy fix as he guessed the filters might be the culprit.

The filters hadn't been changed in so long that they were acting as a blockage as opposed to a filter. Once we changed them out the water pressure increased.

I don't think the pressure is as strong as non-well systems, but it is better.

By sunshined — On Sep 15, 2011

When we moved to our house a few miles out of town, we didn't have the option of rural water hook up, so used the well water that was already on the property.

I don't know if the people who lived there before us ever used any kind of filters or not. One of the first things I did was have shower water and drinking water filters installed for our water.

There must have been some rust in the water because I always had a hard time keeping the bathtub clean and it always looked dirty to me.

After a few years, we had the option to hook up to a rural water system they were putting in. I was excited about having the rural water instead of using the well water all of the time.

By SarahSon — On Sep 14, 2011

When we lived in the country we used a well for all of our water. We had horses that didn't always have a natural source of drinking water, so also used the well water for our horses.

We did have a filter installed for our well water system to keep out any sediment and hopefully improve the taste of the water.

I had a reverse osmosis system in the house for our drinking water, so didn't usually use the well water for drinking.

We also had a water softener installed so the water that was used for laundry and showers was not hard water.

We never had any problems with our well or the quality of the water. Even though I had a filter installed, I wasn't very good about changing it very often so don't know if it did as much good after a long period of time.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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