Saturday, July 25, 2015

Friday was water and electric day.  Prior to purchasing our property we had a well & pump company come out and take a look at our setup and test the water for safety.  The county test showed that the well water was safe for human consumption.  However, at our one of our home inspections, the inspector had me take a look in the toilet tank and it was pretty scary.  He said that even though the water was safe, most people do not drink it unless they have a water softener system.  

At his suggestion, I had the Cullogen man come out to take a look.  He did this nifty water test to give me a visual of the hard water.  We scored a 10.  Depending on the tester, where this falls on the scale of soft to hard could have a little variance, but 10 is always going to be high or right on the edge of high.  According to the World Health Organization website (WHO.Int) on drinking water guidelines, "There does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans. In contrast, the results of a number of epidemiological studies have suggested that water hardness may protect against disease. However, the available data are inadequate to prove any causal association."  The Water Research Center states that calcium and magnesium are the two most common minerals that make water hard.  Drinking water may contribute to healthier levels of these minerals in your body.  So the main concern with hardness in your water is that it wrecks your hot water heater, your pipes,  and your toilet.  It also causes you to use more electricity because it takes longer to heat hard water and it costs you more in personal hygiene products because hard water makes it more difficult to get a good lather from your soap and shampoo. Clothing washed in hard water doesn't last as long and doesn't look as clean.  Hard water leaves a film on everything requiring more cleaning.  Hardness is also associated with exzema due to the increased use of soaps.  The samples below show our water as it came out of the faucet and again after a substance was added to the water to make the minerals easier to view.

Also according to the Cullogen man, our well water has a relatively high iron content at just under 2 parts per million (ppm).  Upon doing some research, 2 ppm is somewhat acceptable.  At 3 ppm water discoloration, smell, taste and laundry are effected.  Clothes may not get white.  If using water for your lawn, washing your car, etc.,  you may get a layer of slime build up. The WHO does not find any health issues with iron in water.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has secondary recommendations for minerals with no health risk.  Recommendations are established for aesthetics (smell, taste, color) and home maintenance only.  The EPA recommends water above 3 ppm be treated with some sort of filter.  So again, maybe high but probably not unsafe for us.  

Last but not least to consider is the total dissolved solids (TDS).  According to WHO "TDS in water supplies originate from natural sources, sewage, urban and agricultural run-off and industrial wastewater." and "TDS is inorganic salts (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, bicarbonates, chlorides and sulfates) and organic matter dissolved in the water."   They have also done testing which puts water at under 300 ppm as excellent in taste.  Another concern is pharmaceuticals which are more of an issue with the city/county water than with a personal well.  So far, I have been unable to find city or county level for local TDS levels.  Cullogen told me city water is usually around 200 ppm, we scored a 129. 

All things considered, the well water may actually be more beneficial than the city water.  We will probably test our water at the facet as we do get an odor in the house when the water is running but not at the well.  From the well, the water is clear and odorless.  Based on several conversations with the well/pump expert and our home inspector, the odor is from the pipes being dormant for so long or a bad anode in the water heater.  More on this later, as the source of odor is discovered and cured but for now.  The water is good, unless this terrible not stop rain has flooded the well.  We'll discover that later today. 


  1. Did you also test for arsenic? I'm not sure if it's a problem in Florida, but AFAIK, it can be one of the things that occurs in well water.

  2. Toivo, I believe they did. I talked to the inspector about arsenic. Based on where we are located it has not been a problem but there are areas in Hernando and Pasco where it has been an issue. We are ordering test kits and Kate is going to do a comparison between our well water straight from the source and coming out of our faucets and then compare the results with our water here in Temple Terrace.

  3. Iron in the water can be a problem, though, for people with hereditary hemochromatosis -- a disorder that causes your body to load too much iron, depositing it in the heart, joints, liver, pancreas and pituitary gland. Hemochromatosis is not uncommon among those of Irish extraction; in fact, in Ireland the prevalence of hereditary hemochromatosis is greater than that of cystic fibrosis, phenylketonuria and muscular dystrophy combined. Not to cause undue alarm! But it definitely is something to think about.

  4. Thank you! That is good to know.