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Thread: Angry Wife

  1. #1

    Default Angry Wife

    I have been reading the posts on this forum for the last couple of months and want to say that there is a lot of great information here, thanks.
    Now for my question, I have a 260' deep well about 20 years old and for the last year or so I have been getting pieces of rust about 1/8th" and smaller that plug up the toilet fill valves and aerators on the faucets, which is a big pain in the butt since they have to be cleaned nearly every day (a chore my wife is getting very frustrated with). I get about one tablespoon of rust in the tub after running the cold water for one minute. I have been thinking about installing some kind of inline screen filter but am not sure what type or brand might work best. Since my tank is in a crawlspace I want to bring it up through the floor into my utility room for ease of cleaning. Any ideas?
    Also should I drain and clean out the pressure tank?

    Thanks,
    Steve

    Last edited by Terry; 06-07-2008 at 05:05 PM.

  2. #2
    DIY Member Greg Mueller's Avatar
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    If it were me, I'd try to figure out where the rust could be coming from and fix it. Does you house have galvanized (iron) pipes in the walls? How old is the pressure tank? Does the well have a steel casing or pvc? etc etc

    In other words, I'd try to fix the cause and not the symptoms

  3. #3
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    You need a water test for iron, hardness and pH at least. TDS, sulfates, chloride and Coliform bacteria would be good too.

    A screen or disposable cartridge filter isn't going to help much and may simply block up fairly quick.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  4. #4
    DIY Member Greg Mueller's Avatar
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    Is it only the toilet that has the problem?

  5. #5
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    You need a water test for iron, hardness and pH at least. TDS, sulfates, chloride and Coliform bacteria would be good too.

    A screen or disposable cartridge filter isn't going to help much and may simply block up fairly quick.
    ..
    Gary, I am curious as to how you can use this data to form a conclusion as to the root cause of his symptoms?

    Let's say the iron content is moderately high, the hardness is moderately high, and the pH is relatively neutral..... how does this information reveal the root cause of the problem- i.e. maybe the 40 year old casing is rotting away or maybe the drop pipe is heavily corroded?

  6. #6
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Chick, a water test will tell us if there is iron in the water causing teh rust build up in the pipes, or not. That does go to the root cause of the rust in the tub and toilet valves symptoms, no?

    If he doesn't have enough iron to cause the problem, then there is probably a galvanized nipple in the wall causing rust in the tub, or a piece of galvanized that low pH acid water is rusting. The analysis data would be needed even if he tore a wall open to find out if there is any galvanized pipe, right?

    Also, he wants info on installing a type of filter that will not remove soluble iron that can build up in pipes, so IMO he should get a water test before he does anything with any type of filter but only after a water test can he identify what type of filter if any would solve the problem. And almost no one could or would pull their drop pipe to find out if it is galvanized and rusted internally and if it was then replace it. And if they did, and had iron in their water, they'd need a water test then anyway, no?
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  7. #7
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I sure won't argue about testing the water, but my first thought was a 20 year old well with galvanized pipe equals rust. Now, if it's not galvanized pipe, then my theory can be flushed as soon as the toilet is operable.

  8. #8
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    Chick, a water test will tell us if there is iron in the water causing teh rust build up in the pipes, or not. That does go to the root cause of the rust in the tub and toilet valves symptoms, no?
    I wasn't arguing or insinuating anything, I am here to learn.

    All the wells in my area have high iron content and slightly hard water. Most of the houses still have steel well casings and galvanized pipe. We pump very clear water that shows color only after the iron has been exposed to air. People here seem quite satisfied using only a softener.

    Me, I can't stand the feeling of softened water so I clean the rust ring from my toilet every few days and enjoy regular hard water showers.

  9. #9
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Chick, black iron pipe casing rarely rusts below the water line because it is in water where no oxygen can get to it; other than what is in the water. How that type of casing fails is from rusting through from the outside. The iron is ferrous iron and it enters the well with the recovery water.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  10. #10

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    Wow, looks like I started quite a discussion. The casing is black iron or steel and the drop pipe is galvanized with galvanized pipe from the well to a dielectric union just before the pressure tank then copper from there on. The water is clear from the well and I don't get rusty looking water or stains when it sits in the dog's water bowl or the toilet bowl, however the toilet tank is coated with fine rust. I am able to pick up the large pieces of rust with a magnet so I am assuming it is coming from the casing or the drop pipe. If the water contained soluable rust wouldn't it stain the concrete patio? I don't have any rust stains on the patio or side walks all of which get lots of water during the summer. The water was tested shortly after drilling and was good but very hard (how offten should it be tested?).
    One thing I have been curious about is when I built the house the power company insisted that I use the well casing a ground as well as driving a ground rod near the meter. I feel the using the casing as a ground would cause electrolysis and eventual deterioration, and am wondering if this is where my problem lies.
    By the way the pressure tank is 20 years old, looks good on the outside but we all know that it's whats on the inside that counts.

  11. #11
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I haven't seen any arguing and discussion is good, that's how we learn things.

    Ferrous iron when oxidized becomes ferric iron, common household rust and it should be able to be picked up by a magnet. The rust in the toilet tank says you have some ferrous iron in the water as it goes into the tank. And new well water quality changes as time goes by, so IMO a water test is needed.

    I don't agree with the use of well casing as a building ground electrode but the code writers didn't ask me what I thought when they started insisting people had to do that... lol Millions of well casings are not 'grounded' and no one has had a problem with that until lately. Millions of houses and other buildings have not used the well casing as the grounding electrode and they haven't had problems either. So I agree, doing so may cause a problem but I do not believe you can say that is the cause of the rust particles. I may be wrong, but it takes more than an assumption to prove it.

    You don't mention any galvanized in the wall at the tub. In many cases there is a galvanized nipple used there, and the tub isn't used for hours and the water rusts the galvanized discoloring the water in the tub or allowing rust particles.

    IF the rust particles are coming from the pipe or casing etc., then a filter housing without a cartridge in it on the outlet of the pressure tank will catch the particles.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  12. #12

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    I am not sure what the plumber used in the wall to connect the copper pipe to the tub fixture so I will have to do some exploratory sugery. However I think the problem is farther back in the system since I am also getting the larger paricles in the toilet fill valves too, and my wife just informed me that she is having to clean them from the faucet screen to the washing machnie also.
    So it looks like my next step is a water test, I will post the results when I get them.

  13. #13
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Then you have a system wide problem and probably would benefit from a housing without a cartridge in it. You can get one at most big box or hardware stores for maybe $20. It would be installed on the outlet of your pressure tank. Get one with a valve-in-head design so you don't need another shut off valve on the outlet of the housing to be able to isolate it when you need to clean the sump out. That assumes there is a water shut off valve on the tank outlet now.

    I'd still like to know the iron and hardness content and pH of the water.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  14. #14

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    I had the same rust and particle problems including manganese(black elongated particles). I replaced all well pipe with PVC but casing is steel. The plastic did not solve problem, but I like how it is cleaner. Then I installed one of those cartridge filters, about one gallon size, between the tank and the pipe to the house. I take the cartridge out and hose it off about once per month.

  15. #15
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Any type of filter must be installed downstream of the pump's pressure control switch. Doing otherwise will very likely cause the pump to cycle improperly anytime there is a restriction caused by the filter. This cycling will greatly shorten the life of the pump.

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