Well water pump question

My wife and I purchased a home on five acres that has well water. Had a home inspection and the inspector didn’t note any problems with the well. We were at the house yesterday, doing some work prior to move in and when we flushed the toilet or ran water from the faucet noticed a “pulsation” and fairly loud sound. It seems to be in sync with the operation of the outside pump drawing water from the well. Not sure what to make of it and we will get someone out to look at it, but wondering what the issue might be. I am not familiar with a well, so I can’t even speculate. My father suggested that the pressure tank might not have enough pressure built up in it to provide a stay flow, but the water from the faucets was smooth with no drop in pressure. The system is straight well with no water softer. Also, the home was a second home for the previous owner and saw very little use over the last two years. Any suggestions would be helpful.

As for a follow up question, I remember as a kid washing cars at my friends house in their well water. This would always leave spots after drying caused by the mineral rich water. Anyone know of a hose filter that can be used to prevent this?

Pulsing like you described is generally caused by air in the lines. It could just be because it has set for a while. It sounds like after you ran it for a bit you had no further issues. If it is a reoccurring problem come back with as much info as you have and I’ll walk you through troubleshooting.

Helpful info is:
Is the pump in the well or not?
What does the pressure tank look like?
Where is the pressure switch?
How deep is the well?
What is water level?

A standard in line filter will take care of most spotting issues. You could either use one for the whole house or one on the hose. A set up I use is a whole house filter with hose fittings so I can attach it to a spigot.

Caused by being unused sounds good to me. I’m not a plumber or a well guy, but I have a shallow well pump. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the response, I may update later next time we go out there if it doesn’t resolve itself. To clarify, the pulsation was not visible in the stream of water, but noticed in sound and vibration. That is why I discounted air in the lines as I thought if it was air there would be sputtering at the faucet. Thanks for the info on the filters.

I am not a well or plumbing person, but my first thought is your pressure tank is defective or has lost its air cushion. If it is an old-style one with an air pocket, it may have to be drained and reset. If it has a bladder, it may be shot.

A home inspector is not qualified to test water, well or plumbing beyond turning on and off a faucet. You need experts in these matters. In my state, a plumbing expert is not automatically qualified to be a well expert without additional certification and/or training, so you can see this can be specialized.

lack of air pressure in the pressure tank could transfer vibration from the pump to the pipes when the pump is running. air in the lines might cause vibrations as well when the pump is off.

Do you even HAVE a pressure tank?

Our NE AZ property has a well, a holding tank, a pressure tank, and potassium permanganate filtration system. There is a HELLUVA lot of iron in the water, and we had to get a decent filtration system so we weren’t dealing with orange water.

I’d either get an experienced plumber or even a well expert to check out your waterworks. You probably should call the County Extension Office to find out how to get your water tested, too.

We do have a pressure tank and I will be getting the water tested next week, it looks clear, but I can smell what I assume is sulfur. The same smell I have smelled in almost all homes that have well water.

Also, I will be calling a well company to come out and check it, I am so ignorant when it comes to wells I wanted to get some input from here to at least have a basic understanding of what the tech is telling me.

The likely cause(s) of the vibration issue seem to have been addressed.

As for a “filter” (whole-house or otherwise) that will remove dissolved minerals (i.e. hardness), no such filter exists (outside of very expensive reverse osmosis systems).

A typical whole-house filter does nothing more than remove sediment.

To remove dissolved minerals (i.e. reduce hardness), the typical solution is to install a water softener, which exchanges hardness ions (i.e. calcium and magnesium ions) with sodium ions. Water softeners can also be used to removed dissolved iron.

Spotting is usually undissolved minerals.

So, will just letting the water run resolve the issue if in fact it is air in the system? And thanks for all the responses!

No it would depend on why the air was being introduced.

if it is air in the pipes it will could with use depends on where it is trapped. you can try bleeding the air.

you need an air cushion in your pressure tank. if it is a newer tank with a bladder then check the pressure and add to it if needed. if it is an older bladderless tank then with the pump off, drain some water out of the tank while letting air in the top (if the is a valve for it).

on old pump systems it is best not to force things. you don’t want to break a valve or fitting and be without water. do repairs when local stores are open for parts or local repair people available.

Not all well water has a high mineral water.
On the ranch where I was raised the well water was almost pure. And the city where I live I always advise chewing the water before swallowing.
As a test spray some water on some glass and let dry.

Thanks, I will run the water for a while tomorrow and see if that clears the lines, if notice will call a tech and let a professional take a look at it.

We were told not to count on a water softener to remove any quantity of iron.

Water treatment isn’t a one size fits all solution. there are different ways to treat and different reasons to do so.

Iron in water comes in two basic forms ferrous(clear water) and ferric(red water).

In your case, you may have a large amount of ferrous iron which softeners are very ineffective at treating. A manganese green sand filter is a different approach. It is a very effective physical filter that can chemically hold an oxidizer potassium permanganate. Oxidizing the iron changes the state of ferrous iron so it can be physically filtered.

Before you start washing cars and such, do you know anything about the volume of water your well can provide? We have a well, and are pretty cautious about water use, especially during dry periods. We’ve never run out of water, but know people who have.

What you describe may be water hammer which is a destructive resonating of the pipes caused by the piping system dimensions matching the resonance frequency of the pressure waves in the water and amplifying them when some water is flowing, even a very small amount. This can shake your pipes apart and has nothing to do with being on a well.

I believe the easy solution is to install some form of shock arrestor, basically a small air-bladder, near the faucet that is responsible for causing the vibration.

But when you hear that noise move fast, flush a toilet, get water moving somewhere to stop that noise.

In my parents house they have it when a toilet valve doesn’t seat right and some water continues to enter the tank after it should shut off.

My town has high dissolved iron (in ferrous form). When exposed to air, it oxidizes to the ferric form. This can be seen in toilet tanks, for instance.

The common solution in my area for residential treatment is to use water softeners. I would have preferred a more appropriate treatment like a greensand filter (which is what the Town’s water treatment plant uses), but could not find any local installers who would install and maintain such a filter in a residence.

So I went with a water softener as well, and it works pretty well. As I recall, our water has about 4-6 ppm dissolved iron.