The well water here is very hard…

…thick with calcium and iron oxide, and abusive to anything it touches. Galvanized plumbing is right out; the water eats right through it. Plastic won’t dissolve, but calcium deposits eventually gum up moving parts – like toilet valves.

So before I installed the ivory throne this morning, and while it was conveniently in the shower tub anyway, I took the opportunity to clean out the tank and preemptively replace the plastic bits inside…

…which left another mess to clean up before I was done.

But now I can scratch that job off my summertime to-do list.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to The well water here is very hard…

  1. Ben says:

    Your new bathroom floor looks great! Tobie probably stays puzzled as to why you do things that have nothing to do with eating, sleeping or playing.

  2. Goober says:

    Has anyone in your area ever tried to set up a water treatment station?

    Greensand filters for iron, sodium form cathon exchanger for calcium? They look like big scuba tanks, and more or less take care of themselves outside of periodic NBD maintenance. They aren’t terrifically expensive, seems to me like between you and Ian you could pull together the funds and get a water treatment system that will eliminate your need to buy bottled water (plus the hassle) and also go easier on your things… and dogs.

  3. Joel says:

    Some neighbors used reverse osmosis for a while: Wasted so much water they had a pond surrounded by cattails. Also takes a lot of electricity. Canister filters work – briefly.

    Anyone with a water heater needs a water softener, and they can be had cheap. Water softeners turn out to be wonderful things when it comes to clothes washing and showers: My clothes are no longer useful as alternate sandpaper and my beard isn’t always stiff. But to make one work you need a threshold of water pressure that requires a water pump/pressure tank, which on top of being very expensive and trouble-prone also take a lot of electricity. My water comes from gravity down a 50-foot head: Fine for faucets but not enough for a water softener.

  4. Terrapod says:

    A throne worthy of a king. Truly the most important invention of the 18th Century and possibly of all civilization – the flushing commode with trap.

  5. Dan says:

    Consider installing a spin down filter followed by a 5 micron filter. It make a huge difference.

  6. Robert says:

    Goober: NBD? Never Been Done?

    Terrapod: My late father was a Master Plumber; one of his trade books had an introduction that was a paean to the benefits of plumbing. It was downright inspirational.

  7. Joel says:

    Terrapod, I said exactly the same thing six years ago…

    Let us now praise Alexander Cummings

    Greatest invention in the history of mankind. I stand – and occasionally sit – in awe of its simple elegance, its ability to make one of life’s most noisome byproducts simply go away, at the press of a small lever.

  8. bravokilo says:

    Your sink pressure gauge showed a high enough pressure for under-sink RO systems; higher than my city supply. I get one gallon of water for every three gallons used. With four people, I suppose we waste 12 gal or so per day. Hardly a pond full.

    Then there’s lifestraws.
    The Berkey sink-side filter is established tech.
    And then there’s the ultimate system I want so much I can taste it:
    Even though it’s from Amazon. A good case can be made that they let people die for their own political goals in 2020, but no one seems to care. And their logo is an erect penis. No one seems to care about that, either.

    You’re putting a lot of faith in the hygiene of some nameless water kiosk guy.

  9. Goober says:

    Robert: NBD is “no big deal”.


    Yes, you’re correct, most of these systems have a backwash system in them where they backwash once a day to clean themselves out. Mine uses about 10 gallons a day in backwash cycles.

    bravokilo – I don’t think lifestraws pull out minerals in solution, just particulates. It likely won’t work for calcium and iron. I’m suggesting a greensand filter for iron and the sodium form cathon for calcium. They’re essentially big scuba-tank looking dudes filled with the greensand and sodium, which come in bags and are essentially just like bags of sand. The greensand has a life of 5 years between changes, generally, and the sodium will need to be refilled periodically, like every couple of months, since it’s a consumable.

    But Joel is absolutely correct in that a system with both would use 10 gallons each per day for backwash cycles and would use a baseline current draw of “I have no idea how much because I’m on the grid so it never occurred to me to worry about it but if I was on solar it could possibly be an issue”.

To the stake with the heretic!