Do You Have to Filter Well Water?

well water filter
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With the ever-growing threat of contamination in our water source, many people are considering whether to filter their well water. Although natural underground water sources tend to be safer than municipal supplies, there is still a risk of pollutants infiltrating your home’s drinking and bathing water.

To ensure your family’s safety, it is important to understand how filtering your well water can help protect against harmful contaminants.

Key Takeaway
  • Ensuring the safety of your well water, it is recommended to have it tested for iron regularly by a certified laboratory.
  • Many contaminants in water, including bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides, or nitrates, could pose health risks.
  • If homeowners find contaminants in their well water, they can use a water filtration system to treat well water and get pure drinking water.

Is It Safe to Drink Well Water?

Home well water is often a convenient and cost-effective option for households. However, many people wonder whether drinking well water without additional treatment or filtration is safe. The answer largely depends on the unique characteristics of each well and the surrounding environment.

The important step in ensuring the safety of your well water is to have it tested regularly by a certified laboratory. This will help you identify potential contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides, or nitrates, that may pose health risks.

Even if your test results come back clean initially, it’s important to continue monitoring your well water quality over time. Seasonal changes in rainfall patterns can impact groundwater levels and increase the risk of contamination during flooding or drought.

safe well water

Common Contaminants Found in Well Water

Well water can contain several contaminants that can affect the quality and safety of the water.


One of the most common contaminants found in well water is iron. High amount of iron smells like metallic odor in your well water, that’s why you may notice a metallic taste or odor in your drinking water. Iron can also stain fixtures such as sinks and toilets or leave rust-colored stains on clothing if used for laundry.


Another common contaminant found in well water is lead. When consumed, lead can accumulate in the body and cause serious health problems such as developmental delays, decreased IQ, and behavioral issues – especially in children.


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in rocks and soil that can seep into groundwater sources like wells. Arsenic contamination in well water can pose health risks to those who consume it regularly.


Bacteria can enter well water through various sources such as animal waste, sewage systems, and human activity. The most common types of bacteria found in well water include E.coli and coliforms. If ingested, these bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

glass of water with arsenic water under magnifying glass

Volatile Organic Compounds

VOC exposure in drinking water has been linked to various negative health effects, including liver damage, kidney failure, nervous system damage, reproductive issues, and cancer.


Nitrates occur naturally in soil and groundwater but can also come from human activities such as agriculture and industrial processes. When too much nitrate enters our drinking water supply, it can harm humans, especially infants under six months old.


While fluoride is often added to municipal drinking water to promote dental health, it can be harmful in high concentrations in well water.

Exposure to high fluoride levels in drinking water has been linked to various health problems, including skeletal fluorosis, which causes joint pain and stiffness, and dental fluorosis, which leads to discolored or spotted teeth.

fluoride from water faucet

When to Test Your Well Water

A change in water appearance, taste, and odor

When you rely on well water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, it is important to monitor any changes in its appearance, taste, and odor. These changes can indicate potential contamination or other issues with the well water system. If you notice a change in your well water’s quality, it is time to get water tested.

History of bacterial contamination

The history of bacterial contamination in your well water may be linked to various factors such as improper construction or maintenance of the well, contamination from nearby septic systems or livestock farms, and heavy rainfall events causing surface runoff. These factors can result in bacterial infiltration into your well water system, posing a risk to human health.

If you experience any signs of bacterial contamination in your well water, such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, it is time to test it immediately.

Floodwaters around the well

When flood waters surround your well, it is important to test your well water. Flooding can cause various contaminants to enter the groundwater and affect the quality of your drinking water. Testing will give you an idea of what chemicals and bacteria may be in the water so that you can take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your family.

Owners experience recurrent gastrointestinal illnesses.

If homeowners are experiencing recurrent gastrointestinal illnesses in their household, consider testing their well water. The symptoms, such as stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting after consuming well water, could indicate contamination.

Testing your well water regularly can help identify these contaminants before they reach unsafe levels that could harm you and your family’s health. Based on these results, you can also invest in an iron filter that can specifically remove excess iron from your water. Here is a list of the best whole house water filters for well water that you can go through. 

testing well water

Factors to Consider Before Getting a Well Water Filter

Before investing in a whole house water filter, there are several factors to consider.

Water contaminants

Firstly, you need to determine the type of contaminants in your well water by conducting thorough testing. This will help you choose the most suitable filtration system to remove these contaminants effectively.

Well depth

Well-depth determines how much sediment and contaminants are in your water supply. Deeper wells are less susceptible to surface contamination and runoff from agricultural or industrial activities, resulting in cleaner drinking water.

Local environment

The local environment is another main factor that you should take into account. This is because the water quality in your area will determine the type of water filtration systems you need.


Should you get a sediment filter for well water?

Yes. Sediment filters are an essential piece of equipment for anyone who uses well water. They can help to remove dirt, sand, rust particles, and other debris that may be present in your water supply.

Should you get a water softener in addition to a well water filter?

A typical well water filtration system removes sediment, iron, manganese, and other harmful chemicals from your home’s water supply. On the other hand, a water softener removes hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium ions from the same supply. While both systems have different purposes, they can work together seamlessly to deliver high-quality drinking and household water.

How do you filter well water for drinking?

One popular option is activated carbon filters that remove chlorine, organic compounds, and sediment from well water. Another option is reverse osmosis filters which use pressure to force water through a membrane to remove impurities like lead and mercury.

Can Brita filters remove water contaminants from your well water?

The Brita sink water filter or under sink water filter removes harmful bacteria from your drinking water, such as chlorine and sediment. Still, it may not eliminate all potential hazards found in surface and groundwater supplies.

Despite this limitation, some homeowners have successfully used Brita water filters with their own wells by utilizing an additional pre-filter system before passing through the Brita unit.


If you are using a well as your main water source, it’s important to understand the potential risks and the types of water filter systems that will be the most effective for your situation. Taking steps to filter well water regularly can help protect you and your family from contaminants that may be present. Additionally, testing your water regularly will help you ensure it’s safe to drink.

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