How to Filter Deep Well Water: An Expert’s Guide

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Deep wells tend to have better-quality, better-tasting well water than shallow wells – but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to filter the water in a deep well at all.

In this guide, we’ve given the lowdown on how to filter deep well water, including the best filters to use, and how to know which type of water filtration system is suitable for you.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • Using a whole house water filtration system is the best way to filter water in a deep well.
  • Test your water to find out exactly what it contains – and what you need to remove.
  • You may also need to disinfect your well with shock chlorination, or install a water softener, depending on your water quality.

🆚 Deep Vs Shallow Well Water Quality

Deep wells tend to have better water quality than shallow wells because they’re better protected against flooding and surface contamination.

The water in a shallow well is usually influenced by human activities above the ground, while water in a deep well is influenced by the soils and rocks that the water flows through.

However, this doesn’t mean that deep well water is completely contaminant-free and safe to drink.

Deep wells have their own risks and problems. Most deep well water supplies have a high hard mineral content and excess heavy metals, having a scaling and rusting effect on your well’s components, pipes, and appliances.

well water diagram
source: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

🚰 How to Filter Water In A Deep Well

To filter the water in a deep well, you need a whole house water filter system capable of treating well water contaminants.

Whole house water filtration systems attach to your plumbing, as close as possible to water’s point of entry into your home, after your water pressure tank.

These systems target a range of common well water contaminants, including heavy metals, bacteria, volatile organic compounds, nitrates, and more.

Not all well water filtration systems remove the same contaminants. We’ve shared the most common systems, and the contaminants they can remove, below.

Sediment Filters

Sediment filters remove sand, silt, dirt, dust, rust, and other sediments from well water. A sediment filter doesn’t just improve your water’s quality – it also protects your home’s appliances and any other water filters from sediment damage.

There are two types of sediment filters:

  1. Spin-down filters (which remove large, visible sediment particles)
  2. Cartridge filters (which reduce small or mid-sized sediment)

Backwashing Iron Filters

An iron filter uses some form of oxidation (usually air or chemical injection) to oxidize iron, sulfur, and manganese, and catch them in a media bed. The system backwashes frequently to flush the contaminants out of the media.

Iron backwashing filters usually reduce sediment from water, too, using a built-in cartridge sediment water filter.

Springwell water softener and iron filter well water treatment system

UV Purifiers

UV purifiers use UV light to kill bacteria and other microorganisms in a well water supply. UV is an effective, chemical-free alternative to chlorine disinfection.

Most UV purifiers are installed as a final stage downstream of another whole house filter. These units only work on clear, non-turbid water.

Multi-Stage Cartridge Filter Systems

You can also buy a multi-stage cartridge system (typically a three-stage filtration system) to target contaminants like sediment, nitrates, and heavy metals in your drinking water.

Most well water cartridge-based systems use separate sediment filters, activated carbon filters, and KDF or ion exchange media to reduce these contaminants.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis treatment uses membrane separation to produce pure drinking water. An RO membrane has tiny pores that can remove bacteria, heavy metals, chemicals, fluoride, and more.

However, RO is an expensive treatment method, and if your well water is high in iron or hardness minerals, you’ll need to install a pre-treatment system to protect the membrane from degradation.

Related: Everything you need to know about using reverse osmosis for well water treatment.

Usws defender whole house ro system after installation

Non-Filtration Treatment Options

A water filter system might not be suitable for your water treatment needs.

A few non-filtration treatment options to consider are:

Water Softeners

Water softener systems aren’t classed as water filters, but they’re still an essential water treatment method for deep well owners.

A water softener exchanges calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions, preventing scale formation in your pipes and fixtures. Water softeners can also reduce low levels of iron.

Springwell SS salt based ion exchange water softener new install

Shock Chlorination

If you discover with water testing that your deep well supply contains pathogens, you may need to shock chlorinate your well.

Shock chlorination involves adding chlorine to your well water and allowing it to flow through your plumbing system. This should kill microorganisms that may have latched onto surfaces in your pipes, fixtures, and appliances.

📖 How To Choose A Deep Well Water Filtration System

Wondering how to know which water filter system is right for your deep well? Here’s how to decide.

Test Your Water

First, before anything else, you need to know what your water contains.

Hopefully, you’re testing your water at least once every year for total dissolved solids (TDS), total coliform bacteria, pH levels, nitrates, and any other contaminants of concern, as recommended by the CDC and the National Ground Water Association.

Get in touch with a certified laboratory for professional testing. You can either pay to test for various specific contaminants, or buy a complete water test for all the most common well impurities.

Take a sample of your tap water and send it off to the laboratory for analysis. You’ll receive your results within two weeks.

completed tap score well water test

Decide On Your Budget

Before you begin your search for well filters, determine your maximum budget.

Your budget may limit your choices somewhat – but don’t worry, there are capable well water filters available for most budgets.

Expect to pay at least $800 upfront for a filtration system, and an extra $200 or so for the installation.

More complex systems cost up to $2,500. Some manufacturers let you pay for their water filters in installments, which may make these more expensive units accessible to you.

Consider Flow Rate & Filtration Capacity

Once you know what your water contains and what you can afford to spend, establish a suitable filtration capacity and flow rate for your deep well water filter system.

Most filtration systems come in multiple sizes and flow rates. Choose a suitable size and flow rate for your family size and daily water usage.

📌 Most families of 4 need a flow rate of 8-12 gallons per minute (GPM) to prevent a drop in water pressure after installing the system.

🤔 Is Well Water Filtration Essential?

No, well water filtration isn’t essential. When water flows through rocks and soils, it’s naturally filtered, which removes most harmful contaminants.

However, this natural filtration process doesn’t guarantee that your well water will be potable. There’s always a risk that your water might contain bacteria and other pathogens that could make you sick.

Brown well water flowing from faucet

❔ How to Filter Deep Well Water: FAQ

Does a deep well need a filter?

Yes, a deep well still needs a water filter. Even though deep wells are better protected against surface contaminants, deep well water is still at risk of containing iron, manganese, hard water minerals, nitrates, arsenic, and bacteria. Deep well water may also have a low pH and a corrosive nature.

What is the best way to filter water from a well?

The best way to filter water from a well is to use a whole house water filter system. This type of filter uses multiple stages of filtration to reduce a host of common well water contaminants. Test your water to find out what it contains and install a filtration system that can remove these impurities.

How much does a well water filtration system cost?

The cost of a well water filtration system is $800-$2,500 on average. The upfront cost varies depending on the system size and complexity, the number of filter stages, the technology used, the flow rate, the manufacturer’s reputation, and more.

Can I use an under-sink water filter to filter well water?

Yes. If you just want to filter your drinking water, you can use an under-sink filtration system to treat your well water supply. However, we strongly recommend upgrading to a whole home water filter to protect your entire home’s plumbing system and appliances from damaging contaminants like hard minerals and iron.

How deep should a well be for drinking water?

A well should be at least 100 feet deep if you plan to use it to deliver water to your home for drinking. The deeper the well, the better. Ideally, your well should be about 300 feet deep.

  • Jennifer Byrd
    Water Treatment Specialist

    For 20+ years, Jennifer has championed clean water. From navigating operations to leading sales, she's tackled diverse industry challenges. Now, at Redbird Water, she crafts personalized solutions for homes, businesses, and factories. A past Chamber President and industry advocate, Jennifer leverages her expertise in cutting-edge filtration and custom design to transform water concerns into crystal-clear solutions.

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