Whole House Well Water filer and how to choose one for your House

Nitrates, arsenic and lead are three of the common contaminants of rural well water.  The greatest use of nitrates is in fertilizer, so the greatest source of nitrates in well water is agriculture runoff.  Nitrates combine with various organic and inorganic compounds.  Once taken into the body, they are converted to nitrites.

Iron is found in almost all groundwater and well water because rain falls and picks it up as it runs through soil, depositing it in the water.

Many areas around the country have high arsenic levels.  Much of these is natural, particularly from deep groundwater or water from deep wells.  Arsenic can also be formed by certain fertilizers and animal feeding operations.  So arsenic may often be found in water also contaminated by nitrates.

As you may know, friendsofwater.com reviews and selects water products that do what they should and are a good value.  Many alternative well water filters do not do everything they should – or they remove too much and leave unhealthy acidic water.

Choose a water filter for your wells

However, with well water, you need to get a water test done to know what it is you are dealing with.  When you have that, give us a call and we can advise you and configure a system appropriate for your circumstances.

Friendsofwater.com has a range of water filters that are terrific for the whole house or for the kitchen.  But if you have high levels of bacterial contamination, we suggest that you set up a chlorination pool and then filter your water afterward to take out the chlorine and other contaminants.

Health Effects of Nitrates

Short-term, excessive levels of nitrates in drinking well water can cause serious illness and sometimes death.  The greatest risk appears to be for babies.  They can get methemoglobinemia or “blue baby”.   This serious illness in infants is due to the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by the body, which happens more readily in their young digestive tracts, and which can interfere with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the child’s blood.  Babies consume large quantities of water in relation to their body weight.  The result can be an acute condition in which health deteriorates rapidly over a period of days.  Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin.

Although nitrate levels that affect infants do not necessarily pose a direct threat to older children and adults, they do indicate the possible presence of other more serious residential or agricultural contaminants, such as bacteria or pesticides.

Longer term, a continued exposure at above acceptable maximums can cause diereses (increased urination due to material in the kidney tubules), increased starchy deposits and hemorrhaging of the spleen.

Consuming well water with nitrate levels near the drinking water standard does not normally increase the methemoglobin level of humans beyond infancy.  Some individuals, however, may have increased susceptibility to methemoglobinemia due to exposure to antioxidant medications and chemicals, or other conditions that may inhibit the body’s ability to reconvert methemoglobin to hemoglobin (such as pregnancy or certain rare diseases).  The effect on any given person depends on many factors, including other sources of nitrate and nitrite in the diet.  Some of the nitrate consumed can be converted in the body to nitrite, which under some circumstances can combine with amines (portions of protein molecules often found in foods, medications, cigarette smoke, decaying plants, soil, and sometimes water) to form nitrosamines, well- documented cancer-causing substances.  So far, the only studies linking nitrate in drinking water with cancer have involved nitrate levels that are quite high (at or above 100-200 mg/l nitrate-N).

Over the long term, continued exposure at above acceptable levels can cause diuresis (increased urination due to material in the kidney tubules), increased starchy deposits and hemorrhaging of the spleen.


Nitrate in groundwater originates primarily from fertilizers, septic systems, and manure storage or spreading operations.  Fertilizer nitrogen that is not taken up by plants, volatilized, or carried away by surface runoff leaches to the groundwater and well water in the form of nitrate.  This not only makes the nitrogen unavailable to crops, but also can elevate the concentration in well water above the levels acceptable for drinking water quality.  Nitrogen from manure similarly can be lost from fields, barnyards, or storage locations.  Septic systems also can elevate well water nitrate concentrations because they remove only half of the nitrogen in wastewater, leaving the remaining half to percolate to groundwater.

Since they are very soluble and do not bind to soils, nitrates have a high potential to migrate to ground water.   Because they don’t evaporate, nitrates are likely to remain in water until consumed by plants or other organisms (like your family)..

check our Whole House Well Water Filters

Monitoring & Filtering

The EPA monitors water once a year and if nitrates are above 50% of the maximum allowed, monitoring is increased to every three months.  If contaminants are found to be consistently above maximum allowable levels, then the supplier must address the problem.  We’re very glad the EPA is doing this monitoring.  However we suggest it isn’t adequate for you to really know your drinking water is safe.  “Blue baby” happens is dramatically short order.   Usually, for a few hundred dollars you can get a very effective filter system for your kitchen to clean your well water so you know that your family is drinking healthy water.

In addition to nitrates, these well water filters will remove heavy metals including lead, sediment, algae, molds, scale, bad taste, odors, chlorine and hundreds of contaminants.  Bacteria cannot grow in the carbon because of copper-zinc kdf.

Because nitrate does not evaporate the way chlorine does, boiling, freezing, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level.  In fact, boiling water for more than 10 minutes can make the nitrate more concentrated.  Boiling water in an aluminum pan may also convert nitrate to nitrite.

By definition, we can’t know bacterial levels in your well water, and therefore cannot guarantee 100% bacterial removal.  These filters, however, have top-grade carbon and kdf.  Kdf is bacteriostatic, meaning bacteria cannot grow in the carbon.   Carbon is excellent for removing bacteria.


Arsenic is a well-known poison that has been associated with anemia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes mellitus, cancer in the skin, lungs, bladder and kidney, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, many skin ailments and of course in sufficient quantities – death!  We won’t spend much time talking about the health effects of arsenic.  Suffice it to say, you don’t want to drink it.

                                                              OTHER ISSUES

Well water users can sometimes experience odor or staining problems on appliances and laundry.  Here are several of the more common issues:.

  • A rotten egg odor suggests hydrogen sulfide and methane
  • A musty or moldy odor is associated with iron bacteria
  • Red staining of fixtures indicates a high iron level
  • Brown or black staining of you white laundry indicates manganese
  • Fluoride is sometimes found at excessive levels

And that’s not the whole story.  With well water you need to know what you start with in order to filter it properly.  You may have extreme levels of bacteria, lead, sulfur or sediment.  These can be dealt with, but we’d rather you spoke with us to make sure we get you the right well water filter and filter materials.  For example, there are different ‘versions’ of kdf we can put into your filters so that your well water’s particular issues are best addressed..

Our 2-canister kitchen Whole House well water filters and our whole house 2-tank system, combined with an under counter well water nitrates filter will address all of these issues.  There is a limit to what a reasonably priced well water filter can do.  Get your well water tested, and call us with the results.  We’ll determine which of our filters will work for you, in any, or if they would need to be combined with additional filtration.

For more general information, please click on Water Filter FAQ.You can also Check Water Filter Certificates and Lab Test Results


Friends of Water is a family-owned and family-run business founded in January 2006. We work to save water, filter water and celebrate water.

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