Find out why you should change the filter on your water heater every month or every six months depending on the filter. Get tips on turning off the water before you do this.
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Kath in Alaska on the line who’s dealing with not-so-great water pressure . Tell us what’s going on.
KATH: Hi. When we built our house about 18 years ago, it’s not so much the water pressure but we have a water heater and the pressure tank in the kitchen.
KATH: And I want to move them upstairs because we’ve added on since then. But about seven years ago, I noticed we started getting rust in our water and it’s been – the water leaves slime. Not lime but slime on the bathtub and the – or not the bathtub but the shower walls and stuff.
TOM: OK. Right.
KATH: Any idea what that could be?
LESLIE: How often are you changing the filter on the pump?
KATH: My husband takes care of that kind of stuff, so I have no idea.
TOM: Oh. That would be never?
KATH: Yeah, probably.
LESLIE: Because you’ll see on the pump, in your control room – whatever you want to call it – there’s a tank on the side that hangs off that’s clear. It should be clear. But when that water gets really rusty and dirty and gross, that whole little, clear tank is going to just look mucky and rusty and disgusting and you just need to turn off all your water, unscrew that, change out the filter. And you’re supposed to actually do that every month.
KATH: Oh. Well, it’s been 18 years, so it’s probably never been done.
TOM: Probably overdue, yeah. And some of the filters actually don’t have to be every month; some of them can be done every six months. It depends on the kind of filter that you use but basically, you want to make sure you have a whole-house water filter  on this, Kath, because that’s where you would be stopping the rust.
LESLIE: And make sure you turn off the water.
LESLIE: I’m speaking from experience.
KATH: Well, we don’t have any kind of conditioning – we don’t have any kind of water-conditioning system on this house at all.
LESLIE: Right. But this one …
TOM: But you may not need one but what you might need is just a filter to take out the debris that’s coming up in the water.
LESLIE: Yeah. Because my family has a beach home that my parents have had for ages and ages and we’re on a well there and we’ve got a well pump. And on the well pump is this filter, just to sort of take out the particulates, as Tom mentioned.
And similar situation: you don’t change it as often, you end up with rust-colored water, sometimes a discoloration, a smell, a change in texture. And for some reason, this past summer when we opened up the house for the season, my husband and I were the first ones to get out there. And we went to change the filter and we thought we had closed the water supply completely and we just didn’t close it all the way.
LESLIE: Undid the little tank and water was spraying everywhere. And you try putting that back on and trying to grab the main ; it was a disaster. So just be careful.
TOM: Good luck with that project, Kath. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.