How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Why is there sand in the bottom of my toilet tank?
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
It’s a sign that the well is pumping sediment. This is not a problem that would ordinarily occur with a municipal water supply. Sometimes not enough sediment/sand is pulled up by the pump to be noticeable in your water at the sinks or bathtub, but the small amount coming into the home settles at the bottom of the toilet tank and builds up over time.
Sand can also settle in the bottom of the water heater. The sand layer will cause it to make an abrupt, loud gurgling/bubbling sound now and then while heating. Yet another place that sand can accumulate is in the screen filter at the water inflow connections to your washing machine. Here it will slow down the water flow to a trickle so that filling the tub of the machine for the first cycle takes an unusually long time.
Any well produces a little sand occasionally, and the solution for minor amounts of sand is a whole house filter (also called a sand filter) or a centrifugal sand filter.
The other solution, a whole house filter, removes rust, sand, and small bits of sediment, but the filter cartridge needs to be replaced regularly. If you forget to change it, eventually the water flow into the house will decrease severely as a kind of built-in filter change reminder device. The centrifugal filter just needs to be flushed out at the bottom, but is more expensive to purchase.
If sand is visible in the your water or the sand filtration system fills up quickly, you have a problem with the well itself and need to consult a well drilling contractor for a solution. The problem could be that the well is collapsing and filling with sand, or the filter screen is degrading. In some cases, a well pump that is too big can also suck up sand.
Also see our blog post Does a home inspector check toilets?
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