5 common cottage water problems and how to tackle them

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Getting ready to open your cottage for the season? Don’t forget to include an inspection of your cottage’s water systems. Spring is the perfect time to take stock of a cottage’s water supply and ensure that the water coming out of the taps is both tasty and safe to drink. Patricia Cook, the water purification product manager at Reliance Home Comfort, spoke to Cottage Life about common water issues that pop up in cottages and how to address them.


Property owners need to know where their cottage water supply is coming from. If the water is from a private well, it’s up to the owner to test their water to ensure it’s free of microbes that can make people sick. Cook suggests that cottagers test their well water once per year for bacteria. The property owner can collect the samples and send them to a local municipal lab for analysis. While samples can be taken throughout the year, Cook says that the spring thaw is a good time to sample.

Check out the Ontario Ground Water Association for more information and how to buy a test.

Hard water

Hard water has a high amount of dissolved minerals like calcium and manganese. These minerals can build up and play havoc on plumbing fixtures, dishwashers, and hot water tanks, says Cook. Aside from leaving unsightly stains, the build-up can damage pipes and appliances. To help combat hard water, a water softener can reduce scale build-up in pipes and appliances, which could give them a longer lifespan. Rental options are available for people who might not need one year-round.


While not a health risk, high iron levels can tint water an unappealing yellow and cause a funny taste. It can also leave brown stains on appliances, plumbing, and even human hair. “Most people, if they have iron in the water, will beg you for a solution,” says Cook. This issue can be addressed by installing an iron filter to remove the contaminant.

Off-tasting drinking water

Reverse osmosis filters are usually installed in the kitchen to tackle a host of water contamination issues. The filters only treat the water coming out of a particular faucet. While they won’t remove bacteria, reverse osmosis takes care of metals, organic materials, chlorine, phosphates, and even microplastics. “Reverse osmosis actually has zero taste to it, which for some customers is a little odd because they’re used to the taste of water with sodium and calcium in it,” says Cook. If you’re looking to appease the most discerning of tastes, this might be the filtration method for you.

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