Becoming a homeowner is an incredible stage and accomplishment in any person’s life. However, each experience is different, even the water source. Depending on the area you’re considering, you might run into houses that use a well as their water source, and while most of the nation uses municipally sourced water, about 20 percent of U.S. residents — or 15 million — rely on wells for their water supply. Well usage is most common in rural areas where the public infrastructure isn’t as developed, and owning a home with a well is also a popular option for those who live in off-grid homes or are looking for an eco-friendly alternative to municipal water practices.
Some find having their own water supply more worthwhile than other, more widespread options, claiming that well water tastes better than city water and has more beneficial minerals. Of course, owning a well comes with different responsibilities than homes that get their water from a municipal source.
Together, let’s dig into a few things you should know about owning a home with a well.
Do Research About Water in Your Area
One thing to know about owning a home with a well is that we always recommend doing your research before purchasing a home or starting a new project. It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny things like the beauty of the house or the satisfaction you’ll feel after completing a project, which can lead to you missing important details. Researching and learning everything you need to know before taking that first step can save you a world of trouble!
Groundwater is a shared resource; no one person owns it. Naturally, whatever issues that affect one home are likely to affect many others in the area. By researching the water in your area, you can gauge what you’re up against. If you’re looking at buying a home with a well, one way to gain knowledge about your local water supply is through the EPA’s How’s My Waterway site. This resource lets you examine reports on your water from a community, regional, and state view and gives you details on your local waterbody’s overall condition. You can also ask your realtor about any known water problems in the neighborhood.
Get a Water Test
The biggest mistake people make before buying a home is not running a water test on the water supply. With a home with a well, it’s even more crucial that you perform a water test on your well water as well as your septic tank. You want to know every contaminant that lives in your water and any other water issues present with the property. You can’t solely rely on the see and taste test to vet a property. This includes checking for water safety and purity, hardness, turbidity, and pH, among other things.
It’s also not enough to have safe water in your home; you also need to test the water’s flow rate. This will let you know if you have enough water and water pressure to supply your whole house. Having this information at your fingertips gives you a breakdown of what will become your responsibility should you purchase the property.
If you’re interested in learning about your well water quality, we highly recommend requesting one of The Science of Water’s free water tests. You take a sample, send it in, and our test will not only show you what’s lurking in your water supply, but it also gives us an idea of what we can do to help solve your well’s water issues. Give us a call to find out more!
What is the State of the Well?
No well is created equal. Some wells are drilled (bore), and others are dug, but we’ll get into that a little more later. When considering a home with a well, you need to ask about the state of the well, too, as it gives insight into how much maintenance you’ll need to do and how often.
You’ll want to find out how old the well on the property is. The average lifespan of a well is around 30 to 50 years. Wells are often connected to a pump, a pressure tank, and other pipes that help bring the water from deep within the well directly into your home, so it’s vital that you find out how old they are and make sure they’re in working condition. Is there any evidence of corrosion? When was the last time it was tested? Unlike wells, pumps and pressure tanks last around 10 years, so you’ll need to budget for replacements and possibly replace it as soon as you move in as a precaution.
The Risk for Contamination is Higher for Dug Wells
Another thing to be aware of when owning a home with a well is the different kinds of systems that exist. There are two kinds of wells, ones that are dug, and ones that are drilled. Dug wells are often dug by hand using a two-person system where one person digs the hole, and the other hoists the dirt up to the surface. Dug wells are often identified by the protective cover used to prevent someone from falling in. There is no hole with drilled wells; instead, there is a pipe that has been drilled fed into the groundwater and sticks up from the ground.
One of the concerns with dug wells is that they’re at a higher risk of contamination versus drilled wells. With the open hole used for dug wells, there is a chance for water runoff from the surface to drip in. For wells like these, be sure that your wellcap is on level ground. Natural and artificial contaminants (think pesticides and insecticides) typically flow downhill and pool in low-lying areas, so you’ll want to check for holes around your wellhead and that it sits above any spots that runoff is likely to happen. You don’t want contaminants seeping into your well!
Inspections Are Crucial
In most cases, your water supply gets monitored, tested, and maintained by your city’s water department. But, as someone who has a home with a well, you may often be responsible for monitoring and maintaining your well system. Some home inspectors will test your water and inspect your septic system, but for a fee. It’s also crucial that you get your prospective well checked before setting your sights on buying the home. If you don’t or put it off until later, it could mean expensive repairs for you down the line.
Yearly Maintenance is a Thing
As a well owner, it’s important to stay on perform maintenance to ensure that your water source stays contaminant free. We recommend that you get a water test done every year to check for common pollutants like coliform bacteria, nitrates, manganese, sulfides, iron, and much more, which can lead to hard water and wreak havoc on your home. If your community is prone to flooding or listed as being on a flood plain, you might want to perform a maintenance check more frequently.
And while you’re at it, there’s no harm in checking your system, too. Wells are notorious for having high mineral content, as they pull water directly from groundwater, so as you’re inspecting your water system and house, check for hints that something might be amiss like mineral build-up and hard water stains.
However, if we’ve installed one of Puronics’ residential water treatment systems, we can help maintain your system and keep your water safe to drink. We’ll check your well for any signs of settling or cracking and check your whole house water filtration system’s functionality and any concerns you might have. Just be sure to give us a call.
You May Need to Drill a New Well
There are many reasons why you may need to drill a new well: you’ve tested your well’s flow rate, and it’s failed, you’ve purchased a home and realized it needs a well, or your well is old and needs to get replaced. Before you put on your hard hat or hire a contractor, be sure to round up any permissions or permits necessary. It’s also vital that you make sure your new well is a safe distance from septic systems and any known contaminants. You and your contractor also need to make sure your new well can provide a good source of water, and the size and depth of the new well will be to accommodate your family size and needs.
The Science of Water
Owning a home with a well can be a lot of work, from drilling them to performing routine maintenance. It can also be costly and time-consuming. But it doesn’t have to be. The Science of Water can help. A whole house water filtration system can make all the difference in the water quality you will experience from your well water supply. We’ve been in the water biz for more than 35 years, and we’re confident we can get you the best-tasting, cleanest, and contaminant-free water you’ve ever experienced. First, you have to request one of our free water tests.
If you’re interested in taking a free water test or learning about our services, contact our team today at (352) 745-7070 or (904) 580-0000.