You're ready to make the move to a more rural area, but have lived all of your life in the city. The things that come with buying a home outside of the comforts you've always known may seem daunting; like learning how to manage a well on your property. However, if you understand how wells work and ask the right questions about the land you're purchasing - you will be just fine! To help you, here are some good questions to ask before becoming a well owner.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WELLS
WHAT TYPE OF WELL IS IT?
Not all wells are created equal. The most common wells are drilled, but depending on the age of the home you may come across dug or bored wells. While no well is 100% perfect, drilled wells are typically more reliable and less prone to contamination. When looking at homes with wells, start by learning more about the type, age, and condition of the well.
Some good questions to ask are:
Does the home have a drilled well? If not, what type of well is it?
If so, when was the well drilled?
This is important to know, as the average lifespan for a well is 30 - 50 years.
How old are the pump and pressure tank?
On average, well pumps last around 10 years. If you purchase a home with older equipment, keep in mind that you may need to budget for replacements up front.
When was the last time the pressure tank was tested?
Periodically, the pressure tank should be tested for pump cut-in pressure, cut-out pressure, and pressure differential. You should also know how long it takes to go from the low limit to the high limit with no water running in the house.
These questions are a great starting point to begin understanding what to expect in your future of owning a well.
FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS ONCE YOU KNOW THE WELL TYPE
How deep is the well?
Drilled wells typically go down 100 feet or more.
What is the flow rate of the water?
3-5 gallons per minute is standard.
What is the overall capacity of the well?
This is especially important if you have a big family or plan on many people living in the house. A typical household requires 100-120 gallons of water per person per day.
Does your well casing depth meet state and local codes?
It is typically good for your casing to sit at least 12 inches above the ground, and to sit on even ground or uphill. For the well cap to be weather and animal proof, and to ensure there are not any visible holes or cracks in the casing.
HOW IS THE WATER?
It's important to know what the groundwater in the area you're hoping to buy a new home in is like. You can typically ask your realtor, or consult your local water expert about widespread groundwater issues in the area. As a home buyer, it's important to check what water you're buying into and inquire about the regulations for testing in that area. ENSURE the well has been tested BEFORE you finalize the sale.
Ask questions like:
When was the last time the water was tested?
Will I be receiving logs of that maintenance?
What's the state of the rest of the water system?
Be well informed about the condition of the well and water, and inquire if it is going through some type of filtration before it comes through your new tap. When it comes to groundwater, even well-kept water systems can have contamination. (You can read our blog on water filtration to learn more about this https://www.alcornpump.com/post/freshen-up-your-water). Allow a professional to help you test for water quality issues and make sure your water quality test covers the following: water safety and purity, presence of minerals, PH, hardness, alkalinity, turbidity, coliform bacteria, volatile organic compounds, and radon.
Having a well on our property is a blessing! While moving to a rural area from the city may be a daunting new endeavor, with the correct procedures, you can have endless access to some of the freshest water of your life!
Once you've walked through all of these recommended procedures and asked these important questions - you might be ready to purchase a property with a well on it!
*Adapting to your new well may take a little time, so try and make the adjustment knowing that even in healthy systems, well water is bound to look and smell different than city water. As long as it has been properly tested and filtered, it won't affect your health. Be prepared that it may change the outcome of your normal soaps and detergents, and you might need to buy different ones. It is highly recommended that, as a well owner you should get comprehensive testing on a regular basis. Just because the water is safe at one check, it does not guarantee that it will continue to be safe. Even if the water looks clear it can still be contaminated.
Congratulations on joining over 42 million United States residents who use well water in their homes!