In the U.S., an estimated 13 million people rely on private wells for water. Rather than treated water being delivered by the city, private wells provide rural homeowners with water for drinking and bathing. If you don’t have any experience with water wells, there are a few things you should know before drilling one.
If you’re new to rural living and well water, you should know that you will be in charge of testing your water. Testing your water can help you find out what’s in it and whether or not it’s safe to use. You can buy a water testing kit yourself, but it’s best to hire a well water drilling company to test the water for you initially.
Oftentimes, you will find that well water tastes, smells, or even looks different than city water. That’s because city water is passed through a filtration system and treated with chlorine to remove bacteria and odors. Typically, it is treated with fluoride to improve oral health, as well. You may want to treat your water similarly by using chlorine, also called shock chlorination. You can invest in a filtration system to improve your drinking water and to remove minerals, such as iron that can cause rust stains on laundry and fixtures. Make sure to talk to a pediatrician if you have children, as they may suggest a fluoride supplement.
Because well water is untreated, you may find other minerals (such as calcium, sodium, and magnesium) within it that cause hard water. Hard water can shorten the life of appliances, build up on fixtures, cause stains, and even dry out your skin and hair. You will want to get a water softener to eliminate these problems.
Even if you treat your well or use filters, you will still need to test your water regularly to ensure that it doesn’t become contaminated. Runoff from pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, nearby livestock, or landfills can sometimes contaminate your well water when they seep into the groundwater.
If you need to drill a well, you will also need a pump. An electric pump will push or pull the water from the well to your faucets. If the pump is installed inside the home, it could use more energy and it will be nosier. If the pump is installed in the well, you can eliminate these problems, but the installation will be more costly.
The cost of digging a well can vary by region. If your water table is close to the surface, the cost will be lower. If it’s deeper or the soil has a higher concentration of clay or ledge, it could cost more because it will have to be drilled deeper.
Before drilling a well, you should check with your local authorities to know what the rules and regulations are. You may need a permit before drilling. Many places require specific types of wells or specific well locations.
While rare, wells can sometimes run dry. This is much less likely to happen if your well is professionally drilled as opposed to dug in a makeshift way or poorly situated. Be sure to hire a reputable drilling company with good reviews and you will be less likely to have this problem.
Drilling a well doesn’t have to be a difficult process. While there are certainly a few things to know before you drill, a professional will be able to help lead the way. It’s a good idea to contact a company early on to ensure that all the proper steps are taken.