What You Need to Know About Buying a Property with a Well

Jan 27 2020
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There are just some things about living in the country that I never consider to not be standard for everyone. I have never lived in a home that DIDN’T have a well lol To be fair I am way out in the sticks when it comes to distance from any town. I had a new pump installed here before I moved in and learned my well was nearly 100 feet deep! I took a shower in town a couple of years ago at my friends place and just stood there and enjoyed the ridiculous amount of water pressure she had. I told her to appreciate it because it was so totally amazing! Some day I might decide to spurge and straight up spoil myself and have a larger pressure tank installed but, for now, I’m content and have never had any problems with my well here.

5 These are all questions buyers consider when interested in a home that comes with a well. If you’re considering this kind of property right now,(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

Not many houses have one, so it’s probably not something you’ve thought about often, but what happens if your dream home has a well? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? How much work does keeping a well maintained take? Can it supply all your household water needs?

These are all questions buyers consider when interested in a home that comes with a well. If you’re considering this kind of property right now, this is what you need to know.

Test the Water

Firstly, have the water tested to see what kind of quality it is and if it’s safe, pure, and drinkable or not. Have a reputable lab test a sample of the water for things like bacteria, alkalinity, the PH level, fluoride, chloride, manganese, iron, copper, calcium, turbidity, volatile organic compounds, and radon. If the water in the well is contaminated, you can take steps to address this, such as the use of a filtration system, or using water softeners or other treatments.

Some people don’t want to pay to have the water tested and ask potential neighbors, or the selling real estate agent, what the quality is like since often the same water source is accessed by multiple homes with wells in the area. You can also check out data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about water in your area. However, none of this preliminary research is a substitute for proper water testing, so if you hope to drink the water, always get certified testers involved.

Water Quantity and Flow Rate

Something else you need to investigate is how much water is available and the likely flow rate in the well. Even if the water is deemed safe for consumption, you may have issues if it doesn’t have much storage capacity and if there’s a low flow rate.

It pays to gather history about it from the seller of the property or the company that drilled it. Ask for access to the well log, which should have details about the well’s depth and the size and depth of its pump. Typically they store around 1.5 gallons of water per foot, so this information will help you figure out the well’s potential capacity.

How much water is pumped from the well per minute, the flow rate, is calculated based on looking at the number of gallons stored in the pressure tank before the pump starts and the length of time taken for the pump to turn on and off. It’s best to have a per minute flow rate of six to 12 gallons, although regulations often permit lower rates. Different states and municipalities can have different rules and regulations concerning wells, so learn about the local well requirements before you buy a property.

Maintenance

Your investigations into the well should also involve finding out when it was last maintained and what was done. Ask the seller if you can see the maintenance records so you can learn how often inspections occurred, and read details of all services, testing, and preventative maintenance work completed.

Wells, and especially the pumps in them, only last a finite amount of time, so if you buy the property and the well is decades old and/or hasn’t been serviced often, you may need to soon replace well pumps with new products. In particular, be on the lookout for visible corrosion at the pump fittings and around the pressure tank.

Also, if there are any point-of-use or point-of-entry water treatment systems on the property, these require maintenance. Tasks include changing filters, replacing UV lights, and recharging chemicals. Learn what’s been done in this area in recent times so you know what you may have to spend money on if you buy the property.

Distance from Septic Tanks

Buyers should also look into a well’s distance from septic tanks. Many properties with wells also have septic tanks to store waste. The problem is that these tanks inevitably leak their contents into the ground at some point, so the waste can end up in a well’s water supply if it’s too close. Make sure the well on the property you’re interested in is at least 100 feet away from any septic tanks. The well should also be located far from things like landfills, cesspools, road boundaries, and iron sewers.

Buying a new house is challenging with all the features you have to weigh up, such as location, price, curb appeal, interior design, functionality, etc. Adding a well into the mix certainly complicates matters further. However, having a well on your property can be a great bonus, too. As long as you do all the necessary research, you should make the best decision for your needs.

These are all questions buyers consider when interested in a home that comes with a well. If you’re considering this kind of property right now,
(This is a contributed post, for more information about my compensation please read my disclosure policy)

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