Building An Addition: A Homeowner's Guide

3 Important Things to Remember About Water Wells

by Toni Richards

Have you recently purchased a property with a water well? Are you wondering how you should maintain it? Fortunately, water wells are usually easy to maintain. There are, however, a few things that you need to remember about your well so that you can continue to use it for many years to come. A few things that you need to keep in mind include:

Leave repairs to a professional: For many people, tinkering with mechanical things is a fun and interesting way to pass the time. While fixing a well pump might seem to fall into this category, there are a few reasons why you should leave it alone. Your well is obviously what provides water to your home. For instance, you accidentally drop a pair of pliers down the well itself, the entire well is now contaminated and must be cleaned out. It's even possible that the dirt and grease on the pliers mean that you'll have to dig an entirely new well in order to have clean and safe water again. A well pump service professional has the knowledge and experience to avoid contaminating the well, avoiding the possibility of spending thousands of dollars to drill a new one.

Test your water regularly: In general, well water is naturally clean and good to drink. However, it's always possible that your well could get contaminated. Heavy rains and runoff in the spring could flush bacteria and other contamination into your well. If you don't sanitize your well afterward, you and your family could get sick. If someone dumps motor oil on or near your property, it's possible that the oil could seep into the groundwater and contaminate your well. And, of course, if you don't hire a well pump service professional, you could accidentally contaminate your own well while trying to fix it. Use a basic and inexpensive test every few months to check for levels of heavy metals and similar contamination and use a more thorough test once or twice a year to check for bacterial contamination.

Understand that well water is limited: Before you move in, find out how many gallons per hour your well can provide. With most wells, if you were to leave a garden hose on full overnight, you would likely wake to find yourself without water. There may still be water in the ground, but the pump hasn't been able to keep up with the garden hose. Your well pump service professional will be able to tell you how much water your well can provide. If necessary, you may want to consider installing a larger cistern or reservoir so that you can use more water in a shorter amount of time without having to wait for the water to be replenished. This can be a good idea if you don't normally use much water, but you occasionally want to be able to irrigate a large garden or water a lot of livestock at once.