Are you planning to buy a new house?  A home away in the countryside is a perfect place to decompress away from city’s hustle and bustle. While it may feel like a dream come true, you must be ready for surprises. Buyers interested in buying homes in rural areas often encounter homes that use private wells as their water source. Homes with public water supply meet the regulation standards set by the municipality. However, for well water, that’s unlikely the case.

One may experience differences in taste, color, and smell of water coming out of the well. So before you make the commitment to purchase one of the most expensive things you’ll ever buy in your life, here are some tips to consider.

Research about water quality in the area

Homes with private wells often share the same groundwater, so problems that affect one home generally affect all the homes in that area. Knowledge of known contamination issues with the area will help to take proactive measures to protect the quality of well water. One of the best things to do is asking the current owner about the history of the well and what measures have been taken in the past to treat its water. If the well is more than 15-20 years old, you might need to consider annual maintenance as additional costs in your budget.

Avoid Dug or Bored Well

Many homeowners don’t know the difference between a bored well and drilled well. A bored well is often shallow and draws water from section above the bedrock. Unlike bored well, drilled wells are created with special equipment such as air rotary drill and go down at least 50 feet or more.

Most homes usually have drilled wells, but sometimes you may find a home with a bored well. Such wells are more prone to contamination. So, it’s best to best to choose drilled wells only.

If you find yourself in a situation where the well is too old, it may be necessary to drill a new one. The process requires careful planning and a good drilling contractor should be aware of them. The new well should be drilled at a location that is at a safe distance from possible contaminants.

Ensure Well is at Distance from Septic Tank

Most homes that rely on private well often use septic tank to store waste. Septic tank may fail, and that leakage can find its way into the well water. A good rule of thumb is to place septic tank about 100ft away from the well. This prevents septic waste from reaching the groundwater and contaminating the supply.

Conduct a Water Test

There’s more in your well water than just H2O. As water is one of the best solvents, it dissolves minerals found in soil such as calcium and magnesium which turn the water hard. Installing a water softener is likely the solution to treat hard water problem but the water in your well might also be contaminated with other contaminants. Iron in water can alter the taste of water and cause discoloration leaving tough brown stains on your fixtures, sinks, and toilets. Sulfur is another common contaminant causing the water to smell like rotten eggs. 

It is highly recommended to get a comprehensive water test done to ensure the quality of water coming out of your well remains high. Ensure the water samples from your private well are tested for pH, hardness, turbidity, alkalinity, nitrates, iron, fluoride, chloride, arsenic, lead, coliform bacteria, cryptosporidium, and other organic compounds. A water treatment professional can interpret those test results to recommend the best treatment solution to you.

Test the Quantity and Flow Rate of the Well

While ensuring the quality of water coming out from the well is of utmost importance, it is also critical to consider the water consumption of your family. What’s the point of having safe water when it is not enough to meet the needs of your household?

The flow rate and yield of a well can be tested by a professional contractor. Flow rate refers to amount of water coming out of well in one minute. An average household uses about 100 gallons per person per day. To meet this consumption, your well should have a flow rate of at least 5 gallons per minute.

If your flow water is not enough, your drilling contractor may advise you to go for hydrofracking. The process is a method of injecting high-pressure water through well to widen the fractures in the bedrock.

Bottom Line

If you are interested in purchasing a home with a private well, you need to understand the additional obligations involved. Having water regularly tested while you own the home will ensure a continued supply of high-quality water running through your home.

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