Anyone who’s ever been in the market for a new home knows the search process can be a pretty singular combination of excitement and stress in about equal measure. On the latter side of things, it can feel overwhelming to consider all of the factors at play when looking for the perfect place: from the house’s condition to the kind of neighbors you’ll potentially be dealing with.
If you’re thinking of buying a house that has a water well, that’s a whole other element to carefully assess before committing. To help clear up the nuts and bolts of evaluating a property with a well — and thereby, hopefully, take a little bit of that home-buying stress away — here’s a look at some of the main things to key into.
Well Water vs. City Water
If you’ve never used a domestic well before and are accustomed to getting your water from a municipality, you may wonder how wells stack against city water service. Well, for one thing, in some rural areas, a private well may be the only feasible option for water. Well water is often higher quality than city water, given its aquifer source. During flood events that threaten to contaminate surface water sources and result in temporary shutoffs in municipal water, a well’s groundwater supply often remains safe to use.
And, of course, a private well means you don’t have to shell out for monthly water bills! That’s a significant saving when calculating the cost-effectiveness of a private well, including when it comes to testing, repairing, or replacing an existing one on a home you’re considering.
Is the Water Safe to Drink? Testing Water Quality From Wells
As we’ve already alluded to, wells can be a source of safe and high-quality water. Naturally, though, when considering buying a home with an existing well, you want to ensure there are no contamination issues with the supply.
Along with requesting data on the well’s water quality from the seller, it’s a good idea to have the water directly tested by professionals for basic chemical and mineral levels, bacterial presence, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the like. This should be a yearly (or more frequent) exercise when you own a well, but it’s critical when deciding whether to buy a particular property.
Storage Capacity, Flow Rate, and Other Tests
It’s also essential to assess an existing well’s storage capacity and flow rate to determine whether they’ll be adequate for your needs. Such information may or may not be readily available from the seller, depending on the situation (and their diligence — or, ahem, lack thereof — when it comes to past maintenance of the well). Storage capacity is easily calculated, and flow rate and water pressure can be determined through testing.
Many households can get by on three to five gallons per minute (GPM), flow-rate-wise, but larger families or properties, or those utilizing irrigation, often need a rate of 10 to 12 GPM. Upgrading the well pump can boost the well’s flow rate.
Well Location and Grade
Make sure an existing well is located at an appropriate site on the property. Depending on whether the casing is watertight or not, the well should generally be at least 100 feet away from such potential contamination sources as septic tanks and manure/chemical storage sheds. You also want to check whether a proper downsloping grade exists around the wellhead, which should also be elevated adequately aboveground.
Regrading is certainly possible, but an improperly sited well may need to be entirely replaced in a different location.
How Long Do Well Systems Last?
Properly maintained and looked after, a well system can give you decades of good service. Annual professional inspections of the system — ensuring everything from proper pump and storage tank performance to the adequate condition of the well casing — will help you get the most out of your well and avoid costly and disruptive breakdowns.
Professional well water inspections when you’re considering buying a new home can — besides generally identifying any potential trouble spots — shed light on the likely age of the well system. That’s obviously super-useful for getting a sense of how many years you may yet get out of it before well system upgrades or replacements might be required.
The Importance of a Well Inspection, Water Quality Testing, and Regular Maintenance — Where Greco & Haines Comes In!
Whether you need an inspection or water-quality testing for a well on a property you’re considering buying or any well maintenance, repair, and replacement services once you’ve purchased a home with a private well, look no further than Greco & Haines for all your well-system needs! We’re proud to have been a trusted, leading well-water treatment company in Connecticut for more than a half-century.
From checkups and tests to installations and emergency repairs, our services are available seven days a week and 365 days a year. Get in touch with the Greco & Haines team at 203-735-9308, 203-777-2256, or (toll-free from any CT area code) 1-800-922-2958, or use our online contact form.