What Do I Need to Know to Get Started Installing a Well?
We want to help you understand what you need to know to install a well on your property.
And as a quick aside --- we are here to help you purchase a new tractor when the time is right.
Let’s get to it.
Being on a well is different than being on city water.
Groundwater well systems are unique and there’s a lot to learn about them and how they operate.
You also need to know how to install them and keep them in great working order.
If you live in the city, you are likely used to getting your water from a municipal source. If you are a rural landowner, you likely need to install a well to access groundwater for all your uses.
Whether you are working with a contractor or installing the well yourself --- you need to educate yourself. We do recommend working with a skilled installer.
What is a well?
A well is a pumping system that accesses groundwater near your home. It pumps the groundwater into your house. You can use groundwater for showering, washing dishes, drinking, cooking, or for whatever you use you like.
These well systems also need to be free of harmful contaminants. This is another reason you will want to work with a reputable skilled installer.
There is also some system maintenance you need to understand.
Many modern wells are drilled. This is done by using a large drill rig mounted on a truck. The drilled hole is lined with a casing to prevent the walls of the hole from collapsing. Then an electric pump is placed inside to transport the groundwater to your home.
The top of the well is sealed with a cap. This cap prevents dirt, insects, and animals from entering the well.
Keep in mind that the well-depth varies depending on your location.
The U.S. Geological Survey's groundwater guide notes that in areas with clay above bedrock --- wells may need to extend deep into the ground. In areas with more permeable materials near the surface, the well would need to be more shallow --- unless you request a deeper well for better water quality. This is a personal choice.
Choosing where to dig your well is one of the first steps in the well construction process.
The National Groundwater Association recommends that you select a site for your well prior to selecting the site to build your house.
This way you get a good quality drinking water.
The NGWA has a listing of licensed, skilled, and experienced professionals that can help you select a well site on your property. If one has worked in your area long enough, they should be familiar with the water table and well requirements.
Make sure to discuss your household or homestead's water use with your installer.
For average usage --- the NGWA recommends a capacity of 150-300 gallons per day for 2-4 people.
If you are going to be keeping livestock. Or if you think you are going to need to irrigate crops --- make sure to tell your installer.
Your installer should be able to take care of all the legal and regulatory requirements.
Depending on where your property is located, there may be inspections, permits, and fees with the local health department. Make sure to factor those in to your overall budget.
In general, wells are priced out on a per-foot basis.
Figure an average of $24-$30 per foot for drilling.
An experienced installer will give you an estimate. They will base it on the average well depths in your area with similar geological features.
Additionally --- you will need to factor the cost for a pump. This cost varies based on the type of pump.
"Jet" pumps cost about $1,500. "Submersible" pumps cost roughly $3,000. Your installer will explain which type you need and why. They will also get you the costs.
There may be additional costs for labor and materials. This depends on your site's individual needs.
Ask for references when vetting installers. Reputable installers will usually share the names and contact information of previous customers.
Keep meticulous records from the installation.
Make sure you have all the materials regarding the water table and geologic structures. Also make sure to track your warranty.
In many states, there are distance requirements for certain structures and activities taking place in and around groundwater wells. If you are going to keep animals --- make sure you know these requirements.
Visual inspection goes a long way toward maintaining the health of your system. It's good to know when you need to call in a professional before a problem gets out of hand.
Keep the surface area around the wellhead clear. Look for any breaks or cracks in the casing and seal above ground. Look out for flooding around the wellhead. This can cause or contribute to contamination. Keep a 10’ area around the well clear of plants, trees, and shrubs with significant root systems.