Many people who live in rural areas have a water well and septic system. Both need an inspection and maintenance. The EPA estimates that over 13 million households have private wells for water.
Health and safety are the main reasons to have them inspected. What should you expect in a well inspection? In most cases, a flow test, testing of the water for bacteria and any other concerns, an inspection of the equipment, and a written report.
Let’s take a look at why this is important, how often the well should be inspected, what to keep an eye on, maintenance, why there may be a pre-listing inspection, how the long the inspection is, and what is checked.
Why This is Important
So many households rely on private well water instead of city water for their water supply. With city water, the water is treated before reaching homes.
The opposite is true for well water in that it comes from the ground and needs to stay clean. A well lasts about 30-50 years but does need maintenance and to be inspected.
How Often the Well Should be Inspected
Inspection of the well should be at least once a year and before selling the property. Here in the Northeast, it is probably easier to inspect in the warmer months to see what is going on in the well. Also, the water is not frozen.
However, homeowners should keep an eye on the taste of the tap water and other areas during the year in case an inspector needs to visit sooner. Keeping an eye on the following will help with maintaining a good working well and being on top of things if issues come about. Keep an eye out for:
1. Water that has an odd taste or odor
3. Loss of water pressure or not much water is coming out
4. If you test your water and find that it has anaerobic bacteria or coliforms, you will need to contact a professional to investigate it and fix the issue. Don’t drink or bathe in the water until it is fixed!
Maintenance of the Well
Maintaining the well is important so that it keeps working and keeps the water healthy for the family. One way to maintain it is to keep chemicals away from the well. Livestock and any kennels should be at least 50 feet away.
Check the well cover and well cap often to make sure it is on tight and keeping insects and animals out. Put the well inspection reports and maintenance records in a safe place where you have access to them. Lastly, if the water taste changes or there is an odor, have the water tested.
Who Inspects the Well
Inspection of the well is by someone who is certified in that area. Home inspection companies offer a well inspection as a separate inspection. The inspector also has a list of various areas in and outside of the well to check.
Why Might a Seller Do a Pre-Listing Inspection of the Well
A seller might do a pre-listing inspection of the well if they have not maintained it or are concerned there is an issue. This way, they have time to have it fixed or negotiate with the buyer.
On the other hand, a seller might do a pre-listing inspection if it is a competitive market to try to sell the home faster.
Length of a Well Inspection
A well inspection is about two to three hours. A water test can be done at this time as well but does take a few days to get the results.
Cost of a Well Inspection and Septic Inspection
A well inspection ranges from $300-$500 on average and can cost more if the water is sent to a specific lab. Also, if a septic inspection is also done, it can add $300 or more to the cost. A septic inspection only needs to be about every 3 years, while a well inspection is every year, so keep that in mind.
What is Checked in a Well Inspection
Inspectors will check on the operation of the submersible pump, and all parts of the pressure tank. If you have a basement, that is where the pressure tank is located.
The professional will check the system for mechanical defects, faulty gauges, leaking seals, and rusty tanks. Additionally, the professional will look at: Well hole and casing, grout, valves, and pressure gauge, control box, capacitors, well cap, and electrical wiring (where applicable). Furthermore, water is often tested and checked for bacteria and lead.
Volume of well water and how fast the pump works will also be checked. A huge focus is on the pump as it is the most expensive component and needs to be working correctly.
When to Contact a Professional
Contact a professional if you have questions about the water from your well or any issues or need an inspection.
A well is an important part of the water system for homes that have it. It provides the water that we drink, cook with, and bathe in so it is important to keep it clean. Performing maintenance on it and having an inspection once a year will allow you to get many years out of the well.
We will inspect your well during our home inspections in New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Questions about your well or in need of our services? Comment below!