When your water comes from the ground instead of a municipal water supply, you can taste the difference immediately! Clean safe drinking water is one of the biggest contributors to public health in the last 120 years, but that comes with the smell and taste of chlorine, and in same cases fluoride is added. The health benefits of these additives are without question, but there is nothing quite like the taste of water that comes from hundreds of feet in the ground! Knowing that it is safe makes it that much better.
Owning a well can be a worry-free way of obtaining water in abundance, but there are a few things you need to know when buying a home with a well.
Many people have the expectation that a well should produce tens, if not hundreds of gallons per minute and for domestic purposes, that is simply not true. It is entirely possible to operate a household on a well that produces only 500 gallons of water per day (about one-third of a gallon per minute) . Watering lawns and gardens uses a significant amount of water, but even so, it is still possible to enjoy a household with a low-producing well. We can certainly help with understanding what your well produces, and can help you understand the steps you can take to provide for your water needs. There are strategies and means to automatically collect and store your unused well water to give you a larger amount on hand.
That being said, a great deal of heartache and expense can be avoided by having a well inspected and flow tested prior to purchase. Knowing what the well produces and knowing the quality of the water can save you a great deal of expense. New wells and pump installations together cost tens of thousands of dollars. Well pumps are mechanical, and they wear out in time. New advances in technology have significantly improved the lifespan of pumping systems, but we can inspect and evaluate the condition of pumping systems to help you know more before buying a home or business.
We not only apply our vast experienced with local geology, we can generally research local wells around you to evaluate your well against local conditions. This is particularly important if you are considering the purchase of property that does not yet have a functioning well.
We would be happy to help you with evaluating the well and water system of a property you are looking to purchase. Call us to arrange with you and your agent.
A customer called because he had no water. We tested his system and discovered the pump motor was faulty. During removal of the pump from 380’ down, the connection between the pump and the pipe to which it was attached had completely failed. This was a 25 year old system.
Are you thinking of purchasing property with an existing well?
Photo taken during a pre-purchase well inspection. Leaking, amateur workmanship, corroding electrical components and no protection from freezing. If you look closely, in the background is an open and abandoned surface well into which debris has been piled.
Some of the pitfalls to watch out for with pumping systems in prospective properties:
- GALVANIZED PIPE AND FITTINGS: These fittings are lo longer permitted in domestic water systems. They are the #1 source of problems in pumping systems. Well water corrodes these fittings and pipes rapidly, which can result in flooding, and expensive well pump drop pipe replacement.
- POLYBUYLENE PIPES: Common in the 80’s, this type of crimped plastic is a blue grey color. The subject of multiple law suits for its failure. Some houses with “Poly-B” pipe cannot be insured, and replacement can be extremely expensive.
- AMATEUR INSTALLATIONS: The single biggest reason for having to replace a well pump is due to an improper installation.Inappropriate materials, wiring, plumbing and components is the #1 reason for pump failure and needing a well pump replaced.
- IMPROPERLY CONSTRUCTED SURFACE WELLS: Also known as “dug wells”. These are often constructed with poor materials and amateur pumping systems. Often, pumps are installed in such a way that replacing them down the road is never considered and makes replacing them extremely costly. Surface wells are a very high risk for bacterial contamination. Testing the water for potability is extremely important.
- CONTAMINATED OR UNSAFE WATER: In addition to bacteria, there are areas in the Okanagan and surrounding areas that have known issues with a number of naturally occurring substances in dangerous amounts, These include Uranium, Flouride, Nitrates, Manganese and Iron. While these substances can be treated and filtered, some elements such as Manganese and Iron can exist in such high amounts that they plug plumbing and pumping systems.
- IMPROPERLY SEALED OR CAPPED WELLS: Wells are required to be capped/sealed in such a way as to exclude insects and vermin. Improperly capped wells become disgusting rodent catchers in winter. Dead mice in your well .... enough said.
- WELLS INSIDE BUILDINGS OR PITS: Wells inside buildings ( building structures over wells) makes changing pumps extremely difficult and costly, if it can even be done at all. Humidity can cause mold issues; invariably long-forgotten wells become buried under mountains of stored junk when it comes time for servicing.
- LEAKING ARTESIAN WELLS: There is very significant liability associated with uncontrolled artesian flows. The cost of remediation can exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have been involved with uncontrolled artesian flow projects that cost in excess of a million dollars to remediate. It is absolutely essential that you consult with an expert on the implications of flowing artesian wells and the potential requirement for special insurance to cover the expense of a leaking or damaged artesian well.