10 Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Well Driller

1. Are you licensed and insured?
In New Hampshire, well drillers are required to be licensed and display a 4x6 inch decal on both sides of their drilling equipment or service trucks. Reputable well drillers also carry insurance. Make sure to ask for proof of both before any work begins.

2. Are they reputable?
Ask your perspective well driller if they have any references. Ask your friends and neighbors about the company and the kind of work they’ve done in the past. Typically, if a well company has been in business for decades, like Skillings & Sons has, it means they deliver quality work that has helped them attract new customers through the years.

3. What’s covered in the contract?
When hiring a well drilling company, there should be an itemized list of the work items and cost of the service. This contract should cover the type of well to be drilled, an estimate of cost, including man-hours, and any guarantees on the work performed.

4. What are my water needs?
Talk to the well driller about the size of your home, number of family members and if there will be any other uses on your property that will require additional water, such as farming, housing large animals or running a small business. Most homes require a well water flow rate of roughly 6 gallons of water per minute, but that rate could be higher depending on your needs.

5. What type of well should I install?
For home use, there are two types of wells – bedrock and shallow. Bedrock wells are common in New England because they yield a large amount of high-quality water. They are drilled deep within the ground, accessing streams of water that flow between the cracks in the earth’s bedrock. Shallow wells, or dug wells, draw water from the surrounding water table. They are common in older homes and in the right location can provide an adequate source of water.
Irrigation wells are another option for homeowners looking to provide a new water source for gardens, animals or a small on-site business. These wells can be installed directly into irrigation systems for lawns and gardens and are a cost-saver for homes and businesses that pay for water on municipal systems.

6. Can I get enough water from my well?
Once your water needs are established, the well driller should talk to you about the potential output of your new well. Using geological information, as well as water yield data from wells in your surrounding area, your well driller should be able to give you an educated estimate as to whether a well on your lot will meet your water needs.

7. What do I have to do to prepare the lot for my well?
If you are constructing a new home, you may need to do substantial work to the lot before a well drilling service can do their job. Clearing trees, leveling the surface site and building access roads to potential drilling spots are your responsibility. Make sure you review what is expected before a drilling appointment is set.

8. Where can I drill the well?
State and local laws and guidelines will largely determine where your well should be drilled. Well regulations stipulate certain setbacks from roads, property lines, wetlands and buildings. It makes sense to have the well relatively close to your home, but if the well must be placed a sizable distance from the house, you will need to talk to the well driller about making sure the well pump is large enough to keep water flowing over greater distances.

9. How are you going to drill it?
Before work begins, review the well drilling procedure with your contractor. When will the crew arrive? How long with the process take? What is the diameter of the well hole? What type of casing will be used? What kind of well screen will be used? How long is the tested for proper flow? Will any follow-up testing be required?

10. How much will it cost?
With any large purchase, homeowners should get quotes from competing vendors. However, the lowest bid isn’t always going to deliver the best results. Choose those estimates which are reasonably priced. Then consider references from friends and former customers. Look into their reputation with builders and the community. How professional was the staff when you met for a consultation? Combining these considerations with price will help you find the well drilling company that’s right for you.

For more information on well drilling for new homes, commercial buildings or geothermal systems, contact us. Skillings & sons has more than 40 years of experience drilling water wells in New Hampshire, Maine and Masachusetts.