When home buyers begin the process of looking for a home, few consider whether there’s enough water in the well. Modern wells in New Hampshire rarely “run dry,” but there are a number of issues that can arise that slow the flow of water into the home and may need repair. Understanding a water well flow rate and the volume of water needed to supply a home’s needs will help you know what to look for when it comes to shopping for a home with well.
How a water well works
The most common type of well in New Hampshire is a bedrock well. These wells consist of a pipe, or casing, that runs 100-500 feet into the ground, accessing the water that flows between the rocks deep underground. Water is then drawn up through the casing with a water well pump. Some homes draw water from a dug well, also known as a shallow well, which are can be up to 50 feet deep in some areas depending on the depth of the water table. The water in shallow wells is also drawn into the home using a water well pump.
What is “flow rate?”
Flow refers to the amount of water coming from the well, while flow rate measures the gallons per minute coming from the well. Flow rate is first tested when a well is initially drilled to make sure the supply is adequate or if further drilling is needed. It can also be tested again to determine if there are problems with the well.
The average American household needs 100 to 120 gallons per person per day, and a flow rate of about 6 to 12 gallons per minute. This requirement should be higher if it serves a home housing a large family or there are large water demands. However, if the water usage of a home is minimal, a lower flow rate of 4 to 5 gallons per minute could be acceptable.
If you want to know what the flow rate should be for your home, you can do some quick calculations. Count the number of water fixtures in your home, including showers, faucets, outdoor water spigots and water-using appliances like dishwashers and clothes washers. Calculate 1 gallon per minute for each appliance and then add them all together. That will show you the average gallons per minute needed for your home.
What causes a low flow rate?
There are a number of reasons for low flow, and not all originate from the well. A lowered water level within the casing is one. This issue can be resolved through drilling and hydrofracking. Low flow can also be the result of a badly placed well pump and clogged pipes.
Sometimes the well pump is not inserted deep enough into the ground and there is not enough allowance between the water depth and the pump depth. Adjusting this level and placing the pump deeper in the well can fix the problem. Clogged casings and pipes, causes by mineral and metal caking from elements like iron and calcium, can reduce the amount of water being pumped from the well. Drilling and hydrofracturing can blast this residue away, but homeowners may need to install a water filtration system to prevent the same clogging from happening within the home plumbing system.
Inadequate piping from the well and in the home can also cause low flow. If the water must travel a great distance from the well to the home, a stronger pump is required. If one is not installed, the water flow will not be adequate. Same goes for home additions that include a bathroom or kitchen that are further away from the house’s water pumping system.
Understanding low flow rates for water wells
Homebuyers may be concerned about possible flow problems with a home’s well water system, but it doesn’t always indicate the need to drill an entirely new well. If you are a new homeowner who has problems with well water flow, or are considering buying a home with a well, Skillings & Sons can discuss with you the various options available to increases well water flow. Contact today for a flow rate consultation.