When purchasing a new home, it’s common practice to thoroughly inspect the property’s structure and existing systems. If it receives water from a private well, it’s important to make sure you include a thorough inspection of the water well system and test the quality of the water. In NH and MA, wells rarely “run dry” but there are some issues that can impact the flow of water to the home that needs to be addressed. Understanding what to look for when assessing a home’s water supply can make shopping for a home with a water well easier.
Know the History of the Water Well
Many mortgage companies require a water quality test before closing on a property. Water quality is important, but you should also inspect the pump, pressure tank and the condition of the wellhead. Ask the sellers if they have any information on the construction, maintenance and current condition of the water well. Try to get the name of the company that drilled the well and ask to receive a copy of the well log or well history (also known as a water well record or drilling report). Most states require well contractors to file a well log on every new well drilled.
The log will include a reference number for the well, the owner’s name at the time of construction, the location, and other details. The report may include the drilling method used, water well depth, amount, and type of casing, size and type of screen and information about the submersible pump. Also, ask for any maintenance and inspection records after construction.
Many homeowners perform an annual water quality test. Make sure to ask the current owners if they have copies of previous yearly tests. If the homeowner doesn’t have records, check with the driller or local health department for water test results.
Review the Well’s Condition
The well log should help you to determine the age, condition, and location of the well. Here are some additional aspects to consider:
- Any sources of pollution – If the home has a septic tank, what is the proximity to the well? Is the well isolated from surface water sources?
- Distance from potential pollution sources – Is at least 100 feet away from any potential pollution source? Does it meet or exceed all minimum state requirements?
- Soil Type – Fine textured soil, like clay, offers the best impurity filtration to purify ground water before it reaches your well.
- Subsurface conditions – is the water table or fractured bedrock more than 20 feet deep? This depth permits plenty of natural filtering.
- Age – Is the well less than 20 years old?
- Casing – Is the casing height safely above any historical flood level?
- Depth – does the casing extend at least 50 feet below the surface?
- Maintenance – how old is the pump and pressure tank? Has regular maintenance been performed?
Your home’s well is your most valuable asset. If purchasing a new home that receives its water from a private well, make sure to ask the right questions and get as much information as possible from the current homeowners. Your well and its health are your responsibility. Do your due diligence before you buy a home with a water well. You family’s health and well-being depend on it!