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What You Need To Know Before Moving Into A House With Well Water

Jamie Johnson5-minute read
UPDATED: August 31, 2022

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If you’re making the switch from bustling city life to the quieter countryside, you may be in for a few surprises. And one of those surprises could be that your new home comes with a well water system.

While most homes in the U.S. get their water from traditional municipal sewer systems, many homeowners in rural areas rely on private wells to keep their faucets flowing. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 15 million households in the U.S. rely on well water for their daily use.

If you’re considering buying a house with a private well, you’ll want to know what to expect. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about moving into a house with well water.

How Wells Work

Generally, well water is generated from beneath the ground. Depending on the soil formation, location, and difficulty accessing groundwater, wells can travel as far down as 1,000 feet.

Once within the aquifer, water is drawn upwards with the help of a well pump through a casing. The water is then supplied to homes through a pipe nestled between the casing and pressure tank.

The primary component of a typical well water system includes:

  • A well
  • An electric water pump
  • An insulated supply line that links to your house
  • A pressure tank
  • A designated treatment system

Most well water systems can last up to 20 years if properly maintained.

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Well Water Maintenance Must-Haves

If you’re moving into a house with well water, it’s up to you to maintain it. It’s common for well water systems to undergo annual and preventive maintenance to ensure that the water meets a certain quality level.

Before moving into a house with well water, you should stock up on the following maintenance supplies to help you keep water quality in check.

Hard Water Stain Remover

Well water is often associated with the presence of hard water. Hard water is water that consists of high mineral content such as calcium and magnesium. While hard water has several health benefits, a high quantity of it may harm your drinking water, clothing and even create residue on your fixtures.

Hard water stains on your shower doors, faucets, and other water supply channels can make your home appear untidy. While there are several DIY tips to remove hard water stains, using a stain remover may be your best bet.

Water Softener

Since the well water source is directly from the ground instead of a dedicated water reservoir, it tends to be harder than city water. According to health experts, using a water softener can help you filter these minerals, thereby reducing the impact of hard water stains on your fixtures.

Over the years, water softeners have been touted to improve the taste and quality of well water. However, several states like Texas and California have banned the use of water softeners. Please check with your local water authority for more information on the use of water softeners before moving.

Water Quality Testing Kit

Having your well water tested at least once every year is key to preserving the quality of your water and family health. Depending on your home location, there are various things to test your well water for. Generally, it’s common for homeowners with a private well to test their water for harmful bacteria, nitrates, dissolved metals, and pH levels.

Upon move-in, you should test your water for the above-listed issues. Thanks to DIY water quality testing kits, you can do the testing yourself without the help of a professional.

Ensure that the kits test for nitrates, bacteria, contaminants, and the presence of pesticides. On average, you can get a good water quality testing kit for as low as $20 – $30 before your move-in date.

Iron Filter

Well water often contains a high deposit of contaminants such as iron and manganese. The presence of a high concentration in your well water can cause staining problems in home fixtures like bathtubs, sinks and other water supply outlets. One of the many ways to avoid the effect of iron is through the use of iron filters.

According to health experts, using an iron filter can help you prevent water odor and the risk of your water pipe rusting or corroding. However, make sure you change your iron filter every three to four months.

Well Water Benefits

Aside from the rustic appeal of having a well on your property, it offers several unique benefits. Listed below are some advantages to moving into a house with well water.

  • No water bill: Since your well water is not hooked up to the public water supply, you do not have to deal with expensive monthly water bills.
  • Fewer disruptions: It’s common for the water supply in towns or cities to be cut off during a natural disaster, such as massive flooding. Having a well means that you are less likely to be affected in such an event.
  • Know your water source: City water with long lines of water pipes running around the city is more prone to contamination than a private well water system.

Other Things to Know About Having Well Water

Here are other things you need to know about having well water in your next home.

You May Need to Watch Closely for Water Contamination

Due to the nature of a well water source, it may experience contamination at some point. According to the Water Quality Association, changes in water smell, taste and appearance could indicate that your well water is contaminated. Iron or manganese may be the issue if your well water has a metallic taste and brown discoloration.

The smell of rotten eggs and black stains may indicate the presence of hydrogen sulfide in your well water. If your water is discolored, this could be a sign of corroding copper pipes. You may need to check your well water pipes for rust or corrosion.

It Could Impact Your Home’s Value

While some home buyers may see a property with well water as a disadvantage due to the need for constant maintenance, well water can positively impact the value of your home. The exact value will vary depending on the property, water quality, well type, and age of the well.

Having well water may negatively impact your property value if the water is contaminated or the well is damaged. Before moving into a home with well water, you should conduct an appraisal to determine if the presence of well water can increase your home appreciation rate in the future.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let the presence of a well deter you from moving into a house. While a house with well water requires maintenance and proper attention, well water offers multiple benefits. You’ll have a fresher water source, no water bill, and it may increase your property value.

If you’re considering moving into a house with well water, it’s important to draw up a moving checklist to avoid any surprises. Start by researching living in a property with well water, maintenance tips and the benefits of a well inspection.

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Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about a variety of personal finance topics, including loans, building credit, and paying down debt. She currently writes for clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Insider, and Bankrate.