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  • Writer's pictureCameron Home Inspections

Why You Should Get a Well Inspection

If the home you are about to purchase receives water from a well, read on! A recent client contracted me to perform an Enhanced Well Inspection as part of her home inspection. I reviewed the well log and determined the system had been installed about 50 years ago and indicated a flow of 8 GPM, or gallons per minute. Not bad...on paper. The pump, pressure tank, switch, and controls had been replaced recently - also a good sign! I performed the first flow test which was promising...8.6 GPM. But the next test a few minutes later dropped significantly to 1.8 GPM. A few measurements later - 0.8 GPM! That's barely a trickle that took nearly 6 minutes to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Even though the well had documentation making it look much better, the final calculated yield was just over 1 GPM...not so good.

well flow test
Flow Measurement

A well's yield - sometimes referred to as the recovery rate, is how adequately water from the ground enters the well. This number is crucial to determine if the well can support peak and daily needs of the household.

First, let's talk about the different components of a well system. Below is a graphic from WelGard showing all the different parts and how they're connected.

Many components of a well are underground and hidden within the sealed casing, but we can still thoroughly test the system to ensure it's operating within standards. During my Enhanced Well Inspection, I will simulate an average daily household's potable water usage while taking a number of important measurements while also documenting the overall condition of the visual parts of the well. I input all the pertinent data into a specialized software which then calculates the magic number - yield.

While the well's yield is very important, other indicators are also measured like cycle time and amperage draw. These measurements can indicate issues with the pump or pressure tank - both of which can be expensive to repair or replace!

well casing and cap
Casing and Cap
well pressure gauge
Pressure Gauge

well pressure switch amperage draw
Amperage Draw at Pressure Switch
well pressure tank
Pressure Tank, Electrical Controls, and Piping

When functioning properly with plenty of groundwater to pull from, well systems can be a reliable source for clean water in your home for many years...but like any aspect of your home, the various components have their useful lifespans, require routine maintenance, and eventually need to be replaced. And worst case scenario - wells can (and do) run dry sometimes. Because of these potentially large upfront repair or re-drilling costs, I've partnered with WelGard, a warranty program that offers 3 months of FREE protection with a qualifying well inspection. I offer this service to provide the most comprehensive analysis of your well system possible, and protect my own well with the same coverage (they don't pay me to say that!).

If a well is your home's water source, don't hesitate to have the whole system thoroughly inspected. Replacing a well - especially one that requires hundreds of feet of drilling like we often see here in Western Montana - can be more expensive than replacing your roof, HVAC system, and major appliances...combined. Also, make sure you check out the WelGard warranty program for the best protection on the market!

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*The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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