Well Water and Inspections 101

Well water — unless you grew up in a house with a well, having one in your home is likely a foreign concept. Chances are good that if you’re house-hunting in quieter suburbs or rural settings your idyllic future home may be on well water. This isn’t a bad thing, although to many it is a big question mark.

In this blog we’ll dispel the mystery around well inspections so read on to find out more!

The Basics

There are two main things that you want to be confident about in regards to the condition of a well. First, that the water is free from unwanted bacteria or contaminants. Second, that the well can supply adequate water to the home for all your daily needs. A water quality test will analyze the well water for any trace of contaminants. Well flow tests are a great way to gauge how a well performs at supplying the home with adequate water.

Water Quality

Water quality testing is highly recommended for wells. Cities and townships are required to test public water and your water at home should be no different. You are what you eat, and that includes the water that you drink. Testing water quality ensures that you’ll be able to enjoy a home’s water safely and with confidence.

It’s also important to note that depending on the loan, well water quality testing may be required by the lender. In particular, FHA and VA loans have stringent guidelines regarding required water quality testing for wells.

Well Flow

A well flow test is also highly recommended because it aids in discovering if the well can supply enough water to a home. Well flow tests involve running a certain amount of water for a certain amount of time. This process enables an inspector to determine the rate at which the well can supply a steady flow of water. Additionally, it simulates normal water usage for the home to see if any issues arise during the test.

A well flow test is a great way to do a quick assessment of a well’s performance. It does not involve removing the well cap (which can contaminate a well) or determining a refresh rate (how quickly the well fills back up with water).

Equipment

The outcome of a well flow test helps in assessing the performance of the well pump equipment in addition to gauging the well’s ability to provide enough water to the home.
However, sometimes well equipment could be nearing the end of its useful life or be showing signs of wear and tear. We recommend contacting a reputable company that specializes in well equipment maintenance and repair, in order to assess equipment in a more in depth manner when desired.

Consider the Strategy

Planning ahead can help you allot extra time for water quality results (which can take several days from sampling to return). Whenever there’s a well there are also additional opportunities for negotiation. Many water contaminants can be corrected with simple measures and may not be cause for immediate alarm.

A home’s ability to provide water for drinking and basic needs is a crucial element to the homebuying process. That’s why assessing a home with a well in the above ways are such a good idea!

Looking for more? Learn more about a variety of home-buying and inspection topics by reading our other blogs here.

By Chris Earley
Chris Earley is the Owner and President of Liberty Inspection Group based in Media, Pennsylvania. Liberty was named one of the Philadelphia 100 in 2017 by the Wharton SBDC, making them one of the fastest growing businesses in the Philadelphia area. Chris’ company is a full-service inspection team providing commercial and residential inspections in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.