New To Owning A Home With A Water Well? Here's What You Need To Know

Posted on: 24 May 2016

If you are buying a house that has a water well and you've always had city water, there are a few important things you need to understand about the differences between the two water sources. When you have public water and there is an issue with pressure or water outages, you can call the water company and ask them to send someone out. But since you will own the well, it will be your responsibility to make repairs and/or upgrade to ensure the well provides water for you and your family. Here are a few things you should know.

You'll Need a Backup Power Source for Power Outages

Most well pumps are electric, which obviously means they will not work when there are power outages. During a power outage, you won't be able to run the dishwasher or clothes washer. You won't be able to flush the toilet more than once or twice as there may be only enough water in the pipes for one or two flushes. Therefore, you'll want to save the flushes for when they are absolutely necessary.

Whenever power outages can be expected, such as when severe weather is heading your way, it's a good idea to start filling buckets or your bathtub with water so you can flush your toilets. If you find yourself in a power outage and have not saved any water, you'll need to conserve the water that is in the pipes since the pump from the well will not work again until the power is restored.

If you don't want to be without water during a power outage, install an automatic backup generator that will kick on as soon as the main power source goes out. There are several types available, and they operate either by solar power or by a fuel source, such as gasoline. Ask your well service technician for more information about the common types of backup systems that are used in your area, especially if you live in an area where severe weather is a frequent occurrence.

You'll Want a Pressure Tank if You Have Fire Sprinklers

Most well pumps have a pumping capacity rate that is typically not enough to provide enough water pressure for fire sprinklers to work. In fact, most well pumps handle 10 gallons of water every minute, which is much lower than the 15-20 gallons of water that is needed for fire sprinklers.

Also, a loss of power will occur at some point during a house fire, whether from damage to the electrical circuitry or from the authorities shutting off the power source, which means there will be no electricity to the water pump when water is needed the most. Backup water pumps typically do not provide a high enough pressure for fire sprinklers to operate.

Due to these issues, you'll need to install a pressure tank in your home. The pressure tank will hold water for your home until it is needed. As the well pump pumps water into the pressure tank, the air pressure inside the tank increases. When valves release water from your home's piping system, such as when faucets are turned, toilets are flushed, or fire sprinklers are activated, the air pressure inside the tank forces the water out at a faster rate.

While the water leaves the pressure tank, the well pump continues to pump water into the pressure tank, which keeps the pressure at an even level instead of fluctuating between high and low. Since the pressure tank operates with pressurized air, it does not need electricity to work. However, it does need a continual supply of water from the well to keep the pressure as equal as possible.