on Thursday, May 19, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Using your own well water can be satisfying, but as most wells don’t come with a handy user manual, it’s not always easy to know how best to take care of your well. This is especially true if you have an older system or if you are putting in a new well. While you may be able to fix small issues that arise, part of maintaining your well is also knowing when to call in the professionals. Be cautious of trying to solve bigger problems on your own. If you open the well cap, you might accidentally introduce contamination or drop items such as tools into the well, making the problem worse.
Here are things you can do to keep your well pump well maintained, and situations where you should seek professional service.
Checking Your Well
Use these strategies to keep an eye on your well and ensure that it’s functioning properly.
- Check your well every year to spot potential issues before they become huge hassles.
- Get your well inspected by a licensed or certified well inspector. These professionals will have materials, knowledge, and tests that the average consumer may not have.
- Between formal inspections, keep an eye on the mechanical aspects of your well. Make sure that pipe caps and casings are intact and secure.
- If your well has electrical components, make sure all connections are secure and in place.
- Keep materials such as oil, paint, and fertilizer away from the well.
- Your well should be located a safe distance (at least 50 feet) from any kennels, livestock enclosures, fuel tanks, and buildings.
- Consider adding a concrete pad around the well casing. This might be required by your local water department.
- Keep vegetation, especially root systems, at least 10 feet away from the well.
- Check your master water meter frequently to get an idea of how much water is in your well, and how much water you use.
- Measure chlorine levels and ensure chlorinators are working properly. It’s a good idea to calibrate chlorinators every three months.
- Check each part of your well for any signs of corrosion or damage. Keep in mind that broken electrical connections may produce odors.
- Take note of whether your well is downstream from any potential contaminants, such as a neighbor’s septic tank.
- Make sure your well’s mechanical aspects have plenty of room to allow for airflow and ventilation.
When to Call in a Professional
Get professional service or help if you notice any of the following issues.
- Odors in your well or water – this may indicate bacterial growth.
- Leaks or corrosion.
- Issues with your submersible pumps – these pumps can pose a risk for electrocution unless they are serviced properly.
- Mechanical inefficiencies, like cycling too slowly or too quickly.
- Low water flow, sandy sediment, or cloudy water.
- If you need to seal an old, unused well – this prevents the old well from contaminating your newer water supply. Old wells might also have pipes and hand-dug holes that can be a physical hazard to people. Professionals can fill in holes and remove other hazards.
- If you or your family members experience recurring gastrointestinal illnesses – this can be a sign of contamination in your water supply. Professionals can test for materials such as arsenic and radon.
- If your well has been in service for more than 20 years – after this time, the well may have reached the end of its serviceable life. You may need to have the old well decommissioned and a new one put into place.
- If you aren’t sure of your state’s regulations for groundwater. The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of what each state requires for wells and the professionals who serve them.
- Although you should be checking your well regularly, you can also have a professional complete annual checks for well conditions, including bacterial counts. An extra set of eyes can be helpful in catching issues before they become major.
When you use a well for your source water, it’s critical to make sure your water supply is clean and safe for your family to use. Checking your well often is an important part of keeping your water safe, and knowing when to call in a professional will ensure that your well’s water supply stays clean, reliable, and well-maintained.
How do you keep your well maintained? What issues have you been able to fix in your water supply?
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