What to Know About Private Well Water
Utilizing a private well for a home’s water supply is a very common practice for homeowners living outside the city limits, where a municipal water supply is not available. There are still some considerations to be made when deciding to use a private well. Whether you’re about to buy a home with a private well or you’re thinking about your current private well’s impact on your water, here’s what you need to know.
What is Private Well Water, and How Does it Work in a Home?
Private well water is groundwater that’s pulled from a below-ground aquifer—a layer of porous rock or sediment that’s been saturated with water. For a private well to work, it must reach an aquifer and use water pumps to bring that water into the home.
Households that use private well water are responsible for treating the water themselves. This is because any private well water that’s used for drinking, cooking, cleaning or bathing won’t have any treatments that municipal water must have by law.
Advantages of Private Well Water
High Nutrients and Minerals
Municipal water is filtered, sanitized and chlorinated, making it devoid of naturally-occurring minerals (though the right water purification system can add calcium and magnesium back in). Sodium, zinc and iron are just some of the other nutrients and minerals that you can get from your private well water.
No Water Bills
Private wells aren’t managed by municipalities, so there’s no associated water bills.
Protection from Contamination after Natural Disasters
Since aquifers are located underground, they aren’t often affected by natural disasters like flooding or hurricanes that may contaminate municipal wastewater treatment systems (though it’s still worth testing a private well after one).
Disadvantages of Private Well Water
Higher Chances of Contaminants
Without proper treatment, private well water may not be safe to use. It can be packed with contaminants that cause staining, appliance damage, unusual tastes or smells and even health issues. Some of these contaminants include:
- Heavy metals such as arsenic, copper and lead
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Radioactive elements such as uranium and radium
- Bacteria and viruses
In particular, bacteria and viruses are more likely in private well water than municipal water. This can be due to septic tank issues, water pipe problems and organism interactions (e.g., animals, plants and insects). For this reason, yearly private well sanitization is highly recommended.
Heightened Electricity Costs
Pumps are needed to provide a home with consistent access to private well water. While you may save money on water bills, this can mean higher electricity usage.
Testing and Treating Private Well Water
At a minimum, you should test private well water annually to maintain its quality. Well-water testing should also occur after the following:
- If there are known water issues in your area: If your local government has issued a statement or warning about water quality, have your private well tested.
- Construction is happening nearby: Land disturbances can potentially compromise your water quality.
- You perform maintenance on it: After repairs, you should have a water test done to ensure that it’s working properly.
- You notice a change in your water quality: Changes in smell, taste or appearance are all reasons to get your water tested. The issue could be stemming from your water or your private well itself.
Make Private Well Water Work With Kinetico
Private well water may have its issues, but it can be a valuable option with the right precautions. By partnering with Kinetico, our water experts can help you understand your water and if any treatment can help. Get started with your free water analysis.