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Wells, Wells, Wells...How do they work?

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

We just bought a home and it has a well. What now and how does that thing work?

First let’s take a look at why you may need a well or already have one on a property.

Some houses and buildings are in an area that is not serviced by local or county utilities (water and sewer) that are typical in more populated areas. So, the alternative is to have a well and septic system to service the structure or home. This is determined or discovered in the beginning stages of planning for that property. What utilities are needed to service the property play a large roll in structure placement on the property or lot.

For example: If there is need for a well and septic system, the number of bedrooms in a home and the type of soils on the property will determine the type of septic system that is needed. Also, where the system will be placed on the property in relation to the structure. If the water is for drinking and being piped into the home, then the appropriate distance from the septic tank needs to be determined in order to avoid contamination.

Tip #1: If well water is your primary source of drinking water, pay attention to nearby construction as it can affect underground water sources. Also, have your well water tested regularly for potability.

To install a well on a property, a well drilling company is hired to drill a hole in a designated area approved by the county to access water contained in an aquifer (natural underground water source). A permanent pipe is installed and a pump is placed down into the pipe and is used to pull water out of the ground. There is a screen filter on or near the pump to block out unwanted particles that could clog the pipe. From there, the water is pumped into a pressure tank located in the structure or home that holds the water until ready for use.

Tip #2: As a county or city develops, there may be an option to “tap on” or “hook up” (sometimes for a fee) to the public utility lines. Confirm your options with your local utility provider.

There are 3 types of wells:

  • bored or shallow

  • consolidated or rock

  • unconsolidated or sand wells

We won’t go into all of that but you can find a great deal of information about them on-line.

Tip #3: Know the following information by keeping a file about the well in the event it needs serviced, replaced, or you move:

  • Know what kind of well you have.

  • Know how many feet deep it is.

  • How many gallons per minute it can pump.

  • Pump: Age (wear & tear over time leads to replacement), Make, Model #, Size.

  • Tank: Make, Model No., Size.

Now that you know wells work, make sure you do your homework and choose the right option for your land.

My neighbor recently drilled a well for their property and I was able to grab some footage!


To learn more about wells, watch this video by McMullen Well Drilling. It will take you step-by-step through the well drilling process:

This article: "What is a well?" by Groundwater Foundation is a wonderful resource.

More questions? The Water Systems Council is a national nonprofit organization with programs solely focused on private water wells and small, shared wells. They are committed to ensuring that Americans who depend on wells have safe, reliable drinking water and work to educate well owners, consumers, and policymakers at the local, state and federal levels about water wells and the importance of protecting America’s groundwater resources.

Want to learn more about how to properly research a property?

Check out: “10 Things you Need To Know About Land”. An excellent resource to add to your real estate, home, or office library... or just carry as a pocket guide!”


Cheryl L. Sain has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years and has executed thousands of land transactions with investors, developers, national builders, and individuals.


This information is provided as-is and does not in any way make or imply any guarantees as to an outcome. You will need to evaluate the information herein and consult appropriate professionals such as surveyors, attorneys, tax accountants, or any other professional agencies or broker-in-charge to acquire the information and guidance you need to help you make the decision that is best for you.


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