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A Guide to Maintaining Water Well Systems

You own a water well, now what? A water well on your property gives you the freedom to determine how your well is maintained. While you will have to fix your water well if it experiences issues, you won’t ever have to feel like you have no control over your own water source. A municipal water source is easy and convenient for town and city dwellers. However, if something goes wrong, everyone who depends on that source faces issues. With preventative maintenance, wells can last for decades without any major issues. While initial installation, periodic repair, and regular maintenance carry their own costs, a water well more than pays for itself in its perpetual supply of water. You aren’t stuck with hefty monthly water bills or fees to the city for rights to their water. You simply pump the water right from your well into your home—free of charge. We hope that this guide will help you understand the basics of owning a water well and what is needed to maintain it properly. It will help you with common terminology, tips, water-quality equipment, and schedules for preventative maintenance.

Maintain Your Water Well & Its Components

water well maintenance
y professional water well contractor

How Does a Water Well Work?

Basically, a well is a hole drilled into the ground to access water contained in an aquifer. A pipe and a pump are used to pull water out of the ground, and a screen filters out unwanted particles that could clog the pipe. Wells come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of material the well is drilled into, and how much water is being pumped out. All private well construction is based on establishing the right location for the well, sizing the system correctly, and choosing the proper construction techniques.

Only professional water well contractors should install wells.

They are familiar with the hydrology in an area and all local codes and regulations. Proper well construction is key to operating and maintaining a well.

Water Well Location—High, Dry, & Sealed

Proper well location and construction are key to the safety of your well water. The well should be located so rainwater flows away from it. Rainwater can pick up harmful bacteria and chemicals on the land’s surface. If this water pools near your well, it can seep into it and potentially cause health problems. Well caps are placed on top of the well casing to prevent debris, insects, or small animals from getting into the well. Water well caps are usually made of aluminum or plastic. They include a vent to control the pressure during well pumping.

What Are the Water Well Components?

Wellhead and Cap

C&J Well Co. uses a modernized, bug-proof cap at the top of a wellhead. A secure cap fits over the wellhead to keep out debris and protect the electrical wiring that powers the pump.

Well Casing

The length of the pipe itself is called a casing. This long pipe is made of durable PVC, which doesn’t corrode like metal casings that used to be standard decades ago. Water rises into the casing up to the pump, which then transports the water into your home.

Well Pump

The pump is the most important component of the entire system. The submersible well pump uses electricity to draw water from an underground aquifer and send it through plumbing pipes to fixtures in and around
your home.

Anatomy of a Water Well

Well Screen

When we create a sand and gravel well, in order to prevent corrosion C&J uses the best stainless-steel well screen available. Just like the filter in your coffee pot, this screen filters out tiny bits of debris from your water source.

Gravel Pack

The stainless-steel well screen is nestled in between #4 quartz gravel. This gravel acts as a filter to keep sand from the acquirer from migrating into the stainless-steel screen, and your system.

Pitless Adapter

The primary function of the pitless adapter is to provide a junction for the drop pipe in the well to connect to the water line running to the house. This allows the wellhead to be extended above ground and grants easy access for well maintenance and service.

Pressure Tank

The pressure tank maintains the water pressure in the household and more importantly, protects the life of the well pump. It is stored in a crawlspace, garage, basement, or mechanical room.

Pressure Grout

The bentonite slurry is pumped into the annular space between the wall of the borehole and the casing. C&J does this per state code to protect the well aquifer from contaminants.

What Preventative Maintenance Does a Water Well Require?

Preventative maintenance helps give you the peace of mind that everything is working properly. By properly maintaining your water well, you are keeping it healthy, while minimizing the possibility of losing access to your water. When it comes to your water source, it’s important to have regular checkups and keep an accurate log of well maintenance.

Water Well Inspection

We recommend an annual inspection of your well system’s components. This six-point inspection includes bacteria testing, flow evaluation, pressure switch analysis, piping exam, pressure tank check, and a pump amps test.

water well inspection
water well disinfection

Water Well Disinfection

Disinfection, or chlorination, is a critical task every Central Indiana well owner should complete. Without it, well components can break down and water can become contaminated with harmful pathogens. For the DIYers, you can chlorinate your own well using these simple steps. If you aren’t comfortable with doing this yourself, or just simply don’t want to mess with it, call the professionals at C&J.

Water Well Rejuvenation

In order to ensure years of trouble-free service, we recommend rejuvenating your well with a well cleaning every ten years. Water well cleaning is best left to the experts. At C&J, we follow a multi-step process to ensure every part of your well is properly cleaned. After a thorough well inspection, we remove your submersible pump out of the well, lower a high-output air line into the well, and airlift years of built-up sediment and gunk out of the top of the well. This freshens up your old well and redevelops the screen, enabling better flow and better quality water.

water well rejuvination
pressure tank replacement e

Substitution

C&J also recommends a pressure tank replacement every ten years. Pumps are not intended to run continuously, and they don’t start each time you open a tap or flush the toilet. In order to provide consistent water pressure at the fixtures, the pump first moves water to a storage tank. Inside a modern tank is an air bladder that becomes compressed as the water is pumped in. The pressure in the tank is what moves the water through the household plumbing system.

Be sure your pressure tank is working properly, a bad tank can kill a submersible water pump very quickly. A pressure tank is important because it keeps water pressure at a constant level. It also keeps the water and air separated. Without these features, the water pump would turn on and off quickly—a problem called quick-cycling—which can quickly burn out the pump motor and lead to much costlier repairs. If your tank is is quick-cycling, shut off your water immediately and call a professional.

How Do I Maintain My Water Well?

professional well drilling

Be diligent to investigate the well service company you hire is qualified. Always use licensed water well drillers and pump installers when a well is constructed, a pump is installed, or the system is serviced. Make sure the contractor has appropriate equipment in good condition to do the job. Verify that the contractor has adequate insurance to protect you and will furnish a written contract specifying the terms and conditions of the job. Is the contractor familiar with applicable health and safety codes and will get adequate permits and follow well log rules? Another important thing to check is the company’s reputation by reading the reviews from their customers.

Be attentive to any changes in water color or taste. If you turn on the faucet and notice a change in color, odor, or taste of your water, there could be something wrong with the filter or, worst-case scenario, with your water well. Call a professional immediately if this occurs. Some contaminants are colorless and odorless, such as arsenic, radon, etc. Professional water treatment services can test for these contaminants that are impossible to detect on your own.

Get Quality Treatment Solutions to Your Water Problems

We will come to your home and provide an analysis of your well water and answer any questions you may have.

Professional water treatment services
check your well cover for damage

Be cautious around your well covers, as they can easily be damaged if you get too close with the lawnmower. Make a habit to consistently check your well cover for damage, as even minor damage can let in unwanted debris, insects, and rodents into your well. You will also need to make sure to keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil away from your well.

Contact the professionals at C&J Well Co. for an inspection of your well cover or get a full 6-point inspection.

Be vigilant to check for bacteria growth. Bacteria can find their way into your well water if you’ve recently had well repairs if your water well was poorly constructed, if the water gets contaminated, or if there are issues with the surrounding soil. Make sure to periodically receive water well testing to ensure you and your family aren’t using contaminated water. You can do a simple water testing kit at home, but as for treatment, it is best to hire a professional.

water well testing
water well preventative maintenance

Be certain to have your well checked by a professional annually. Prevent big problems by hiring a water well maintenance professional to perform annual problem-prevention checkups. The small fee for peace of mind is well worth it and can end up saving you thousands of dollars down the road. If you’re coming close to a year since your last checkup, call C&J so we can take a look around for you.

Be aware of who to call in an emergency situation. C&J has same-day service for “no-water” emergencies. We have service and excavation teams ready to be dispatched and quickly travel around Central Indiana as needed, and we always give top priority to a no-water emergency. Also, we use a 24-hour answering service, so there is no need to wait until regular business hours to contact us.

Do you need emergency well service?

emergency well service

Do I Need Additional Treatment Equipment for Well Water?

While the standard well components will get the water out of the ground, you will probably need additional equipment to treat the water before you use it in your home.

point-of-entry filtration systems

Water Well Filtration

Sediment, sand, or iron filters are often used for well water. These point-of-entry filtration systems reduce large particles before they get to your other treatment equipment. Point-of-entry water treatment systems can use a number of different filtration methods depending on the individual needs of your home. In addition, a point-of-entry water treatment system can be used as a “pre-filter” for a point-of-use water filter. By filtering the larger particles out of your water, you can extend the life of your other treatment equipment.

Deionization

This is just a fancy way to say that you need a water softener. The softening unit contains several cubic feet of porous plastic resin covered with molecules that attract and bind to positive ions dissolved in the water. A water softener removes hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) through a process called ion exchange.

The Ion Exchange Process

Ion Exchange Process
  1. Raw water runs through a bed of sodium-charged softening resin contained in a pressure tank.
  2. Hardness ions attach to the resin, exchanging with the harmless sodium ions.
  3. Eventually, the resin contains only hardness minerals and has to be regenerated.
  4. The control valve monitors water usage and determines when to regenerate.
  5. The resin is backwashed to rinse away impurities.
  6. A strong brine solution is then drawn through the bed and hardness ions are exchanged for sodium ions.
  7. The hardness ions are then rinsed to the drain.
  8. The softener is now ready to soften again.

This ion exchange is what makes your water “soft.” Soft water prolongs the life of your water-using appliances, allows you to use fewer soaps and detergents, and eliminates scaling and buildup on toilets, sinks, and drains.

What Kind of Water Treatment Should I Get for Well Water?

Well Water Softeners

C&J recommends a dual-tank water softener for customers on well water. The twin-tank water softener has the advantage of regenerating with soft water, not raw well water. This softener will give you soft water 24 hours a day and will last much longer than a single tank softener.

Conventional water softeners need to regenerate from time to time. This typically happens overnight when everyone at home is asleep and there is no water demand. When one tank is offline regenerating, the other tank kicks in, and vice-versa. Dual tank softeners are handy for larger families or folks who work day and night shifts.

dual-tank water softener

Well Water RO Purification

Before you consume your well water you will want to make sure it’s only that—water.

Reverse osmosis (RO) water filter works as water is forced across a semi-permeable membrane, leaving behind contaminants such as nitrates, nitrites, chlorine, PFAS, arsenic, etc. These chemicals are flushed down the drain and the clean drinking water collects in a holding tank. RO tastes better, removes impurities, and saves money vs buying bottled water.

well water reverse osmosis
Well Water UV Light Purification

Well Water UV Light Purification

Another option for water purification is an ultraviolet light. UV lights are a great way to mitigate bacteria in water because they disrupt its DNA, rendering it unable to replicate and spread. UV lights are great because they don’t use any harsh chemicals or waste any water.

There are also treatment equipment options if you are experiencing smelly water, water with excessive iron, or discolored water.

How Do I Maintain My Water Treatment Equipment?

Water softeners regularly require salt to properly deionize and remove the hardness minerals. Depending on usage, they usually need 40-50 lbs a month. If you don’t have adequate salt in the brine tank, the softener will malfunction and won’t do much good. Also, if properly maintained, water softeners only need the media replaced every 7-10 years.

Many owners of private water wells have a point-of-entry sediment filter. These filters need to be changed at least once a month, sometimes even as often as once a week. Forgetting to monitor and change a sediment filter will reduce water flow and quality while causing unnecessary wear and tear to other water treatment equipment you may have.

If you have a reverse osmosis drinking water system, it is recommended that you change the filters at least every year and the RO membrane at least every five years. Ultraviolet lights will need the bulb changed about every 13 months.

Water Treatment System Maintenance

How Do I Choose a Company to Drill and Service My Water Well?

Investigate Your Well Drilling & Maintenance Options

As mentioned above, the reputation of the company that services your water well is of great importance. Check their reviews on Google, the BBB, and home improvement referral sites. Also, before you hire someone to do work at your home, make certain they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Furthermore, Indiana requires well drillers and pump installers to pass a rigorous test and continuing education in order to maintain their licenses. Additionally, be sure to verify that the company is allowed to do work as a contractor in your town. Ask the company for up-front pricing for the scope of work so you don’t incur hidden charges. All of these steps will ensure the company you hire is credible, professional, transparent, and accountable.

Anticipate Potential Services Needed for Your Water Well

Service companies often offer seasonal specials throughout the year. These specials vary from discounted service calls to large reductions of well pump packages. Be sure to pay attention to emails, social media, and mailers that have the details of these specials so you can take advantage.

C&J also offers financing options so you can avail yourself of special deals on services and equipment.

Communicate with a Quality Water Well Company

If you are planning a well drilling project for new home construction, or just have some additional questions not covered here, please reach out to us at C&J. We love helping Hoosiers with their water well issues—large or small!

expert water well maintenance