Buying or building a home with a private water well can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never been on well water. Like any aspect of your new home, you want to ascertain its expected lifespan. However, when considering how long your private water well will last, you’ll need to determine how long the individual components will last as well as how long you can anticipate the aquifer to supply fresh water to your home. In this post, we will go over the main parts of a well and how long you can expect them to last.
Water Well Components
A well screen is a filtering device that serves as the intake portion of wells constructed in unconsolidated or semi-consolidated aquifers. The screen permits water to enter the well from the saturated aquifer, prevents sediment from entering the well, and serves structurally to support the aquifer material. The importance of a proper well screen cannot be overemphasized when considering the efficiency of a well and the long-term cost to its owner. Well screens are manufactured from various materials and range from crude handmade devices to highly efficient and long-life models made on machines. The value of a screen depends on how effectively it contributes to the success of a well. If a screen gets clogged with iron, minerals, or sand, it can diminish the lifespan of your water well and reduce water quality.
Well casing allows water to flow up from an aquifer and reach the pump embedded inside the casing. Today’s high-quality wells use PVC casings instead of steel so that owners never have to worry about corrosion. Initially introduced to the US sewage, drainage, and water market in the 1950s, more than two million miles of PVC pipe are now in service today. PVC is engineered to resist oxidation and degradation, making PVC products and pipework highly durable. When properly installed, PVC pipes can have a lifespan of 50 years or longer. Reasons PVC may fail include poorly glued joints or tree roots displacing underground lines or burrowing their way into the pipe itself. Unless it is made of some corrodable material like steel, your well casing shouldn’t wear out in your lifetime.
A well pump is a mechanism that drives water from the ground into a home. The pump is usually paired with a pressure tank, which evens the water pressure throughout the house and reduces the number of times the pump needs to turn on and off. If there seems to be a problem with your water pump, it could mean it is old and needs replacing. It could also mean the pump is undersized or other problems with your water system. Submersible pumps located in the well should last at least 8 to 10 years before they need to be replaced. C&J offers a limited lifetime warranty on Grundfos submersible pumps, so with proper maintenance, you’ll never have to buy a pump again. Grundfos pumps provide high resistance to sand and other abrasives and easy maintenance. Grundfos pumps are made of stainless steel, increasing the life and performance of the pump.
Composite pressure tanks have become the tank of choice in residential and commercial applications for their unmatched performance over steel. They contain no steel, so they can’t rust. We offer tanks from 9-gallon to 119-gallon, depending on the water storage needed. A 22-gallon tank is the most common size for residential purposes. C&J suggests that you replace your pressure tank every ten years. Poor water quality with high amounts of rocks and other solids can also cause the tank to fail sooner. If your water has a lot of sediments in it and requires a lot of filtering, be sure to factor that in.
Your pressure switch connects to the plumbing and regulates the home’s water supply. When the water pressure drops to a certain level, the switch senses more water is needed, and spring-loaded electrical parts make contact, turning on the well pump. When the pressure returns to a preset level, and the well tank is filled, the electrical contacts separate, turning off the well pump. The pressure switch can last for several years, but sometimes it can fail much sooner than you expect. Over time, the electrical contacts in the water pressure switch deteriorate and no longer make contact. As a result, the well pump doesn’t turn on, and you’re left high and dry. Some homeowners simply have the switch replaced every year. to avoid being left without a functioning well, C&J will check your switch and can make a replacement when we come out for our annual preventative well maintenance visit. It’s typically a relatively quick and easy job for our licensed well drilling experts and doesn’t require a lot of parts either.
Water Well Source
Knowing about the components of your private water well helps you understand how the water gets from the ground to your faucet, but how long will the water underground water supply last? While people might say well’s life expectancy should be between 25 and 100 years, the answer is—it depends on a few factors.
The general geographic location where your well is located affects your well’s life expectancy. Some areas demand much deeper drilling to obtain a successful and efficient water delivery system. It also depends on the water conditions that already exist at the location your well is placed. Does your location experience seasonal droughts? These seasonal droughts can result in a reduced well recovery rate or a complete loss of well water.
Groundwater does not stay in one place, and gravity causes groundwater to flow downward and outward. Porosity—the size and number of void spaces in the formation—determines how much water can be stored in an aquifer. The permeability—the ability of water to move through void spaces—indicates how quickly the water will travel through the aquifer.
Unconsolidated aquifers usually transmit water more efficiently than bedrock aquifers. Groundwater flows easily through the spaces between loose sand and gravel particles. Water wells drilled into sand and gravel aquifers are often very productive.
Water flows out of pores and through fractures in consolidated bedrock aquifers. Productive water wells drilled into bedrock penetrate aquifers in fractured limestone, shale, or porous sandstone. Unfractured limestone, and non-porous formations such as shale or siltstone, are likely to be dry.
If you have more questions or want more info about private water well production, or need service for your home, contact the experts at C&J!