Private Well Inspection
Private Well Inspection:
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What is a well inspection?
If you’re considering buying a home that uses a well as the primary source of water, getting a well inspection is essential. A well inspection is conducted by a professional who tests the quality and quantity of your water.
The well inspection will ensure the water is safe to use and won’t cause any health hazards. The inspection will also reveal if the well holds enough water to properly service your home.
During the inspection, the licensed professional will also be looking to see if the well meets state regulations and criteria. Each state’s criteria vary, but generally the inspector will ensure the well is in a proper location on the property and that there is no damage to the construction or parts of the well.
When do you need a well inspection?
You’ll likely only have to worry about a well inspection if you’re purchasing a home in a more rural area. Many rural homes aren’t connected to public water services. This means should anything go wrong, you won’t receive help from the city. You’re on your own for any repairs or added filtration systems.
In most states, requesting a well inspection is the responsibility of the buyer. And as a buyer, you won’t want to skip the inspection.
Getting a well inspection before you purchase a home can save you a lot of time, energy, and money. For instance, if you discover a well needs expensive repairs or the water isn’t safe to drink or use, you may want to reconsider your purchase. Or you could negotiate a lower deal with the seller. Either way, you want to know you’re living in a home where the water is safe to consume.
If you purchase a home with a well, a well inspection won’t be a one-time thing. Ideally, your well should be inspected every year to ensure your water is safe, and the well remains working properly.
Before you buy land with a well, you may also benefit from doing a bit of research into the groundwater in your area. Search for known water issues through the EPA, talk to neighbors about any problems, and ask your real estate agent about any known water concerns in the area.
What does a well inspection include?
A SMR well inspection includes several tests. However, the main two tests include testing for water safety and for water quantity.
Foremost, an SMR inspection tests for water safety and purity. SMR's inspector takes a water sample from the tap in your home and then sends it to a lab for testing. Once tested, you’ll receive a report detailing what is in your water and what the passing limit is for each element found.
The water inspection usually tests for PH levels, hardness, alkalinity, and turbidity, which essentially means the cloudiness or clarity of the water. The lab results will also reveal the minerals present in your water. Typically, your water is tested for iron, calcium, manganese, copper, fluoride, and chloride.
For many, a big draw of owning a well is for the natural minerals. Water high in minerals contains health and nutrient benefits. Plus, minerals tend to make the water taste better too.
Along with mineral testing, the inspection also tests for coliform bacteria and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. You especially don’t want to find VOCs in your water as they pose a huge health hazard. VOCs examples include human-made chemicals, gasoline compounds like MtBE and benzene, and even chloroform. You don’t want these in your water.
The inspector should also test your well for radon. In many areas, radon isn’t automatically included in the list of elements tested so you’ll want to be sure to specifically request for a radon test.
Your water inspection will also test for water quantity. You don’t want to be left in the shower with a head full of shampoo and no water. You’ll want to ensure your well is able to provide enough water for the needs of your family. And if you have a larger household, your well may need upgrades to fulfill your water needs.
To test water quantity, the inspector measures the dimensions and depth of the well and conducts a flow rate test. The flow indicates the amount of water coming from your well, and the flow rate measures the number of gallons per minute.
On average, a home needs 100 to 120 gallons per person per day. The flow rate should be around 6 to 12 gallons per minute. This ensures you have accurate water pressure and enough water to meet basic needs such as bathing, cooking, and washing.
During the inspection, the inspector will also check your pressure tank. The inspector will look for any rusting, leaking, or other mechanical defects that could result in low water pressure or contamination.
How much does it cost to have a well tested?
While SMR rates vary, expect to pay on average anywhere from $300 to $500. And because most well inspections take place in more rural areas. Additional fees may include lab fees. Lab expenses can tack on an extra $100 to $300 to your total inspection cost.