If you buy land, you’ll probably want access to water whether you plan to live there or not. Do how do you build a well on land?
You’ll want to hire a professional to find water on your land, then drill down and install a well pump that brings the water up from what can be hundreds of feet down. This also involves electrical installation to run the pump and a filtration system.
We’ll walk you through who to talk to and what to do so that you can get fresh water right out of the ground on your land. Most chunks of land will need usable water at some point, so you might as well start soon!
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Why would my land need well water?
The answer here is quite simple: Not all cities or municipalities have every address in the city hooked up to city water. Installing the pipe over miles of land without anyone living on a plot seems like an unnecessary expense for them. This is akin to cable TV and Internet companies not always being available in rural areas because the price to run cables is rather expensive.
There are also advantages to using well water: You pay upfront for the cost of drilling a well and installing a pump. After that, you shouldn’t be paying a water bill. The downside here is that you might have to foot the bill in the event that there is a problem in your well because you own the equipment and property.
What should I do before buying land?
One important thing you can do to lessen expenses and potentially save time is find out whether or not the land you want to own has a community well or city water before buying it. Talk to state officials about this, as it is often written on the deed regarding water rights.
How do I install a well on my land?
This is where professionals come in. You’ll want to contact a licensed water well driller. Companies that do this professionally will handle everything from securing permits to dig into the ground and everything else. Here is a fairly typical process for them:
- Identify if you have water on your lot: Most lots do have water somewhere, though in some neighborhoods the water source might belong to the community, which isn’t a bad thing.
- Estimate how deep they’ll have to drill, based in part on government records for other wells and aquifers in the area.
Once these are established, a well contractor might be able to tell you the cost. The cost will depend on the land and how deep you have to drill. Drilling for a well can cost $20-$30 or more per feet, generally not including the cost of a well pump or electrical.
While a well contractor will want to test the water to make sure it is not full of pollutants, it might be safe to know that if others in the area have clean drinking water from the well, yours might be good too.
After the well contractor has drilled a hole deep enough to reach water, they’ll need to install a pump in the well that uses electricity to push water all the way up from the bottom of the wall to the home’s water pipes. You’ll generally also want a filter within this system because unwanted minerals and other human unfriendlies have the potential to come out.
There are plenty of good, detailed videos on Youtube and other sources that can fully explain the process of safely digging a well by yourself.
Can I install a well myself?
Yes, you can. Your state should allow you to get a permit for the purpose of water rights on your property, just like they would a well contractor. Paperwork aside, there is a lot more to do though.
Among the special pieces of knowledge a well contractor should have is the ability to find water. If you have the equipment and time to find water, you might also learn that the water on your land is rather far down. A special drill might be needed instead of just a shovel and lots of buckets.
Another important element of attempting to drill your own well is to make sure that where you are digging and find water is uphill and far away from your septic tank. Septic tanks have the potential to leak wastewater into the well.
You might find yourself digging a more shallow well if you do it yourself. This is for a couple of reasons: Digging your own well is often the result of not needing a lot of water - or at least not providing enough water to cook with or bathe a whole family. Smaller wells tend to be more for small time irrigation or for one person with some disciplined water usage. We do have to add that when having a professional dig the well, they are often paid by the foot - so check their estimate for depth against other wells in the area to see if they are going deeper for money.
I got my well - how do I maintain it?
The most important action to take with your well once you start using it is to keep an eye on the color of your water and test it occasionally. While the well might not have had chemicals or unhealthy amounts of minerals when you first started using it, that can change. If your well water is turning darker colors than normal, you might want to learn about how to clean the well or call a professional to do so. Another call to action is a funny smell, especially if it smells like sulfur or acidic.
Your well should also have a well cap that prevents excessive debris from getting into the well and falling into the water. When maintaining your land, cut around this - we suggest this both to avoid damaging the well cap, and to avoid damaging blades or tires of anything that might be harmed by what is often steel.
The well needs to be chemically cleaned about once a year, or when you test the levels of bacteria in your water and they come back too high. Cleaning your well off contaminants can be as easy as throwing a measured amount of cleaner into the well cap. At some point, you might also need to have a professional come in - or use a long hose to rinse off well equipment underground.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling