WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WELL
BEFORE YOU BUY A HOME SERVICED BY A WELL
Unlike the public water supply, a well is your own private water supply which is owned and maintained by the homeowner. It may, in some instances, be connected to a community well (a well that is shared by a number of houses or a small community).

If well treatment equipment is present a double water test is strongly recommended. Raw water in and treated water out. The purpose of the double testing tells you what is coming into the house and what it is being treated for and the second test tells you if it is being treated properly and how well the equipment is working, and in some cases if the equipment is needed.

If you are currently using water supplied by the public water supply and the property you are considering buying is serviced by a well, you should be aware of the following:
  • Water pressure may not be what you are used to.
  • The well equipment may require periodic servicing.
  • Will the well put out a sufficient supply of water for you and your family?
  • You will need to ensure that the well water quality is acceptable to all state and local guidelines. In the State of Connecticut, well water quality testing is mandatory and requires what is known as a Connecticut state profile water test. In some communities, there are additional tests which must be performed and these are dictated by the local health district.
  • If your mortgage is FHA, VA, or CHFA, additional lead in water testing may be required.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
The following items should be researched prior to purchase:
  • Obtain information regarding the amount of water that the well is capable of producing. This is known as a "recovery rate" or "yield" of the well. Usually, it is measured in gallons per minute. The higher the number of gallons per minute, the more water the well is capable of producing. If the house is 10 years old or newer, this information can often be obtained from the homeowner, the local health district, building department, or the well installation company. In houses older than 10 years, this information may not be readily available and a test should be performed.
  • Ascertain the type of well pump and its age. Generally, there are two types of well systems:
    • A submersible pump in which the well pump assembly is located at the bottom of the well. This system is generally dependable, however, when they fail, it can be more expensive to service due to its location. The majority of wells are of this type.
    • A jet pump in which the pump mechanism is located inside the house (usually in the basement). This well pump works very well and requires greater ease of service and maintenance but may not be as cost effective or efficient as a submersible pump.
  • Is there water treatment equipment on the system? If so, determine its function, the cost of service, servicing scheduling and companies that perform this service.
  • The state of Connecticut requires water testing for all wells. The best time to test your water is at the time of your home inspection. Find out if your home inspection company provides this service as most labs will not allow the customer to do their own water sampling.
  • If there is no water treatment equipment installed on the well system, the state of Connecticut requires only a single test. This test usually includes a potability test and a chemical analysis of the well water according to a set of standards. Under some mortgage conditions (FHA, VA, or CHFA), additional lead in water testing may be required.
  • In some local communities, other criteria may exist. These may include volatile organic chemical testing (VOC's). In most cases, this is not necessary, however, you may wish to check with the local health department. If additional VOC testing is necessary, this expense generally falls upon the existing homeowner. The basic tests, however, are paid by the buyer.
  • Although currently not required, radon in water testing of any well makes good sense. Since water is a transport mechanism for radon, radon in water can pose a health hazard particularly in areas with elevated levels of radon.
  • When buying a house serviced by a well, be sure to ask your home inspector if he is familiar with different well types and what he includes in his evaluation of the well and well equipment. Since water treatment equipment must be tailored to the individual well, it is best evaluated by the well servicing company. Your water quality test will allow you to ascertain if the equipment is functioning properly.

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