Are you curious how much water your private well system can provide to your home? WIN Home Inspection Elizabethtown can perform a well flow analysis (also known as 'well pump performance') to measure your well's flow (gallons per minute) and pressure (psi) over a short period of time. This information will let you know if your well system is delivering an adequate water supply to your home, if repairs or adjustments are warranted, or if you may need to find another water source for your home. This well flow analysis won't determine the depth or capacity of the well casing, pump, or aquifer, however, since those areas are not visible or accessible. Also, the well's recovery rate is not determined since this often requires nearly draining the well.
The Commonwealth of PA does not regulate private well systems and has no statewide private well standards, so maintenance of private well systems and ensuring the potability (whether the water is safe to drink) of well water is the responsibility of each private well's owner. Having the facts is important for all private well owners.
WIN Home Inspection can also perform water quality testing to determine if your home's private well is delivering water that is safe to drink.
In general, a well pump should be able to deliver at least 4 gpm (gallons per minute) and at least 40 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure to a residential home. The well pump test is performed with no other water running in the home in order to obtain accurate measurements. For comparison, most public water utilities supply between 40 and 70 psi to the home.
It is recommended that all well systems be serviced regularly by a licensed plumber or a qualified well contractor. For all property transactions where there is a well, the inspector recommends obtaining the well's log from the property owner which should include important detailed information such as: locations of the well's components, pump and casing depth, service records, well yield data, age of the well's components (pump, tank, wiring, etc.), etc.
PA has no statewide water well standards, so maintenance of well systems and ensuring the potability of well water is the responsibility of each well's owner. It is recommended to retest your home's well water every 14 months for safety reasons. This allows for testing to span the seasons after a few years; different contaminants may be more prone under certain seasonal and weather conditions. It is also recommended that no pesticides or fertilizers be applied to the ground within 100' of the well casing as this can cause well contamination. Pets should be kept away from well casings and the ground around the well casing should also shed water away from the well casing. The top of the well casing should stick up above grade (at least 8" is suggested, 12" is better) to help prevent contamination of the well water. Standard well caps should be replaced with sanitary caps (see bottom photo).
These are photos of standard well caps. The one on the right has a large hole in it. Insects, rodents, pesticides, fertilizers, ground water, etc. can easily enter either well and contaminate the drinking water.
The above photo shows a sanitary well cap installed with a proper well casing height (the casing terminates at least 8" above grade). It is recommended that all standard well caps be replaced with sanitary well caps to help prevent well contamination. A sanitary well cap ensures a better air-tight seal to help prevent contamination of the drinking from the top of the casing and nearby environment.
For additional information about well water, well systems, etc., please contact us.
Matthew Steger, owner/inspector of WIN Home Inspection, is an ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI), a Certified Level 1 Infrared Thermographer, an electrical engineer, a PA DEP licensed radon tester, and a US Dept. of Energy Home Energy Score Assessor. He is fully PA Act 114 compliant. He can be reached at: 717-361-9467 or firstname.lastname@example.org. WIN Home Inspection has provided a wide array of home inspection services in the Lancaster, PA area since 2002.