There are three types of private water wells: dug, driven and drilled. All modern wells are drilled and nearly all are lined. The pumps for each well are found in different locations. Dug wells usually have the pump in a different area such as in the house, or a pump house; driven well pumps are usually in the house or on top of the well; drilled wells usually have submersible pumps placed near the bottom of the well.
There will be instances where the homeowner does not take proper care of their private water well system. If this is the case then the repairs can be very expensive. If you have any questions about its maintenance ask the homeowner to show you the well’s history such as when it was built, the amount of repairs that needed to be done and the proof that there have been pumping and well water quality tests on at least a yearly basis. Home inspections usually do not perform well water quality tests in New Jersey due to strict state requirements and very high fees. If you have any questions at all about well water quality feel free to ask your home inspector, call the lab, contact the local health department or even the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Proper well construction can avoid many problems. Having the well head extend up above the soil line makes many problems with surface contamination (such as pet waste getting into the well head) much less likely to occur. Home inspectors will run water during the home inspection if you wish to determine the quantity of water the well will supply. Consultation with a well contractor will be necessary PRIOR to expiration of your home inspection contingency.
Well pumps are not designed to cycle on and off all day long. Well pumps that do cycle on and off frequently will have a reduced life span. Nearly all homes have a bladder type water pressure tank, which will reduce the amount of times that the water pump turns on and off. Sometimes these tanks are too small or become porous and leak. Replacement and or maintenance of pressure tanks is necessary in order to avoid premature failure of the well pressure pump.
If you ever notice “short cycling”, (the pump starts and stops rapidly on a frequent basis). Corrective actions are necessary as this will damage your well pump in addition the pump relay control can burn up requiring yet additional corrective actions. Many times this problem can be solved by adding air to the well tank. Other problems that can affect the water supply pump are sediment, hard water, dirt, etc
PH in well water is a major concern in New Jersey. Although NJ State Standards allow the pH to be in the 6.5 to 8.5 range, problems with pipes (especially copper pipes) and dissolved lead from solder are likely to occur if the pH of water is less than 7.0. Although installing pH conditioners is an expense as is maintaining the pH conditioner it is far cheaper than having to replace every single water supply pipe and or hot water heating pipe in a home.
Low pH is an acidic. Metal pipes and solder dissolve in acid. Having acidic water can be very costly. Sometimes small pin holes in pipes are an indication a problem exists. Other times major leaks occur without notice. Even if leaks are localized initially it may still be necessary or advisable to replace all the supply pipes in the home in order to avoid further failures, hazards and problems.