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Pros and Cons of Well Water: Everything You Need to Know
Well water is a popular alternative to city water for many families since it’s cost-effective and environmentally friendly. But aside from its advantages, there are also several potential drawbacks that you should consider before using well water.
Wells source their water by penetrating the water table underground. Water is then found in an underground aquifer and brought to the surface with a pump. Since the water is sourced from the ground, it contains minerals and nutrients not found in other sources of water. However, it may also contain pathogens, heavy metals, and sediments that make it unsafe for drinking.
We have previously written about how to purify well water for drinking, but in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of well water.
To learn more about well water and whether it’s right for you, continue reading below.
Related Article: How to Purify Well Water for Drinking: The Many Ways to do It
How Does a Water Well Work?
As you know, a well is a hole in the ground that you use to access underground water. You’d use a pump to bring water to the surface and a pipe to bring the water to where you need it. You can use well water for irrigation, drinking, cooking, laundry, and other purposes.
Why Does Well Water Need to be Purified?
Unlike city water systems that have undergone chemical treatment and filtration to remove contamination, untreated well water may contain pathogens, heavy metals, and sediments. These contaminants found in untreated well water make it unsafe for drinking. To understand the quality of your well water, you can perform an at-home water quality testing kit.
Fortunately, there are many methods to purify water using at-home filtration systems. Some methods to purify well water at home are:
- Boiling Water
- Chemical Treatment
- Distillation Filtration
- Reverse Osmosis
- Solar Filtration
- Quantum Filtration
- Ultraviolet (UV) Light Filtration Systems
The best filtration system for well water is a combination of multiple filters to ensure sediments, pathogens, turbidity, and heavy metals are removed. A whole-house water filter would be most effective for multiple layers of filtration before use.
Note: If your well has been affected by natural disasters (flooding, tornados, hurricane, etc.), you should stop all use of the well until you have a professional inspect the quality of your water.
Advantages of Using Well Water
When coming up with the advantages of well water, people often focus on reducing their monthly water bill and greater control over their water supply. But there are more benefits to keep in mind.
1) Low Recurring Costs
Once you have your well water set up, the costs of maintenance and testing are far lower than what you’d pay for public water distribution or private water delivery. So by switching to well water, you can lower your monthly water bills.
2) Preferable Taste
Most people who’ve drank well water tend to prefer its taste over public city water. There are a couple of reasons this may be so.
First, city water is typically treated with chemicals like chlorine. Second, the treatment of public water tends to remove naturally occurring minerals that improve the taste of the water.
3) Greater Control
When city water treatment facilities treat water for public consumption, they make sure that all the treatment methods involved don’t make the water harmful. However, in the process, they may be adding harmful chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride, which have been proven to be harmful to people.
But if you’re the type who wants to know exactly what’s in the water you’re using, it would be better to use your own well water. With this, you can apply the water treatment methods that are safe, and you are most comfortable with.
4) Greater Reliability
If your community is undergoing a temporary water outage, your water supply won’t be restricted because you have your own well water. Even if you do have access to city water, having a private well can serve as a backup water source in case of emergencies. Still, it is important to have your water regularly tested to ensure it is safe to use and be aware of the types of contaminants in the water.
5) Increased Property Value
In terms of financial gain, having a water well on your property will increase your property’s value. It’s an asset that you can market to future buyers as a unique selling point.
6) Going Off-Grid
If you are working to build a homestead or go off the grid in a rural area, securing your water supply is an important step in building a self-sustaining home. Having a water well means you are not dependent on government resources to secure a basic survival item.
If you do live off the grid, it is important to conduct regular testing of your well, so you do not get sick from contaminated water.
What Are the Disadvantages of Well Water?
We discussed some of the advantages of well water, but there are disadvantages of using well water as well.
1) Initial Drilling Expense
You won’t encounter this expense if your property already has a water well. But if you’ve yet to install your own water well, then water well drilling expenses can run high.
Before you start drilling on your property, you’re going to want to take a look at all the associated fees. Your area’s governing body may charge you fees for registration and permits.
If you start drilling and later find out that your area doesn’t allow water wells, you may be hit with hefty fines.
2) Responsibility for Water Quality
If you’re using well water, no one else will be responsible for treating it and keeping it clean. So, you’re going to need to learn about what’s in the water in your well. Then, you’ll need to take the appropriate steps to set up filtration systems, maintain them, and more. This responsibility can be expensive and time-consuming.
3) Undesirable Mineral Content
The water coming from your well may contain minerals that aren’t harmful to people but change the taste of the water. Although well water may taste better than public water – due to the lack of chemicals like chlorine – some people may still not like the texture and functions of well water.
Here are a few ways undesirable minerals can affect your well water:
- Water high in salt or sulfur may cause undesirable results when washing clothes
- High levels of certain minerals can clog your pipes and fixtures
- Certain minerals will cause spots when washing cars, windows, or dishes.
4) Dependence on Electricity
As we mentioned earlier, you won’t be dependent on public distributors of water if you have your own well water supply. But you may become dependent on electricity. This is because most well pumps are powered by electricity. So, if you experience a power outage, your well’s water pump may not work.
To wrap things up, well water can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for obtaining clean drinking water. It can save you money on water bills and can serve as a water source that isn’t dependent on the public water supply.
Despite its advantages, it’s essential also to consider the potential drawbacks of using well water. Ultimately, whether or not well water is suitable for your situation is a decision that only you can make.
If you do choose to use well water and are thinking of how you can purify and filter it, check out our complete water filtration guides on our website for more info.
People Also Ask
How Do You Know if Your Well Water Is Making You Sick?
There are several signs to look out for to determine whether your well water is making you sick. These signs include:
- Headaches or fatigue
- Cloudiness or discoloration of the water
- An unusual or metallic taste or odor in the water
- Respiratory symptoms like difficulty breathing and coughing
- Rashes, skin irritation, or other skin-related issues
- Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea
Why Does Your Well Water Taste Bad?
There are many reasons why your well water may taste bad. If your well water has a metallic taste and your property is near an iron ore mine, your water may taste bad due to iron contaminants.
The CDC recommends testing your water annually for pH, nitrates, and coliform bacteria, as well as contaminants relevant to your geographical area.
If you've performed basic tests and still have bad-tasting well water, you may wish to invest in more comprehensive testing. Although extensive testing may cost quite a bit, it'll still be cheaper than switching over to bottled drinking water.
Is Well Water Good for Your Skin and Hair?
Well water can be good for your skin and hair since it contains minerals that can help nourish and strengthen your skin and hair. These minerals include calcium and magnesium.
Is Well Water Bad for Your Teeth?
Although fluoride is touted as something beneficial for teeth, it can cause harm when there's too much of it. Well water, in some cases, may contain excessive amounts of fluoride. This may cause tooth enamel fluorosis, which is a condition that causes the discoloration of teeth.
How Much Does a Water Well Cost?
Cost can vary depending on the service and type of well. The price can range from $2,000 just for the drilling and up to $20,000 for a full-service deep well installation. In addition to the cost of labor, material, and drilling, consider the cost of government permits and applications as well. The cost of installing a water well can be expensive and long, and you should seriously consider your budget before proceeding with installing a well in your home.
Is Well Water Good for Plants?
Well water can be good for plants. This is because well water often contains minerals that help plants grow and develop. These minerals include magnesium, calcium, and iron.
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