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How Much Does It Cost to Drill a Well?

a water well

There are a lot of factors that go into digging a well. Things like ground condition and the depth will all play a massive role in how expensive drilling the well is. Nationally, the average is around $5,500 for an average well. However, they can cost as little as only $1,000 or up to $35,000.

The higher cost is generally most associated with industrial wells or those that are a large diameter. Most people do not need a well that large.

We’ll take a look at all the possible cost differences on this page. It is essential to choose a professional for this project. While you can do it yourself, it is a bit dangerous, and permits are often necessary. It is often more comfortable (and not much more expensive) to go through a professional.

What does the average well cost?

For residential purposes, the average well is about 100 to 300 feet and 4 to 6 inches in diameter. For most people, this is plenty. However, the depth will depend on your local area. You may need it deeper, which is going to cost extra money. On the other hand, you may not need it this deep, which will make it significantly cheaper.

The average well lasts about a week for installation. For this reason, it doesn’t cost that much to have a professional do it. After it is installed, it lasts up to 40 years with the proper maintenance. You will likely not need to drill a new well for quite a while.

You also have to consider how much money the average well will save you. With the 40-year lifespan, most wells can pay themselves off.

ground water hole drilling machine
Image Credit: Theeraphong, Shutterstock

Cost Factors

Many factors go into the cost of a well. Some factors will drive the cost more than others. You also have to consider local variants. If you’re in a location with lots of professionals that can drill wells, you may be able to search around for a lower price. However, if you’re in a location with only one or two professionals, you may end up spending more.

Depth

The depth will be one of the significant factors you’ll need to consider when figuring up the cost for your well. How deep your well will go depends mostly on your area. Some areas require deeper wells than others. This isn’t a factor you can control. You can’t just make your well shallower because you want your well to be cheaper; it wouldn’t fill up with water!

The cost per foot also depends on the size of the well, for obvious reasons. Digging a tiny 3-4 inch well will cost anywhere from $10 to $20 a foot. A 4-inch well will likely cost about $20 to $40 a foot, while a 6-inch well will cost about $30 – $65.

These prices include complete installation, including drilling and casing. It’s the cost that gets you a finished well.

person digging a well
Image Credit: I am a Stranger, Shutterstock

Completeness

There are many different levels of wells. For drilling only, a well can be very inexpensive. However, this often isn’t practical. A well casing pipe will cost a few hundred dollars at least per foot, while a well pump will probably be an extra $300 – $1,000 for residential use. Commercial products will be more expensive.

If you get add-ons to your well, you can expect to pay a bit more than you would otherwise.

Geography

In some places, it only costs more to drill through the same amount of rock. This may be because of the terrain or because of the type of rock. Some states tend to need bigger holes as well, which can drive up the cost considerably.

Check the depth and width of wells in your area to get a good idea of how big your well might need to be.

Water Testing

You will need to test your water before you use it. Occasionally, your state or county may require specific tests. In other cases, they may not require any at all. However, you should still test your water to ensure that it is safe for you and your family to drink.

There are many different things you can test for in your water. The cost of the test is directly related to the things you’re testing for. A DIY kit may cost as much as $150, though you can get simpler options for as low as $30. If you get a professional to come out and do the testing, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500.

Ground Conditions

This can be affected by your geographical location. However, you also have to consider the season. Even in the same geographical area, the difficulty of drilling through a particular section in your backyard can vary. For instance, your well’s location may be very rocky, which will drive up the cost. On the other hand, it might be straightforward, which may lower the cost.

You may not know the conditions of your land until you start digging. If you work with a professional who has dug wells in your area, he likely knows the land’s difficulty.

Distance to Your House

Installing a well close to your home is cheaper than installing it further away. This is because the well will need to be plugged into your home’s electricity, and the main water line will need to be installed. The more line you need, the more expensive your well will end up being. For this reason, try to have your well as close to your house as possible.

However, there are some difficulties involved with this. There are some minimums you need to be aware of. For example, the well needs to be at least 5 feet from your property line. Some states have laws stating it needs to be up to 10 feet away from the property line. The well needs to be 50 feet away from your septic tank and 200 feet from a septic tank drain field and utility lines.

This can limit the places you can put a well. You likely won’t be able to put one on the same side of your house as your septic tank.

water well drilling close up
Image Credit: Myfotoprom, Shutterstock

Permits

You will need a permit to dig a well. Often, the professional you’re working with may obtain these permits for you, as the paperwork can get a bit complicated depending on where you’re living. For residential wells, your well will need to be inspected multiple times to ensure that it is drilled correctly and appropriately connected to your house.

In some cases, the water will need to be tested. Other times, the water may not be required. Different places have different fees and regulations. Permits can be anywhere between $350 to $700 on average.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put a well on my property?

If you own your property, most places will allow you to put a well on your property if you follow specific guidelines. Of course, the groundwater under your property needs to be safe to drink, and your land needs to be big enough to follow specific spacing guidelines. You cannot put a well too close to your septic tank, for example.

How deep do wells need to be?

This depends on your location. The well needs to hit your area’s water table. How deep that water table is can vary widely from one area to another area. Therefore, how deep your well needs to be can vary substantially. If your neighbors have any wells, you can often get the depth information from them. Professionals in your area will likely also know the average depth.

However, the truth is that you won’t know for sure until you start drilling.

How long does drilling a well take?

Usually, a well can take one to three days to drill. One day will be needed to set up all the equipment. The actual drilling can take as little as one day or as many as two or three; it depends on the depth and the diameter. After that, a pumping system will need to be set up, as will electricity. You will then need to wait for water testing to use the water, which can take only a day or up to a week, depending on your local regulations and how you’re going about it. DIY tests will take less time but may not be accepted.

You will have to wait for your well to be checked for a permit. This can take very little time or a lot of time, depending on how long it takes your local regulators to come out.

How many years does well water last?

Preferably forever. The water tables in your area should continually refill, so your well should never run out of water. However, wells usually do not last more than 50-years, assuming you take care of them. You will need to re-drill and have it fixed up to elongate its lifespan.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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