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Water is expensive whether it’s well water (popular in small towns or rural areas) or city (municipal) water. In this post, we’ll take a look at well water vs city water. We’ll dive into some of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Well Water vs City Water: Where Does My Water Come From?

Homes in more populated areas usually get their city water from the municipality. This means it’s been treated and claimed as safe drinking water. In contrast, homes located in more remote areas use private wells as their source of water. Anyone who has consumed well water knows it often smells and tastes a bit different than city water.

EPA Standards for Well Water & Their Involvement in Your Well

According to the EPA website, over 23 million households rely on private wells for drinking water in the United States. You will find a lot of information on understanding wells, groundwater, and what it takes to protect the owner’s health.

Additionally, there are links to other federal and non-profit websites. These sites host additional educational materials and resources to help private well owners navigate owning a well.

It’s important to note that the EPA does not regulate private wells. It also doesn’t provide recommended criteria or standards for individual wells. The EPA offers information regarding the importance of testing private wells. They also offer guidelines on technologies used to treat or remove any contaminants.

Well Water Quality Is Ultimately Up to You

If you have a private well, the safety and water quality falls to you and is your responsibility. As long as your water source is safe, you won’t have any more monthly water bills! Keep in mind that well water almost always requires the installation of a water softener and/or a house water filter to make it ideal for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. If you’re looking for a great, reliable well water test, we highly recommend Tap Score’s “Essential Well Water Test.”

Well Water vs City Water: The Benefits of Well Water

Well water is water that has been pumped from an aquifer underground in the water table. Most people see it as a more natural and pure form of water than city water. This is due to the fact that municipal city water is treated with potentially harmful chemicals before being distributed to homes and businesses. If you’re interested in seeing all of what is actually in your city water (and you’ll probably be extremely surprised), we recommend Tap Score’s “Advanced City Water Test.”

Well Water vs City Water: Quality

There are several benefits to using well water, including the fact that it typically has a higher quality content than a city water source. Well water has not been treated with harsh chemicals and, therefore, doesn’t typically contain potentially high levels of heavy metals. Heavy metals are both an environmental and health concern.

Resilience During Outages

Additionally, in a rural areas where wells are a more common water source, if the power goes out, using well water as an alternative source of water is a great option. Many folks have been and will continue to be without water due to natural disasters since the dawn of time. 

Keep in mind that, if your well has an electric pump, you’ll need to have backup power. This will ensure that you can pump the water into your home without power. Many people find that having a single solar panel and backup battery for their well water pump works well and gives them peace of mind. Regardless of how you choose to power the pump, ensure that your well pump will always have access to power.

Well Water Isn’t All or Nothing

One builder states that most of their customers that have wells use them in conjunction with municipal (city) water supply. This is because wells are deeper than city water supply lines. Power outages are less likely to affect them while saving you some money on those monthly water bills. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to choose one over the other.

Less Regulation

Also, well water is not subject to the same level of regulation as city water since it’s deemed as your own water supply, which means that it may contain trace minerals that are potential health benefits vs a city’s water supply and may not need a filtration system.

However, this also means that it is important to have regular well water tests done. These tests will ensure that your well water is safe to drink. Sometimes, you’ll need a filtration system or whole house water filter to maintain drinking water quality. This is a small price to pay to ensure that your private well exceeds EPA quality guidelines even if you don’t “have” to follow their protocols.

Well Water vs City Water: The Drawbacks of Well Water

While many people see well water as a more natural and therefore healthier option than city water, there are some potential drawbacks to using well water. One of the main concerns is water quality which is why some people prefer city water and have to pay that dreaded monthly water bill.

Well Water Quality

Well water is untreated groundwater from rain that collects in an underground aquifer. Specialized well drillers have to drill through layers of permeable rock to reach this aquifer. Once they drill the vertical tube, they then install a piping sleeve system. At the top, they install a well pump; this pump brings water into your home’s plumbing.

Naturally, well water travels through soil, rock, and other debris on its journey to your well. As you can imagine, well water has the potential to be dirty! However, the ground tends to act as a natural filter that withholds solid, visible debris. Well water quality and clarity tend to be very good unless there is an issue with your well’s sleeve system.

Minerals and Radioactive Isotopes in Well Water

As a result, well water may contain higher levels of minerals that could pose issues if consumed in high doses such as calcium, magnesium, silica, and/or iron. In addition, well water can be high in sulfates, which can cause health problems if consumed in large quantities. 

In some areas of the country, arsenic and radon are a well water concern. Having your water tested for these radioactive isotopes is a must in most northern states and those in rocky areas. 

Accidents, Upkeep, and Expense

Something that a lot of private well owners forget is to ensure the well is capped properly. A properly capped well will prevent unforeseen accidents like an animal falling in and ending up at the bottom of your well. This accident will spoil your well water and make it undrinkable.

Although private wells can be less expensive in the long run, they often require more upkeep. This includes regular water testing and treatments to maintain safety standards set by the government. As a result, many people opt for city water. City water is certainly lower maintenance than well water.

Finally, some wells’ water may have an unpleasant taste or odor. While these drawbacks should not necessarily prevent individuals from using well water, it is important to be aware of them before making the change.

How Do I Get Well Water?

If you don’t have your own well, you have two options. First, you could install a well on your own property, keeping in mind how close any septic systems may be. However, many people don’t want to shell out the thousands of dollars that a well project will cost. Another option, if you are nearby a neighbor or local business with well water, is to see if they will share with you.

To get well water from a neighbor or a local business, you will need to ask permission and may need to pay a fee. Make sure to have the potential well water tested by a local water expert or company that can ensure it’s safe to use and drink.

Installing Your Own Well

To have your own well installed on your property, you will need to do some research by asking around to your neighbors or local businesses that can offer up favorites in the area. It’s highly important that a qualified company installs your well correctly.

Make sure you get a full estimate and understand the terms of the agreement, specifically if they either don’t hit water or have to drill deeper. Sometimes if the aquafer requires deeper drilling, the price will go up exponentially.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Well?

The cost of installing a well can be expensive. The drilling expense can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and the cost of installing a well water system can be another several thousand dollars.

However, in the long run, a well can be a more economical choice for obtaining water than buying water from a utility company. The cost per foot of installing a well can vary depending on the type of well, the depth of the well, and the geographical location.

In general, though, the cost per foot for drilling a well and putting in the necessary infrastructure ranges from $50 to $250. This puts the average cost for installing a well at around $2,500. However, this price can go up if they need to drill deep into the ground or if there is a lot of rock in the way.

How Do I Maintain My Well?

To maintain your well, you will need to have it tested annually. The long-term associated costs of owning a well include a) the cost of drilling the well, b) regular maintenance and testing, and c) replacement parts and equipment.

The quality and quantity of water a well produces should always be on your mind. This is incredibly important in making sure everyone in the household can live a normal day-to-day life without issues. Remember to regularly flush the well and inspect the pump to keep it functioning properly.

The cost of these maintenance activities varies depending on the size of the well; you’ll find that the typical range is $100 to $200 per year from a reputable contractor.

Well Water vs City Water: Which Is Better for You?

When it comes to the purity of your water, well water is going to be the winner every time. Well water is not only coming from a pure, underground source but it is also filtered as it comes up. City or municipal water, on the other hand, often contains a variety of chemicals and contaminants which can certainly affect your health adversely.

Health concerns have been raised in recent years about the quality of city water. In particular, many cities have struggled with water contamination from lead pipes and other sources. While the health effects of lead exposure are well-documented, the presence of other contaminants in city water is also a huge cause for concern.

City water is often treated with chlorine to kill bacteria, but this can also lead to the formation of harmful byproducts such as trihalomethanes. In addition, city water may also contain traces of pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals, and other substances that can be harmful to human health.

As a result, it is important for cities to monitor their water quality carefully and take steps to ensure that residents have access to safe and clean drinking water. At the end of the day, you don’t have control over this, and this is the main reason many people opt for well water over city water.

Well Water vs City Water: Conclusion

So, why should you switch to well water if you can? First and foremost, it’s better for your health. The chlorine and other chemicals you’ll find in city water tests can cause all sorts of problems, from skin irritation to cancer. But that’s not all – well water is also more eco-friendly than tap water.

It doesn’t require the energy needed to pump and treat municipal water supplies, so you can feel good about doing your part to conserve resources.

Finally, well water is often cheaper than bottled or filtered water from the store. Here at Trufixxi, we want you and your family to live happy, long lives. If you’re ready to make the switch to well water, be sure to have your well water tested at least annually so that you can enjoy its many benefits – worry-free!


Featured Image Credit:

Maxime Bouffard

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