If you’re a homeowner who relies on a well for water, or are considering purchasing a lakefront property with a well, it’s important to understand how to perform well water management. Private wells are common in rural areas, including lake houses and cabins, providing homeowners with a reliable water source. Adirondack Premier Properties has sold and rented dozens of homes in recent years and wanted to share our experiences. This article will provide key facts about owning a lakefront home with a well and how to maintain it, especially for properties that are winterized each year.
Understanding the Basics of Well Water Systems
A private well uses an electric pump to draw water from the ground when a faucet is turned on in the house. This water comes from an aquifer—a natural underground reservoir—and is stored in a pressure tank until needed. Well water systems are usually accompanied by a water treatment system to ensure the water is safe and pleasant to use. Often, lakefront homes also have septic systems – read here for our guide on how to maintain them.
Key Considerations for Owning a Home with a Well
Regular Testing: It’s crucial to have your well water tested annually for contaminants like bacteria, nitrates, and other harmful substances, especially near a body of water. In certain Adirondack areas and depending on the type of property and pipes, you may also want to test for specific contaminants like radon or arsenic. Regular testing ensures the water is safe to drink and use.
Routine Inspection: A professional should inspect your well system every year to check for mechanical problems. This includes inspecting the well cover, checking the pump, and making sure all connections are secure.
Conservation: Unlike city water, the water supply from a well can vary, especially during periods of drought, even next to a lake! Practice water conservation by fixing leaks promptly and using water-efficient appliances and fixtures.
Preventive Maintenance: Keeping the area around your well clean and free of chemicals or waste will help prevent contamination. It is also crucial to maintain your septic system properly if you have one, as a failing septic system can contaminate a well. We have found that when selling properties in the area, those with properly maintained wells never fail inspections.
Special Considerations for Well Systems in Lake Houses and Cabins
If your property is only used seasonally, here are additional considerations for managing your well and water pump systems:
Winterization: If the property will be vacant during the winter months, it’s important to winterize the well system to prevent freezing and consequent damage. This may include insulating exposed pipes, draining the pressure tank, or using heat tape.
Start-up: When opening your property for the season, inspect the well system for any signs of damage, such as leaks or cracks. Run the water for a while to flush the system, and consider getting the water tested for any potential contaminants.
Seasonal Maintenance: Even if your property is only used part of the year, annual maintenance and testing are still important. Consider scheduling your annual inspection and water testing at the start of the season.
Owning a home with a well can be rewarding, providing you with a private water source that’s often free of the common chemicals found in municipal water, which is another great benefit to buying a home in the woods. However, it is crucial to maintain your well water system properly to keep it running smoothly and to ensure the water remains safe to use. Preventive maintenance is always easier and more cost-effective than dealing with emergencies.
Read here to learn 5 Considerations when Buying Lakefront Real Estate.