Most people know what an well is and saw at least one in their entire life. But for those that don`t, the well is an excavation made to extract water from an aquifer. A traditional method to build a well is to dig a hole around 10′ to 30′ deep, but there are other methods for well digging too. Most people in the US prefer to have the well made through drilling. This will require a professional drill rig, which might end up costing a lot more than traditional digging. The advantage of a rig is that it is mounted on a truck and can dig a lot deeper than a human could. It can create holes 100′ to 400′ deep, or, depending on the ground, even more. But how much will it cost you to dig a well?
The three most common types of wells
The dug wells, the driven wells and the drilled wells are the three most common types of wells. And the main difference between them is the way in which they are created.
- Driven Wells: These are the least common out of the three and are created using a perforated pipe that is inserted deep into the ground. It’s more expensive but it`s a great choice for grounds with a shallow aquifer.
- Drilled wells: This is the most common type of well in today’s times, as it’s more professional than dug wells and less expensive than a driven well. They can also go very deep into the ground.
- Dug Wells: This is the oldest way of building a well, by digging the hole manually and then lining its interior with bricks or concrete to keep the water from infiltrating the well.
The costs to dig a well
The final cost of getting a well will depend on several factors, the most important being the method you use. Other very important factors that will eventually determine the price are the materials you use, the difficulty level, the type of ground, and how deep you build it. As an example, for drilling the hole, along with the installation of a well cap and a case, the water installation alone will cost around $15 to $40 for each ft. Wells that are around 100′ deep have costs that range from $1,250 to $3,500 or even more. In some rare instances, if the ground is hard to drill and the area is difficult to access, the price might even double.
When you figure out the costs of digging a well, don’t assume that you’ll only have to pay for the water installation and the drilling of the hole. You will also have to create a water system. Be prepared to spend around $1,500 to $7,500 on everything, including a control panel, electrical wiring, a pump and more. Private water delivery systems might set you back another $2,000 to $23,000 or more. For an even more professional water system you might even spend $15,000 to $50,000. This cost usually depends on several factors, like depth, yield and complexity of your well. A professional pumping system shouldn’t cost more than $9,000 at max.
How long will be to have the well ready?
It should take several days to get everything up and ready. If you choose to use the drilling method, the drill rig will be mounted on a truck and placed on the desired area. Depending on the state you live in, you might be required to get a permit and respect some regulations, so be sure to check this before you start working. The Water Systems Council can help you with all the information you need on permits and regulations for your home state.
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How to find a drilling contractor
If you go for the drilling method to make a well, then you have to find a drilling professional. Seeing that drilling the hope will be pretty expensive, you shouldn’t just go for the first contractor you find. Be sure you find a cheaper option while making sure he’ll be professional, certified, and dependable, so you don’t have to pay for this job twice. The National Ground Water Association should have a list of certified contractors that work within your state borders.
You should sign a contract with the drilling professional, to make sure they will take responsibility for anything that goes wrong. The contract should specify all the fees, to make sure you won’t be overcharged.
Finding a water well contractor
Gather all the information regarding possible contractors for the well and the costs that you should expect, along with materials that you’ll need and whether you have to buy them or the contractor provides them for you before starting the well project. A very interesting article with information on hiring a well contractor can be found on Michigan.gov, a government-owned website. The internet is a very good place to look for well contractors, but make sure the person you hire is licensed and check the license number of the contractor before hiring. Also check for reviews and feedback, online and, if possible, offline. Don’t be afraid to ask all the information the licenses and permits contractors have and operate under. One important certification is the one released by the National Ground Water Association.
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Cheaper isn’t necessarily better. Find the reasons behind a cheaper price tag. Ask contractors if they have all the necessary equipment, ask if they provide materials needed for the job and also if all licenses are up to date. Also ask about worker compensation insurance, because all these might drive the price up even after the initial price tag is smaller.
Detailing the costs you should expect
The costs within the contract you sign should be detailed and itemized, and if only one price is offered, the contract should stipulate that it is final and that there won’t be any fees added during work or after the well is finished. If the price is per foot, then make sure you are around when measurements are made. Make sure that any other tasks agreed upon can be found within the contract, like test pumping, grouting, or disinfection. If any costs aren’t included within the contract, they should be explained in detail.
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Should the average working Joe dig a well?
In rural areas, where water isn’t readily available, a well will be required, even if the costs seem pretty high. If you don’t have the funds for professional drilling, employ someone to dig a well manually, but don’t do this yourself if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience, because this is very dangerous for someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing. If you’re hiring a professional, don’t give them your full trust. Double-check everything as soon as the project is finished and, if possible, before paying for the job in full.