Most people know what a well is and have seen 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 by drilling. This will require a professional drill rig, which might cost 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 does it cost to dig a well?
How Much Does it Cost 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.
For example, for drilling the hole, along with the installation of a well cap and a case, the drinking water installation alone will cost around $15 to $40 per ft. Wells that are around 100′ deep cost anywhere between $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 be even double this.
When you figure out the costs of digging a well, don’t assume that you’ll only have to pay for the water source 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 well 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 spend $15,000 to $50,000. This cost usually depends on several factors, like well depth, yield, and complexity of your well. A professional pumping system shouldn’t cost more than $9,000.
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. The main difference between them is how 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 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. It can also go very deep into the ground.
- Dug Wells: This is the oldest way of building a well. It is made by digging the hole manually and then lining its interior with bricks or concrete to keep the water from infiltrating the well.
How long does it take 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 in 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 contractor to drill a well
If you go for the drilling method to make a well, then you have to find a drilling professional. The drilling process of the hole will be pretty expensive, so you shouldn’t just go for the first contractor you find.
Look around for a cheaper option while still making sure they’ll be professional, certified, and dependable, so you don’t have to pay for this job twice. The National Ground Water Association has a list of certified contractors that work in your state.
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 about prospective contractors for the well and their average costs, 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, use offline sources as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for all the information about the licenses and permits contractors operate under. One important certification is the one provided 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 if the initial price tag is smaller.
Fully explained costs inside the contract
You should get detailed and itemized costs in the contract you sign. If only one price is offered, the contract should stipulate that it is final and that there won’t be any surprise fees added during the 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 added.
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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 to pay a professional to drill a well, employ someone to dig it manually, but don’t do this yourself if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and experience, because this is very dangerous for someone who 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.