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What To Test A Well For

by April Carlson

Water wells should be checked periodically to ensure that the system is functioning properly, and the quality of the water is good. If you own a home that relies on well water, here are several different items to test the well system for.

Inspect the Mechanical Components

The mechanical components of a well system should be inspected regularly to ensure that they're in proper working order. Any issues that are noticed will be far easier to fix if you catch them before they become major problems, and minor issues can be fixed during normal business hours. If the problem gets too big, an emergency call to a plumber may be needed.

If you're mechanically inclined at all, you can inspect the mechanical components of your home's well system yourself. A few basic checks will help assess the condition of the system:

  • Turn on each faucet to ensure that there's adequate water pressure in each part of the home's plumbing system
  • Check the pressure valve on the water tank to ensure that the tank is holding adequate pressure where the water enters your home
  • Run a shower until the water pump turns on, and listen for the pump to shut off after you turn off the shower
  • Check the pump area for leaks or signs of water damage

You may not be able to identify exactly what's causing an issue with your well water system, but these simple checks will tell you when an issue is present. Should you notice something amiss, a well service provider can perform a more thorough inspection and fix whatever the issue is.

Test for Coliforms 

Your home's well system should be tested for coliforms every spring. While this test can be done at other times of the year, it's most useful in spring when snowmelt and rainwater are bringing a large amount of new water into the well. The number of coliforms present will indicate how healthy the water in your well likely is.

When testing for coliforms, the main test used usually checks the total coliform count in the well water. Most coliforms are harmless to the human body (and animals), but the overall coliform count is indicative of how likely other dangers are present in your water. If there are lots of coliforms, there are likely also large amounts of bacteria or pesticides.

Testing for total coliforms is easier than testing for every individual potentially harmful chemical and organism. Talk to a professional like Bruce MacKay Pump & Well Drilling Service Inc for water well testing.