How a Well Water System Works [Explained with Diagram]

The orthodox well water system used a bucket to draw water. In modern times, the concept of well systems is based on the latest machinery, which gives ease of use, safe water, and reasonable water pressure. If you own a well system or you are planning to drill one in your property or planning to buy a house with a private well, you may be interested in knowing about the working of well.

In this article, we will explain how a well water system works and from where it draws water and how it supplies water to your home.

Let’s get to know your well water system in more detail!

From where a Well Draws Water

water well system components

Water is present underground in huge quantities; it exists underground in the form of aquifers. Aquifers are layers of soil and rock which contain water in between them. Water can move across the layers in aquifers and from one aquifer to another aquifer. When you are drilling for a well, the basic purpose is to reach the aquifer so the water inside it can be accessed.

Let’s look at the basic components of a well water system and how they work!

A standard well water system consists of the following components.

  • The Well Pump (water pump)
  • Well Casing
  • Control Box & Pressure Switch
  • Pressure Tank
  • Well Cap
  • Well Screen
How does a well screen work
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The Well Pump – It is also known as a water pump, and it is the most important component of a well system. It is responsible for pumping out water from the well. You can either use above ground or submersible water pumps for this purpose. The amount of water needed and the type of well determines which pump is best for you. Submersible pumps are placed deep inside the well, just under the water level.

Well Casing – Well casing is the cemented wall on the sides of the well. It is used to protect your water from getting contaminated from sides and stop soil seepage. There are different materials available in the market which can be used to make a well casing. You can choose from PVC, carbon steel, and stainless steel.  The choice of material depends upon the geologic formation. Usually, drilling companies are experts in this domain and will suggest the best material for well casing.

Pressure Switch and Control Box – Control box is the box that controls the settings on your well. A pressure switch is installed to regulate the drilling pressure and supply pressure. Both of them are critical components of any well system as they regulate the working of the well pump. Well pumps are not meant to work 24/7. They usually operate when the demand for water is high, and the water pressure is dropped below a certain level. Pressure switch ensures that the typical pressure of 40 PSI is maintained, and it controls the working of well pump to keep the water pressure at 40 PSI or the pre-determined settings.

Pressure Tank – Pressure tanks are used to store water and maintain pressure throughout the distribution system. Pressure tanks are available in different sizes and materials. You must select the size which meets your needs the best. An average American family uses 300 gallons of water per day. Also, see this tutorial to understand ideal water pressure from your well.

Well Cap – Well caps are important when it comes to keeping your well safe from debris, animal waste, insects, and small animals. Well caps come with ventilators to normalize the pressure difference inside and outside of the well.

Well Screen – Well screens are filtration media attached on the lower side of the well casing to keep out sand, gravel, dust, and other sediments away from water. If these substances are allowed to flow in the water, it can cause problems for the water pump. Use this method to clean your well screen quickly.


What to do if the underground water level decreases?

If the underground water level decreases in your well, you have two options. You can increase the depth of your well to tap more water underneath. The other option is to dig a new well. It is costly and must only be adopted when you don’t have any other solution. If you are going for a new well, make sure you seal the old one.

What to do if the water pressure decreases?

Well water pressure can decrease due to several reasons. It can happen due to a faulty water pump, clogged well screen, decreased water level, and sediment deposit in your plumbing system. To deal with the low water pressure problem, you need to identify the cause first. Once you have pinpointed the issue, relevant measures can be taken.

What to do if the well casing is damaged?

If your well’s casing is damaged, you must call your well contractor and have him look at it. It must be repaired ASAP to avoid bugs and contaminants entering your water.

What to do if the well screen is clogged?                    

Clogged well screening can be cleaned with the help of cleaning agents/granular acids. You can read more about it here.

Water runs out too often; what can I do to avoid it?

If you face dry taps with your well very often, you can deal with this problem by installing a larger water tank. You may also need to install a more powerful pump or install constant pressure switches.


Now that you know how each component of a well water system works, you would be able to deal with problems in a better way. You will be able to handle the maintenance teams in a better way during a negotiation.


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