Around 13 million US households use private wells to get water for daily use. Well water has a lot of advantages over city water. You get water rich with minerals without paying any monthly bill, no worries about infrastructural problems, and no decrease in pressure. However, well owners have to pay for drilling, well maintenance and ensure water quality.
If you are planning to drill a well at your property and wondering whether you can do it yourself, you are at the right place. In this article, we will discuss how you can drill your deepwater well.
How to Drill Your Own Deep Water Well
The easiest way to drill a well at your property is to hire the services of professionals. However, they will charge you a lot. You can save a handsome amount of money by drilling it yourself, but you need to have the right equipment and knowledge. We will explain the process and expertise you need to get going.
Cost Analysis – Drilling wells cost a lot initially. Either you outsource the work or do it yourself; you will be putting in a lot of investment and time. Compare this cost with monthly bills and how much time you are going to wait for getting a connection from the public water supply. It may take up to years to get water supply from city water. There is always a risk of not finding water underneath. You can avoid this risk by taking some precautions. We will discuss these with you. Once you find water underground, a well usually lasts for 15-20 years.
Ground Knowledge – You need to mitigate the chances of not finding the water. For this purpose, you must have the ground knowledge. You would need to access well records from the state’s geological survey or your state’s water office. These offices have the record of previous wells being drilled in the area, whether the drillers found water or not, and the depth at which they found water. You may need to visit the courthouse for this purpose. Research is very important while drilling a well. While gathering this knowledge, please tell the office representative that you will be drilling the well yourself. It will help them explain better and give you a better idea about the situation in your area.
You also need to gather knowledge about the type of soil in your area. It can be simple sand and clay soil or a mixture of sand, clay, rocks, and hard rocks. It is easy to drill a well in solid with sand or clay. Things become a lot difficult when you have rocks or hard rocks, and you would need heavy machinery.
You can also gather all this information from your neighbors. Sometimes records are not available in offices. Neighbors know about all things as they may have wells at their properties. They will also tell you about the volume of water in the wells. You can also consult professionals in this regard. The consultation fee is minimal as compared to digging charges.
Once everything is sorted, you will need a drilling permit at your residence. Municipal authorities usually give these permits.
Selecting the Drilling Place – You need to select a drilling place. It should be at least 50 feet away from the animal feedlot, trash cans, petrol storage, and dump yards. Make sure your well is located at least 10 feet away from buildings. The well must be away from a septic tank or barn runoff. You must also make sure that there are no underground pipes or lines in the drilling area. You can contact utility companies in the area for this information. Such information is also available on the original land plot or blueprints of your property.
Drilling the Well
Drilling a shallow well is not that difficult as compared to drilling a deep well. Shallow wells usually have a depth of 25-30 feet. You can drill shallow wells by hand using an extendable post-hole auger. You may buy the machinery if you can afford it and sell it later, otherwise rental services are also available.
Shallow wells, however, can’t meet the needs of a household for full-time use. They may work well for irrigating a small field or a weekend cabin. If you attach an electric pump with a shallow well setup, you may be able to get water for a small family, and it depends upon your water consumption and the volume of water available at a depth of 25-30 feet.
On the other hand, professional well diggers suggest that you go at least 150 feet deep. It taps a huge water potential. There is a catch in this; they are paid for every square foot they drill. Hence they try to go deeper than needed. If you have prior knowledge about the area, you can save yourself from being overcharged.
Experts suggest that a 100-feet depth is ideal for tapping a huge water reservoir, which will last for at least 10-20 years for an average family. If you plan to drill a deep well at your property and are ready to take the hassle, you will need the following tools.
Tools needed for digging a 100-feet deep well
- Pneumatic Drill – It is a large drill and looks like a massive eggbeater. It is a very powerful machine and digs wells up to 200 feet. The time needed will depend upon the composition of your soil. If the soil is composed of sand and clay, you can be done in days.
- Air Compressor – Air compressor is needed to run the drill set. You can choose between gas, electric, or diesel-powered air compressors. Each one has its pros and cons, but all three of them work alright. Air compressors are very costly, and you won’t need them after digging the well. The best way to save money on an air compressor and other heavy machinery is to buy used or sell them after your work is done.
- Automatic inline lubricator
- 1 quart of air tool oil
- 1-inc PVC pipe (160 feet, schedule 40)
- Rope (350 feet)
- 55-gallon open drum
- Duct tape (2 large rolls)
- Small pea gravel (700 pounds)
- Measuring tape
- Magic maker
- SDR 35 pipe (100 feet, 4-inch diameter and schedule 20)
- 8-inch PVC pipe (5 feet)
- 2-inch PVC Pipe (10 feet)
- Concrete mix (80 pounds)
We know the list looks overwhelming, but don’t worry. You will find every supply at a hardware store on online. You can also find a majority of things at home improvement stores. You may need to hustle a bit for the heavy machines listed above.
Let’s learn about the process.
Step 1: Once you have selected the drilling location according to the directions given above and purchased all the supplies, it is time to get down to business. You need to start digging the hole with an auger. You can also use a shovel for this purpose as you need to go 4-5 feet deep for now. Now you have to cut the 8-inch PVC pipe to fit the hole, leave 4-5 inches above the ground.
Step 2: Now, you need to drill a shallow settling pond 10-12 feet behind the well and no less than 4 feet across. Dig a shallow 8-inch ditch. It will connect the pond to the well hole. Connect the pond and ditch with a 2-inch PVC pipe and cover. The pipe will transfer clean water from the pond to the drill hole. Ensure you cover the pipe opening in the pond with a net so that dirt, mud, and debris won’t get into it.
Step 3: You need to place the 55-gallon drum at the corner of the pond, secure it with stakes, and make sure it’s open face is towards the well. The drum is used to catch water from the well and drains in the pond. Clean water will simultaneously flow from the pond to the well.
Step 4: Connect the 1-inch PVC pipe with the drill using the glue. Secure it with the help of duct tape to prevent any leakage. Once you start the drilling process, remember to use a marker after 5 or 10 feet to know how deep you are drilling. Place the other end of the PVC pipe in the drum. You need to set up the air compressor and connect it to the drill. You can use duct tape to secure the air hose with the PVC pipe and keep it away from drilling.
Some Important Things to Consider
The drilling process can take 2-14 days, depending upon the composition of your soil. You would need 2-3 people for this task as you have to take care of many things while drilling. You must make sure that the air supply is not turned off while the drill is running. It will make the motor dirty, and it may start to malfunction. Such carelessness can lead to unnecessary delays.
Make sure you turn the drill on before inserting it in the hole. The drilling process will slow down a bit when the drill hits rocks. You may notice it sound go a bit high as it will exert more power to cut through the rocks. Moving the drill up, down, sideways will help you increase the drilling speed. You should not put any force on the drill; the drill will automatically keep drilling.
After achieving the desired depth, you need to add the well casing. For this purpose, pea gravel and concrete will also be used. Drill a hole on both sides of the first piece of the pipe. Let the mixture dry for 15 minutes, and then add more. Pour pea gravel in the spaces between the dirt and the well casing. It prevents the well from becoming contaminated from the runoff.
Once all the process is complete, you will need to run the water for a couple of days to clear off all the sediment. Newly dug wells may give sediment for up to 30 days. You would have to wait for it to clear or install a sediment filter.
How do you know you hit the water?
One important aspect of drilling is how you can confirm that you have hit the water underneath the ground. Remember, our purpose is not to tap the water but reach the rocks that produce water. The air compressor blows the air down the drill stem. It has enough force to bring the cuttings, dirt, and mud up and down the hole. When the drill reaches the water, it will start bringing down water as well. You will feel small water droplets moving in the air. You must wait to reach an increase of water being thrown out. When you think you have reached the desired water level, turn off the injection pump, and check the flow of water with the air compressor alone.